Overview of International Entrepreneur Rule (“Entrepreneur Parole”)

Practice Areas

By: Sismi Menachery

On January 17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final “International Entrepreneur Rule” to “implement the Secretary of Homeland Security’s discretionary parole authority to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the U.S.” The rule which was to go into effect on July 17, 2017 and allow DHS to temporarily “parole certain entrepreneurs has now been delayed to a future date of March 14, 2018.

When the rule becomes effective, qualified entrepreneurs of certain start-up entities in U.S. may conduct research and development and expand their entities’ operation in U.S. To qualify, the applicant must have formed a new entity in the U.S. within the five years immediately preceding the date of the filing of the initial parole application in the U.S. It must have lawfully done business since its creation and have substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation. Further, the applicant must be an entrepreneur who is well-positioned to advance the entity’s business i.e. possess at least a 10 percent ownership interest and have an active role in the operation and future growth of the entity. A mere investor is not eligible. 8 CFR 212.19 (a)(1). Lastly, the applicant must show, through reliable supporting evidence, the entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth, which may be demonstrated through investment of at least USD 250,000 from established U.S. investor, or government grants totaling at least $100,000; or partially satisfying either investment criteria.

There are further restriction and limitation to this rule. Only 3 entrepreneurs per entity can take advantage of this rule. Applicants are also required to maintain a household income of at least 400 percent of the federal poverty line.

Upon receipt of application under the proposed rule, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has discretionary authority in adjudicating the application. USCIS will adjudicated each application on the totality of the circumstances to determine that both “the applicant’s parole would provide a significant public benefit, and the applicant merits a grant of parole as a matter of discretion.”  Once satisfied with all the documentation provided, USCIS may approve the initial parole for a duration of 2.5 years or 30 months. After the initial period, the parole may be granted for a further period of 5 years if the parolee meets certain conditions.

Since, this rule basically grants a parole, the parolee can apply for other non-immigrant or immigrant visa while in the U.S. If such visa is approved, the parolee must depart the U.S. and apply for visa at appropriate consulate and re-enter the U.S. upon grant of such visa, since parole is not considered an admission to the U.S. Lastly, dependent spouse and children are not allowed to work upon entry, although, they will be permitted to apply for employment authorization upon entry to the U.S.

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