Final International Entrepreneur Rule is Announced by USCIS


The International Entrepreneur Rule is expected to help almost 3,000 foreign investors a year to set up businesses in the United States. It has now been finalized and published in the federal register.

Under this final rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can use its “parole” authority to allow a period of authorized stay to foreign entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their time in the United States would provide a significant benefit to the public. The evaluations will make made on a case-by-case basis.

Investors must demonstrate the potential for rapid business growth and job creation of their business. The new rule becomes effective on July 17, 2017, a period 180 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

DHS estimates that about 2,940 entrepreneurs from abroad will be eligible under the International Entrepreneur Rule every year, states U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Eligible entrepreneurs may be granted a stay of up to 30 months, with the possibility to extend the period by up to 30 additional months if they meet certain criteria, in the discretion of DHS.

Man looking dramatically into a window

Foreign investors can benefit from the International Entrepreneur Rule

The Purpose of the International Entrepreneur Rule

The new rule makes it easier for start-up entrepreneurs to obtain temporary permission to enter the country for 30 months or 2.5 years under a process called “parole.”

They must be in the United States to start up a business enterprise. The entrepreneur may be granted an additional 30 months in the country to oversee the expansion of the business.

The new rule is intended to encourage investors and entrepreneurs from overseas to set up successful start-ups in the United States via increased capital spending and the creation of jobs.

Eligible entrepreneurs should demonstrate a significant public benefit in their enterprise. Factors that can qualify an investor for “parole” include:

1 Significant capital investment

2 An established record of capital investment;

3 Attainment of grants from certain state, federal or local agencies.

Family Members Can Benefit from the International Entrepreneur Rule

The finalized rule allows up to three entrepreneurs to seek “parole” per-start up entity. Their spouses and children also qualify. However, entrepreneurs who qualify for “parole” are only eligible to work for their start-up business entity in the United States and cannot seek another job in the country. Their spouses will only be eligible to apply for employment authorization once they are in the United States.

Unlike the EB-5 investor program, the entrepreneur rule does not allow investors to become permanent residents.

Significant Capital Investment Under the Entrepreneur Rule

There are a number of ways entrepreneurs can meet the capital investment requirement.

  1. Investments from established U.S. investors: The applicant can show his or her business entity received significant investment of capital from qualified investors in the United States. They must have well-established records of successful investments. An applicant will usually be able to meet this criteria by demonstrating the new business received capital investments of $250,000 or more from established investors in the United States. These entities should have a track record in investing in successful start-up ventures.
  1. Government grants: The receipt of significant grants or awards from government entities with expertise in research, economic development, or job creation can satisfy the criteria. An applicant should demonstrate grants or awards of at least $100,000 from these sources.
  1. Alternative criteria: The final rule also has alternative criteria. An applicant who partially meets the first two criteria may be considered for parole. The entrepreneur must show the start-up would provide a significant public benefit to the United States of America. It’s a wider criteria but job creation or rapid growth is key.

The final rule relaxes some of the requirement of the original one published last year. A foreign entrepreneur must have an ownership interest of at least 10 percent for initial parole, and at least 5 percent to be eligible for a second period of re-parole. The initial requirement was 15 percent.

The investment threshold of $250,000 is a reduction on the original proposal of $345,000.

There are many complexities to the new entrepreneur rule.

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