USCIS has published the final rule establishing new program for international entrepreneurs. The draft rule was discussed in an earlier blog posting here. The final rule should take effect on July 17, 2017.
The final rule grants parole status to an entrepreneur of a start-up who has an active role in the business. Successful applicants would not have a fixed visa status such as H-1B or E-2. Instead, they would be paroled into the US for up to 30 months initially, to work for the start-up.
1. The entrepreneur must have established a U.S. start-up business within five years before applying for
2. The business must have done some business, and have "substantial potential for rapid growth and
3. The entrepreneur must own at least 10% of the start-up.
4. The entrepreneur be actively involved in managing the business, not be a passive investor.
5. The start-up must have received either
(a) investments of at least $250,000 from established U.S. investors (such as venture capital firms, angel investors, or start-up accelerators) with a history of substantial investment in successful start-up entities; or (b) at least $100,000 in grants or awards from Federal, State or local government entities with expertise in economic development, research and development, or job creation.
Entrepreneurs who are unable to satisfy the funding criteria may qualify if they provide other compelling evidence of the start-up’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
The private and government funding must meet strict criteria laid out in the regulations, designed to "...mitigate potential misuse of the parole process, including by individuals or entities that may claim to be bona fide investors to conceal fraud or other illicit activity."
The investment and revenue amounts will be adjusted every 3 years.
FORMS AND FEES
The parole application will be made on a new Form I-941 (Application for Entrepreneur Parole) with a filing fee of $1200 + $85 biometrics fee. Dependent filing fees are $575 + biometric fee per person. The form has not yet been published.
The parole could be renewed for another 30 months if the applicant meets all of the following criteria:
There is no required wage obligation for the parole beneficiary, but to maintain parolee status the parole beneficiary must maintain a household income that is greater than 400% of the Federal poverty guideline for his or her household size as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The spouse and minor (under 21) children of an entrepreneur would be granted parole for the same period as the primary applicant. Spouses would be eligible for work authorization.
The category differs from investor visas such as E-2 or EB-5, in that the new parole status does not require that the applicant have invested her own money in the business. The category also does not lead to permanent residence. The entrepreneur will need to qualify in some existing category.
The entire rule is available here.
For more information, contact Elaine Martin, Dallas Immigration Lawyer.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.