New Rule Welcomes International Entrepreneurs
By: Texas Board Certified Immigration Attorney, Ruby L. Powers
January 20, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has enacted a provision that would make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to build start-ups in the United States. On January 17, 2017 DHS published the final rule titled, “International Entrepreneur Rule”. The rule will be effective on July 17, 2017. The purpose of this rule is to improve the ability of start-up founders to begin growing their companies within the United States and help improve the nation’s economy through increased capital spending, innovation and job creation.
The new rule allows the DHS to use its discretionary parole authority to allow foreign entrepreneurs who would demonstrate that their stay in the United States would spur a public benefit through the potential for rapid business growth, job creation, attracting investment and generating revenue.
The final rule may allow eligibility of up to three entrepreneurs for each start-up entity, which would include spouses and children. If an entrepreneur is granted stay, they will be eligible to work only for their start-up business. The spouses of the entrepreneurs may apply for work authorization in the United States, but their children will not be eligible for work authorization.
To be considered under the International Entrepreneur Rule, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
The applicant must possess a substantial ownership interest in a startup up within the past five years in the United States that has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
The applicant needs to have a central and active role in the start-up entity such that the applicant is well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business.
The applicant can prove that his or her stay will provide a significant public to the United States based on the applicant’s role as an entrepreneur of the start-up entity by:
A. Showing that the start-up entity has received a significant investment of capital from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments. The applicant would be able to meet the investment standard by demonstrating that the start-up entity has received investments of capital totaling $250,000;
B. Showing that the start-up entity has received significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation (or other types of grants or awards typically given to start-up entities) from federal, state or local government entities that regularly provide such awards or grants to start-up entities;
C. Or by showing that they partially meet either or both of the previous two requirements and providing additional reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
In addition, DHS is modifying this provision so that an entrepreneur may qualify for re-parole if the start-up entity created at least 5 qualified jobs with the start-up entity during the initial parole period.