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DHS Publishes Final Entrepreneur Parole Rule

On January 17, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security published a 211-page final rule to improve the ability of certain promising start-up founders to begin growing their companies within the United States and to help improve our nation’s economy through increased capital spending, innovation and job creation. The rule will go into effect on July 17, 2017.

The new rule will allow entrepreneurs to obtain parole status for 30 months plus a possible 30-month extension in order to oversee and grow their start-ups in the United States. Parole status will be available to persons whose start-up companies were formed during the past five years as long as the investor plays a central and active role in the company. There is a limit of three entrepreneurs who can qualify for parole for each start-up company.

Spouses and children of each entrepreneur will also be eligible for a 30-month parole. Spouses may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents.

USCIS is currently in the process of developing an I-941 application form. The government filing fee will be $1,200.

How much money must be invested?

The entrepreneur must own at least 10 percent of the start-up. He or she must show that the start-up has a potential for rapid growth and job creation by having a qualified U.S. investor who has:

  1. Invested at least $250,000 in the start-up; or
  2. Received government awards or grants of at least $100,000; or
  3. Partial compliance with #1 or #2 above and presentation of “compelling evidence” to show that the start-up would provide a “significant public benefit” to the United States. The entity must show “substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”

The qualified investor must have invested $600,000 in start-ups in the past five years. At least two of these start-ups must have:

  1. Created at least five qualified jobs; or
  2. Generated $500,000+ in revenue with an average growth rate of 20 percent or more annually.

What is required for a 30-month extension?

  1. The start-up must have received at least $500,000 in qualifying investments from established U.S. investors, government grants or awards since the entrepreneur was paroled; or
  2. At least five jobs were created by the start-up during the same time period; or
  3. The start-up’s annual revenue must be $500,000 or more and its annual growth at least 20 percent; and
  4. The entrepreneur’s ownership in the start-up must be at least 5 percent.
  5. In addition, the entrepreneur must demonstrate that his income is at least 400 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
  6. A parole only partially meeting the above requirements may receive an extension by submitting additional reliable and compelling evidence.

Material changes to the company must be reported to the Department of Homeland Security and a new I-941 application must be submitted. If the applicant is still residing in the United States, form I-131 must be accompanying the I-941. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 2,940 entrepreneurs will be eligible under this rule annually.

If you are interested in immigrating to the United States, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to explore your options today!