U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it will soon be implementing the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), a program allowing foreign entrepreneurs to apply to stay in the United States in line with a District Court ruling.
The IER gives foreign entrepreneurs the opportunity to stay in the country provided they meet the qualifying criteria. It was expected to take effect on July 17, 2017, but was unable to because of a final rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security intended to delay its effective date to March 14, 2018. USCIS needed more time to review the IER, delaying its implementation as a result.
The delay was challenged by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the case of National Venture Capital Association v. Duke, resulting in a ruling that would vacate the USCIS’s final rule to delay the effective date.
Foreign entrepreneurs are granted various privileges through the program including the ability to apply for parole, entry into the country, and use of U.S. investments to develop businesses of their own. Parole, according to USCIS, is a “discretionary grant made by the Secretary of Homeland Security … granted only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”
This definition was coined by President Trump in Executive Order 13767. The IER does not, however, provide a path to citizenship, unlike other proposed immigration programs.
International entrepreneurs applying for the program must, however, meet certain criteria to qualify.
- An applicant must have at least a 15% share in a start-up entity within the United States that has operated legally since its creation.
- The applicant must have a central role in the management and ownership of said business and has made a significant contribution to the business’s growth either through their knowledge, skills, or experience.
- The applicant, therefore, has to have an actual entrepreneurial role in the business and cannot merely be an investor.
- The applicant must also be able to prove that the business they claim to be involved in has the potential to make a substantial contribution to the U.S. economy through growth and job creation. This requirement can be met through either acquiring investments from qualified U.S. investors with “established records of successful investments” or government grants.
An international entrepreneur that meets these criteria would then be allowed to stay in the country for two years to run their businesses after going through the necessary processes with the DHS.
For more immigration news and updates on the travel ban, be sure to follow this blog. If you would like to learn more about the IER and how to qualify for the program, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to learn more about how Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle can help you.