On August 31, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed new regulatory provisions that may benefit international entrepreneurs. The proposed rule would allow DHS to use its existing discretionary parole authority to temporarily admit international entrepreneurs of start-up entities, on a case-by-case basis, whose entry into the US would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for innovation, rapid business growth, and job creation.  Eligible entrepreneurs must be able to demonstrate the following to realize the benefit of the proposed rule:

  • Significant ownership interest in a start-up entity (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role in its operations;
  • Startup formed in the US within three (3) years of initial entry; and
  • Startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
    • Receipt of significant investment of capital from certain qualified US investors with established records of successful investments;
    • Receipt of significant awards or grants from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
    • Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other demonstrable, reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

Under the proposed rule, international entrepreneurs may be initially admitted into the US for up to two (2) years to oversee and grow their start-up entity.  A subsequent request for admission for up to three (3) additional years may be granted only if the entrepreneur and the start-up entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue, and job creation.

The proposed rule is expected to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up entities with high growth potential in the US, which will facilitate research and development, foster employment, and otherwise benefit the US economy through increased business activity and innovation.

DHS is seeking public comment for the next 45 days.