Department of Homeland Security Releases Proposed Rules for International Entrepreneurs

By Beau Russell, Attorney at Law

On August 24, 2016 the Department of Homeland Security released new proposed rules for foreign entrepreneurs. Immigration advocates, business leaders and foreigners seeking investment opportunities in the U.S. market see this program as a step in the right direction for the attraction and retention of extremely qualified individuals. This program seeks to help foreign individuals who partially own and lead startups which have received significant investment from U.S. investors. This exciting development could lead to the admission and/or retention of countless qualified startup leaders and entrepreneurs who would otherwise be forced to leave the United States. Under the proposed rule, DHS may parole individual entrepreneurs:

  • Who have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations;
  • Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
  • Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
    • Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
    • Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
    • Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

This grant of immigration permission would not technically constitute a visa, but rather would be considered a discretionary grant of entry into the United States for a temporary period to oversee the qualified business enterprise. Under the rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow the entity in the United States. The rule also allows for a three-year renewal if the company continues to provide a significant public benefit to the United States. This grant of entry will include work authorization for both the entrepreneur and his or her spouse. The final rules and implementation of this program is expected to be completed before President Obama leaves office in January.

If you believe you may qualify under this program or have any questions about investor visas or other types of visas to the U.S. please feel free to contact our office.

Beau Russell is a U.S. Immigration attorney located in the Copenhagen Area. For the past several years in California, he has helped hundreds of individuals solve their U.S. Immigration issues. He is now working with Thomas Martin Law. His specialty is assisting business and families obtain their immigration visas to the U.S.    

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