The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has begun to review a final regulation that, as originally proposed, would allow up to five years of temporary stay, on a case-by-case basis, for qualifying foreign entrepreneurs who establish a U.S. start-up entity that has substantial U.S. investment and the potential for rapid growth and job creation.
The long-awaited international entrepreneur regulation was first announced in November 2014 as part of President Obama's planned executive actions to encourage innovation and support U.S. high-skill businesses and workers and was published in proposal form in August 2016. The purpose of the program is to fill a gap in the U.S. immigration system and allow promising foreign entrepreneurs who might not meet the eligibility criteria of existing visa programs to remain in the United States to grow their businesses and make contributions to the U.S. economy.
Under the proposed regulation, foreign entrepreneurs would be eligible to apply if:
They have established a U.S. start-up business within three years before the application;
They hold an ownership interest in the startup of at least 15 percent;
They play an active and central role in the operations of the business; and
The start-up has received a capital investment of at least $345,000 from qualified U.S. investors or at least $100,000 in grants or awards from qualifying U.S. federal, state or local government entities. Foreign nationals who only partially satisfy the funding criteria would need to provide additional compelling evidence of the start-up's substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
However, as proposed, the program would not provide an immigration status to approved applicants. Rather, qualifying entrepreneurs would receive parole - a discretionary permission to remain in the United States - but would not be eligible for permanent residence unless they qualified under another U.S. immigration program.
What's Next for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program
The international entrepreneur rule is expected to be published in the coming days. However, it is not yet clear how the regulation will be treated in the incoming Trump Administration.