On December 1, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) begin implementation of the Obama-era “International Entrepreneur Rule,” which created an option for certain foreign entrepreneurs to enter the United States. DHS had previously delayed the implementation of this rule by issuing a “Delay Rule” without the public notice and comment period generally required under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). This delay was discussed in greater detail in our firm’s July 12, 2017, Immigration Update© entitled “Entrepreneur Parole” Delayed – Rule Likely To Be Rescinded. The Court ordered DHS to begin implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule, but DHS may appeal this decision or begin the process to rescind the rule by following the APA.
If implemented, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) would begin accepting applications for parole for foreign entrepreneurs who demonstrate that they will provide a significant public benefit to the United States as a result of economic growth or job creation resulting from their entrepreneurial activities. “Parole” is a concept under the Immigration and Nationality Act permitting a foreign national to be physically granted entry to the United States for urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons for a period of time. Parole does not grant the recipient any formal immigration status.
To qualify for parole as an entrepreneur under this rule:
- The foreign national would be required to own at least 10% and play an active and central role in the operations and future growth of a startup entity, well-positioned to advance the entity’s business.
- The startup must have been formed within the five (5) years prior to the date of application.
- The foreign national must show investments from established U.S. investors, government grants, or sufficient alternative reliable and compelling evidence to establish that the applicant would provide a significant public benefit to the United States.
- The individual or organization making the investment in the entrepreneur’s business must have made investments in startups of at least $600,000 over the last five years and show that those investments created at least 5 full-time U.S. jobs between two startups or grossed at least $500,000 with revenue growth of 20% per year.
Successful applicants would be approved for an initial period of 30 months and may bring with them their spouse and minor children. Extensions may be granted if the startup has shown signs of significant growth since the grant of parole.