Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP

USCIS Issues Final Rule on International Entrepreneurs


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule on January 17, 2017, implementing the Secretary of Homeland Security’s discretionary parole authority “to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States.” The rule adds new regulatory provisions guiding the use of parole on a case-by-case basis with respect to entrepreneurs of start-up entities who can demonstrate through evidence of substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation that they would provide a significant public benefit to the United States. The rule states that such potential would be indicated by, among other things, the receipt of significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or obtaining significant awards or grants from certain federal, state or local government entities. If granted, parole would provide a temporary initial stay of up to 30 months to facilitate the applicant’s ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up entity in the United States. Extensions are possible for an additional 30 months.

An individual seeking to operate and grow a start-up entity in the United States generally would need to demonstrate the following to be considered for a discretionary grant of parole under the final rule: (1) the applicant has formed a new start-up entity; (2) the applicant is an entrepreneur; and (3) the applicant has received significant U.S. capital investment or government funding, which may include investments from established U.S. investors, government grants, or meeting alternative criteria. Under the alternative criteria requirement, an applicant who partially meets the above criteria related to capital investment or government funding may be considered for parole if he or she provides additional “reliable and compelling evidence” that he or she would “provide a significant public benefit” to the United States. “Such evidence must serve as a compelling validation of the entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation,” the final rule states, noting that USCIS adjudicators will consider the totality of the evidence.

The final rule, which takes effect July 17, 2017.

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