In early July of 2017, the Trump administration delayed the commencement of the International Entrepreneur Rule, which would have allowed certain start-up founders to stay in the United States for 30 months (with possible extensions), so they could build and grow their businesses in the U.S.
A lawsuit was filed in federal court to stop the delay of the implementation of the rule and on December 1, 2017, the federal court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) had violated the law by not allowing for a public comment period before indicating its desire to rescind the program.
As a result of the court ruling, the DHS has now begun accepting application under the International Entrepreneur Rule (“IER”); however, the DHS has also publicly stated that they are in the final stages of “publishing a notice of proposed rule-making seeking to remove the International Entrepreneur Rule” thus bring into question the ultimate fate of the program.
Our office has received many inquiries regarding the best way to proceed with the uncertainty regarding this rule. We are advising eligible candidates to apply to apply under the IER despite the uncertainty as to its ultimate fate. While it seems likely that the rule will be rescinded later this year, eligible candidates should apply now while the rule is in place to take advantage of its benefits while it is still available.
Approved applicants under the IER may initially stay for 30 months to work for the start-up entity, with the possibility of a 30-month extension.
Entrepreneurs applying for parole under this rule must demonstrate that:
- The applicant must have established a U.S. start-up business within five years before the application for parole;
- The applicant must hold an ownership interest in the startup of at least 10 percent;
- The applicant must play an active and central role in the operations of the business, and not merely be an investor; and
- The start-up must have received a capital investment of at least $250,000 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.
No more than three entrepreneurs may be granted parole per start-up entity.
Spouses of applicants can also stay in the United States as dependents of the main applicant. Spouses can also receive approval for their own independent Employment Authorization Document to allow them to work in the United States.