Thought Leadership

New Visa Rule Proposed for International Entrepreneurs

August 29, 2016 Advisory

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security recently signed a proposed rule that would allow certain international entrepreneurs to temporarily enter the U.S. to start their businesses. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use its existing discretionary statutory authority to grant parole (temporary permission) to entrepreneurs of startup entities whose stay in the U.S. would provide a significant public benefit through substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation. Eligible entrepreneurs will be paroled for up to two years to oversee their startup entity. However, they must be able to demonstrate:

  • Significant ownership in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role in its operations;
  • The startup was formed in the U.S. within the past three years; and
  • The startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidence by:
    • Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from qualified U.S. investors;
    • Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain 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.

The startup must be a U.S. business entity, which includes any corporation, limited liability company, partnership or other entity that is organized under U.S. laws. The entity cannot be an investment vehicle primarily engaged in the offer, purchase, sale or trading in securities, futures contracts, derivatives or similar instruments. 

A qualifying investor is one who has a history of making similar or greater investments on a regular basis over the last five years and who can demonstrate that at least two of the entities receiving such investments have subsequently experienced significant growth in revenue or job creation. A qualified investor may be an individual U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or an organization organized under U.S. laws. If the investor is an organization, then the organization must be owned and controlled by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. 

If the entrepreneur relies on government funding, then the entrepreneur must demonstrate that the government entity regularly provides such funding to U.S. businesses for economic development, innovation, research and development or job creation reasons. The USCIS will also consider grants and awards from local economic development corporations. 

The USCIS will consider a subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) if the startup continues to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in investment, revenue, or job creation. An investment is substantial if during the initial parole period the startup entity receives an additional $500,000 from a qualified investor. A startup will have substantial revenue generation, if it reaches at least $500,000 in annual revenue, with at least 20 percent average annual revenue growth during the initial parole period. The startup will demonstrate job creation if it establishes at least 10 full-time, qualified jobs for U.S. workers. 

The proposed rule will take effect on the date indicated in the final rule when it is published in the Federal Register.

Contact Us
  • Worldwide
  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO
  • Edwardsville, IL
  • Jefferson City, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • London, England
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Princeton, NJ
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Wilmington, DE
abstract image of world map
Boston, MA
800 Boylston St.
16th Floor
Boston, MA 02199
Google Maps
Boston, Massachusetts
Denver, CO
4643 S. Ulster St.
Suite 800
Denver, CO 80237
Google Maps
Denver, Colorado
Edwardsville, IL
115 N. Second St.
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Google Maps
Edwardsville, Illinois
Jefferson City, MO
3405 W. Truman Boulevard
Suite 210
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Google Maps
Jefferson City, Missouri
Kansas City, MO
2345 Grand Blvd.
Suite 1500
Kansas City, MO 64108
Google Maps
Kansas City, Missouri
Las Vegas, NV
3770 Howard Hughes Parkway
Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Google Maps
Las Vegas, Nevada
London, England
200 Strand
London, WC2R 1DJ
Google Maps
New York, NY
919 Third Ave., 37th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Google Maps
New York City
Philadelphia, PA
2005 Market Street
29th Floor, One Commerce Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Google Maps
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Princeton, NJ
100 Overlook Center
Second Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540
Google Maps
Princeton, New Jersey
Salt Lake City, UT
201 South Main Street
Suite 2400
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Google Maps
Salt Lake City, Utah
St. Louis, MO
7700 Forsyth Blvd.
Suite 1800
St. Louis, MO 63105
Google Maps
St. Louis, Missouri
Wilmington, DE
300 Delaware Avenue
Suite 210
Wilmington, DE 19801
Google Maps
Wilmington, Delaware