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Aug 31, 2016

GAMECHANGER: USCIS Publishes Advance Version of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for International Entrepreneurs

Matthew Galati

Today U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an advance copy of their proposed new regulatory rule that would allow certain international entrepreneurs consideration for parole (temporary permission to be in the United States). Aimed at startups, the rule is intended to facilitate entrepreneurs ‘ abilities to legally start or scale a businesses here in the United States.

The proposed parole, to be awarded on a case-by-case basis, puts forth the following criteria:

  • Formation of a new, US-based start-up entity – the relevant entity needs to have been formed within the past three years;
  • Entrepreneurial Applicant – the applicant must show that he or she has a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and has an active and central role to its operations. The applicant cannot be a mere investor.;
  • Demonstration of potential for rapid business growth and job creation, evidenced by
  • Receipt of at least $345,000 in capital from qualified US investors;
  • Receipt of at least $100,000 government awards or grants; or
  • Partial satisfaction of one of the above, combined with “reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”

Parole would be awarded for up to two years for such entrepreneurs and their dependents. Spouses would be permitted to apply for employment authorization. No more than 3 entrepreneurs could receive parole with respect to any one qualifying entity. Re-parole “extensions” would also be available for a period of up to three years, with separate qualifying criteria showing signs of significant growth since the initial grant of parole. The maximum period of parole would be five years.

This announcement is a welcome development following the Obama Administration’s executive actions announced in 2014. Proposals for codified start-up visas have languished in Congress. Once published, interested persons may issue comment on the rule for 45 days for USCIS’ further consideration.

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