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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is proposing a new rule, which would allow certain international entrepreneurs temporary stay in the U.S. so that they may start or scale their businesses here.

Under this proposed rule, DHS may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs of startup enterprises if s/he meets the following requirements:

1) The applicant must have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations;
2) The applicant must have formed the startup in the United States within the past three years; and
3) The startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
a) Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
b) Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
c) 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.

Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup entity in the United States.  An extension for up to three additional years may be granted if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.

This program does not grant an immigration status to the approved international entrepreneurs (such as an O-1 or H-1B visa) and is not a path to permanent residence. It simply offers discretionary permission to remain in the U.S.

Once the notice of proposed rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, which is expected to be on August 31, 2016, the public will have 45 days from the date of publication to comment. After the public comment period ends, DHS will prepare a final version of the regulation based on the comments it receives. The final version could differ from the proposed rule. Please note that the entrepreneur parole program will not be implemented until the final regulation is approved, a process that could take several months.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they occur. If you would like to discuss this option further, please do not hesitate to contact us.