On January 17, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security published the (final) International Entrepreneur Rule. Effective July 17, 2017, international entrepreneurs should have an easier time starting or continuing a new (started within 5 years proceeding the application) in the United States if, among other things, they can demonstrate that: 1. A new start-up entity was formed; 2. the foreigner owns at least 10% of the entity and has an active or central role in the operations; 3. at least $250,000 has been invested by established U.S. investors or has received at least $100,000 in government grants; or 4. partial combination of the above factors coupled with the ability to provide a significant public benefit to the United States.
This rule is expected to benefit those who are not nationals of countries eligible to participate in the E visa program and/or persons who have overstayed their visas in the United States but otherwise meet the above criteria.
Persons who benefit from this rule will be “paroled” into the United States in increments of 30 months. Once granted, while the entrepreneur may only work for the new entity, the spouse of the applicant may apply for an “open-market” employment authorization document (“work permit”), which in turn would permit her/him to lawfully work for any employer in the United States.