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Proposed Rule to Benefit Certain Immigrant Startup Entrepreneurs

Qualified applicants would be granted parole in United States for up to five years.

On August 26, 2016, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an advance copy of a proposed rule that would extend discretionary parole (temporary permission to be in the United States) to certain international entrepreneurs to allow them to establish new businesses in the United States.

“America’s economy has long benefitted from the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs, from Main Street to Silicon Valley,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “This proposed rule, when finalized, will help our economy grow by expanding immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the US.”

The rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on August 31, 2016, after which the public will be invited to comment.

Under the proposed rule, qualified applicants would be granted parole in the United States on a discretionary basis if they can demonstrate that

  • the startup entity was recently formed (within the three years preceding the date of the filing of the initial parole application;

  • the entrepreneur applicant is “well-positioned to advance the entity’s business” (as demonstrated by at least 15% ownership and an active and central role in the operations and future growth of the entity); and

  • the entrepreneur applicant can further validate the entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation through investments by established US investors such as venture capital firms, angel investors or startup accelerators, government grants, or certain alternative criteria.

Much like the E-1 and E-2 visa classification, passive investors will not qualify under the proposed rule.

No more than three entrepreneurs may receive parole with respect to any one qualifying entity. Qualified applicants, their spouses, and minor unmarried children can be given a discretionary grant of parole initially lasting up to two years. The spouse would also be eligible for employment authorization. Finally, eligible entrepreneurs (and family members) may be considered for “re-parole” for an additional period of up to three years if they can demonstrate that their entities have shown potential for rapid grown and job creation through additional investment, revenue generation, and creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers.

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About this Author

Eleanor Pelta, Morgan Lewis, Immigration Lawyer
Partner

A recognized leader in immigration and nationality law, Eleanor Pelta counsels clients on legal and strategic issues arising from the international movement of key personnel, from the individual transfer of high-ranking executives to high-volume transfers of expert staff. Her experience includes the use of blanket visa programs and the qualification of companies as “treaty investor” or “treaty trader” entities. Additionally, Eleanor counsels businesses on the immigration implications of corporate changes, such as mergers, acquisitions, downsizings, reductions in force,...

202-739-5050
Eric Bord, Immigration Attorney, Morgan Lewis
Partner

Eric S. Bord counsels clients on corporate immigration issues involving the recruitment, hiring, transfer, and retention of personnel worldwide. He also advises businesses on compliance and risk management in connection with their global immigration programs. This includes counseling on compliance with I-9 and E-Verify rules, advising clients during immigration investigations, and conducting immigration due diligence for corporate transactions. Eric heads Morgan Lewis’s immigration compliance and risk management practice.

202-739-6040