Monday, January 23, 2017

Entrepreneurs - Update on USCIS Rule

By Angela Lopez

On January 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released the final rule implementing the parole for entrepreneurs program.  This final rule and the accompanying regulatory provisions give USCIS the discretionary authority to grant “parole” to entrepreneurs of start-up entities.  USCIS will determine if the evidence is sufficient to show the potential of business growth and development, job creation, and public benefit to the United States.

We first gave you a glimpse of the proposed rule back in September (click here to see article), but now that it has been finalized, the following are the TOP 10 things you need to know:

  1. The definition of “start up entity” for purposes of this rule is an entity that was formed within the five (5) years immediately preceding the date of filing of the initial request.
  2. The term “entrepreneur” is defined to include an applicant that can demonstrate that s/he (1) possesses a significant (at least 10%) ownership interest in the entity and (2) holds an active or central role in the operations and future growth of the organization.  
  3. The rule requires that the applicant show that the entity has received capital investments of at least $250,000 from qualified US investors, or alternatively, that the entity has received significant awards or grants totaling $100,000 or more from federal, state, or local government entities.  USCIS will also consider applicants who partially meet one or both of the two criteria if s/he can sufficiently corroborate the potential significant public benefit to the United States in terms of rapid growth and job creation.
  4. A grant of this request could result in “parole” for the applicant, his or her spouse, and minor unmarried children, for up to 30 months.  Spouses may also apply for work authorization.
  5. Extensions made be granted for a period of up to 30 additional  months if the entrepreneur can show that that the start-up entity has demonstrated “significant growth” since the initial grant.  Additionally, the entrepreneur must show s/he has income of at least 400% of the federal poverty level for his/her household size.
  6. USCIS is creating a new form – Form I-941 – and the filing fee will be $1,200.
  7. USCIS will begin accepting applications on July 15, 2017.
  8. A startup entity could potentially support up to three entrepreneur applicants.
  9. There is a maximum five (5) year total parole period under this program.
  10. Due to the discretionary nature of this program, there is no appeal process for this program.

Immigration law is constantly in flux, so it’s important to stay current on developments in the law. As lawyers, we are committed to educating our clients so that, with our assistance, they can successfully  navigate through this complicated process.
 

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