USCIS Issues Proposed Rule for Certain Immigrant Entrepreneurs

In a welcomed move, USCIS has published a proposed rule that would grant parole for certain start-up entrepreneurs. We have reviewed the proposed rule, and here are some FAQs that provide information about the proposed rule, and what it could mean for certain foreign-born entrepreneurs.

What is Parole?

Traditionally, “parole” in immigration law has had different meanings. Parole is typically used to define a situation where an individual may not meet the technical requirements for issuance of a visa, or may otherwise be inadmissible to the United States, but is permitted to stay temporarily in the U.S. (usually due to humanitarian reasons) after a review of the facts related to their case. The decision to grant parole is made by USCIS on a case-by-case basis. In the context of this proposed entrepreneur rule, parole will equate to a temporary permission to remain in the United States, if certain criteria are met.

How will the proposed Entrepreneur Rule work?

In its current form, the proposed rule aims to authorize parole for entrepreneurs of start-up enterprises that would provide a significant public benefit to the United States by way of job creation and rapid business growth. Under the proposed rule, an entrepreneur of a start-up enterprise could be given a temporary stay (parole) of up to 2 years, which could be extended for an additional 3 year period.

What criteria will be used to determine whether an entrepreneur qualifies for parole?

To be considered for parole under the proposed rule, immigrant foreign national would have to demonstrate that he or she is the entrepreneur of a start-up entity that would provide a significant public benefit based on the potential for rapid business growth and job creation. To demonstrate such potential, factors such as receipt of significant capital financing (e.g. venture capital, angel investors, and business accelerators) of at least $345,000 from U.S. investors, and/or significant awards or grants (of at least $100,000) from federal, state or local government entities. To qualify for parole under the proposed rule, the applicant would need to demonstrate at least a 15% ownership interest in a start-up enterprise, and that he or she will play a significant role in the enterprise. Different standards and investment thresholds would apply to the initial 2 year grant of parole under the proposed rule, and the additional 3 year re-parole period.

Why is this proposed Entrepreneur Rule important?

This proposed rule is widely viewed as a positive move for U.S. competitiveness in the 21st century. In the absence of a comprehensive overhaul of business immigration regulations, the proposed rule would provide a path for foreign-born entrepreneurs that have the potential to fuel economic growth and job creation to stay temporarily in the United States. In a climate where foreign-born entrepreneurs currently face limited visas options, quotas, and otherwise elusive standards, the proposed rule has great potential to stimulate our economy and create increased opportunities.

The text of the proposed rule, which must go through a review and comment period, can be found by clicking here: