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New Immigration Option for Entrepreneurs

Finding a U.S. immigration status that is appropriate for entrepreneurs can be difficult. Increasingly, colleges and universities, as well as state and local governments, have sought to address this issue. Over the past several years, institutions of higher education have used the higher education exemption from the H-1B cap to obtain H-1B status for “Entrepreneurs in Residence” (EINs). Several such programs exist, including a recently formed EIN program in Chicago comprised of Columbia College, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University and Northwestern University.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)Entrepreneurs Visa Guide” outlines other U.S. immigration options available to entrepreneurs. In addition to the options detailed in this guide, a new approach to obtain employment authorization for entrepreneurs becomes effective on July 17, 2017. The new Entrepreneurial Parole Program is meant to provide U.S. employment authorization to individuals with at least a 10% ownership stake in an entity established within the past five years. Employment authorization under this program may be valid for up to five years.

To obtain employment authorization under the Entrepreneurial Parole Program, an applicant must show:

  1. An investment from qualified U.S. investors of at least $250,000; or

  2. Grants totaling at least $100,000 within 18 months immediately preceding the filing from governmental entities that provide financial assistance to start-up businesses for economic development, research and development, or job creation; or

  3. Partial completion of criteria 1 or 2 and compelling evidence that the entity has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

Spouses and children may accompany Entrepreneurial Parolees to the U.S. under this program. Spouses will also be eligible to apply for employment authorization in the United States.

USCIS predicts that close to 3,000 individuals may take advantage of the new Entrepreneurial Parole Program. The impact of the Program is yet to be seen, but it does provide another option for entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. and build their businesses.

© MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP

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About this Author

Kelly M. Fortier, Michael Best Law Firm, Business immigration, Attorney
Partner

Kelly helps employers of all sizes meet their staffing needs by handling the immigration issues they face in hiring foreign nationals and moving employees around the globe.

A partner in the firm’s Labor and Employment Relations practice group and Co-chair of the Immigration and International Migration team, she handles compliance issues for corporations that transfer dozens of employees into and out of the United States each year as well as small companies seeking to bring in a few key hires from abroad.

Kelly is highly...

414-277-3460
Jose Olivieri, Michael Best Law Firm, Higher Education, Labor and Immigration Attorney
Partner, Industry Group Chair

José is the founder and co-chair of Michael Best’s immigration law practice. Clients depend on his deep knowledge of and experience with U.S. immigration law and employment-based immigration matters, including:

  • Immigration status

  • Permanent labor certification

  • National interest waiver

  • Adjustment of status

  • Consular processing

  • Citizenship and naturalization

  • I-9 compliance

José leads the firm’s Higher Education Industry Group and counsels colleges and universities on issues including governance, Title IX, student discipline, and labor contract administration.

414-225-4967
Kelly Rourke, Michael Best Law Firm, Immigration and Employment Attorney
Associate

Kelly assists employers with administrative law matters, focusing her practice primarily on employment-based immigration.

She regularly helps clients meet critical staffing needs by obtaining nonimmigrant status for foreign workers and securing and maintaining legal permanent residence for foreign nationals. To this end, she handles an array of nonimmigrant petitions, applications for labor certification, adjustment of status and naturalization filings, consular processing matters, motions to reopen, and motions to reconsider. She also...

414-347-4741