President Obama had proposed immigration benefits with a view to
retain talent and promote innovation and business. There will be no
new legislation to implement this but USCIS will soon publish draft
regulations that will enable its office to grant parole to certain
foreign-born entrepreneurs who establish start-up businesses in the
After the proposed regulation is published in the Federal
Register, there will be a 45-day public comment period. After
considering all the comments the USCIS may modify the draft
regulations. The final regulations will probably be published
either in late 2016 or early 2017 and become effective
Parole is a term that is generally used in three contexts by the
U.S. government - (1) Parole is granted to a person who does not
meet the technical requirements for a visa or is inadmissible,
permitting him/her to enter the United States on humanitarian
parole for a temporary period of time; (2) Another use related to
immigration is advance parole in which a person who already legally
resides in the U.S. needs to leave temporarily and return without a
visa. This typically occurs when a person's application to
adjust status to permanent residency (to obtain a green card) is
pending and the person needs to travel out of the U.S.; (3) It is
also granted for temporary travel to those who received deferred
action status by the USCIS, or have an asylum application
The USCIS is developing form I-941, Parole for Entrepreneurs
status will be similar to those described above and will grant
temporary long time stay in the U.S. Applicants may apply from
within or outside the U.S. and are required to pay a filing fee of
$1,200 plus an additional fee for biometrics. Entrepreneurs and
their families are expected to receive travel documents and work
authorization. Entrepreneurs can only work for the start-up while
their spouses may take up any job in the U.S.
Initially, the parole would be issued by the USCIS for 2 years
and could be extended up to 5 years if the start-up continues to
operate, attracts more investment, creates new jobs, etc. However,
if the start-up ceases to operate or fails to provide significant
public benefits, the parole can be revoked.
The entrepreneur must at all times own at least a 10% stake in
the start-up and must show that the start-up has created a minimum
of 10 full-time jobs for US workers, generated $500,000 annually or
has grown at the rate of 20% per year.
Qualified entrepreneurs are also required to maintain an income
level of 400% of the HHS Poverty Guidelines and a spouse's
income may be included to arrive at this figure.
Persons who have established a
start-up business in the U.S. within 3 years before they apply for
Persons who own 15% or more of the
Persons who play an active role in
the business. Passive investors cannot qualify;
The start-up must have received at
least $345,000 in capital from qualified US investors or a minimum
of grants from federal, state and local governments in the U.S. If
these funding criteria are not met, the entrepreneur would have to
demonstrate the start-up's potential for rapid growth and job
No more than 3 entrepreneurs could be
granted parole for a single start-up; and
Spouses and children of an
entrepreneur would also be eligible for parole.
The business cannot be an investment vehicle primarily engaged
in the offer, purchase, sale or trading of securities, futures
contracts, derivatives or similar instruments.
While entrepreneurs from more than 60 countries that have E-2
Investor Treaties with the U.S. will have little incentive to
request parole, Indian and Chinese nationals are the groups that
are likely to benefit the most from this new temporary immigration
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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