The H-1B season is once again upon us. Employers who have made use of the H-1B visa category are quite familiar with the rush of the H-1B cap season that culminates in ne
On Friday, January 13, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially announced the final International Entrepreneur Parole rule. The final rule was officially published on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. This rule was actually proposed in 2016, and announced on August 26, 2016.After publication of the proposed International Entrepreneur Rule, the USCIS sought comments over a 45-day period. TheInternational Entrepreneur Parole rule will be effective on July 17, 2017, 180 days after the publication. This 180 days delay is to allow the government time to prepare materials and training for the new immigration benefit.
The International Entrepreneur Parole rule is a welcomed development for many foreign entrepreneurs who have been disadvantaged by the stark lack of immigration options offered by the current visa categories, which are generally not oriented to businesses in startup stage. In November 2014, President Obama announced his intent to expand on immigration choices available to foreign entrepreneurs. The announcement final rule, which came just days before the end of President Obama’s tenure, appears to be the culmination of that effort.
Summary of Requirements ofthe New International Entrepreneur Parole Rule
How Can An Applicant Qualify As An Entrepreneur?
• The applicant must be a well-positioned personnel capable of substantially assist with the future growth and success of the business, with an active and central role in the startup entity, and must own a minimum of 10% of the startup entity (in the proposed rule the ownership requirement was 15%) when he/she applies. This means a passive investor does not qualify.
Which Types Of Startups Will Qualify Once The Rule Is In Effect?
• In order to qualify for a startup entity to qualify, it must have been established within 5 years prior to the initial parole application filing date or was established 5 years immediately before the acceptance of investment, grants, or awards. The 5-year look-back timeframe is an improvement on the original 3-year period suggested in the proposed rule.
• The startup entity must be lawfully operated enterprise formed in the U.S.
• The startup entity mustshow substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.To prove substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation, applicants must show prove of one of the following:
1. Investments from Established U.S. Investors: Applicants must proof that the startup entity received investment capital from United States investors adding up to a minimal of $250,000 which must have been made 365 days to 18 months immediately prior to the filing of an application for initial parole.
(These investors must have a history of substantial investment in successful startup entities. The investors must be either U.S. citizens, lawful permanent resident, or organizations, who have (1) made qualified investments amounting to a minimum of $600,000 in startup entities over the 5-year period of initial parole application filing date; (2) at least 2 startup entities invested in have generated a minimal of 5 full-time jobs (that has been occupied by a qualifying employee for at least a year) or $500,000 in revenue.
A qualifying employee is an employee working lawfully in the United States, is not an entrepreneur of the startup entity, and is not the son, daughter, parent, brother, sister or spouse of an entrepreneur of the startup entity. Also, independent contractors are not counted as qualifying employees.)
2. Government Grants: Applicants must proof that the startup entity received significant awards or grants of at least $100,000 for economic development, research, and development, or job creation (or other types of grants or awards normally given to startup entities) from federal, state or local government entities that regularly provide such awards or grants to start-up entities.
3. Last Alternative:Applicants can demonstrate that they partially meet either or both of the above requirement, and provide additional convincing and reliable proof that the startup will see experience rapid growth and create jobs.
How Can An Applicant Apply?
The DHS is creating a new application (form I-941) for this specific application, which will carry a filing fee of $1200 and a biometrics fee of $85.
What Is The Initial Parole Period?
Once the parole application has been approved, the beneficiary of the application is granted an initial parole period of 2.5 years or 30 months. In order to secure parole, the applicant must:
• submit the required parole application on the new USCIS form I-941
• be granted approval of the above application
• and finally enter the U.S. with the parole status (this is compulsory). If the applicant is already in the U.S., she or he must leave and reenter with the parole before he or she can assume the new parole status.
To maintain parole status, the entrepreneur (the beneficiary of the parole application) must work for the only startup entity described in the application to maintain parole status. The entrepreneur is not authorized to work for another entity and does not need to apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document).
What Is The Financial Requirement That Needs To Be Met To Maintain Parole Status?
In order for a parole beneficiary to maintain his/her parole status, the beneficiary has to main a household income 400% greater than the federal poverty guideline for the beneficiary’s household size. The poverty line for a family of four in 2017 is $24600, so if the beneficiary’s household consists of four individuals including the beneficiary, a household income of $98400 is required. The 2017 poverty guidelines were released on Thursday, January 19, 2014. The 2017 poverty guidelines will be effective as of Tuesday,January 24th, 2017.
Family Members of Beneficiary
The spouse or children under the age of 21 of the beneficiary are eligible for the application of parole status too, which will enable them to stay in the United States for the same length of time, as the principal parole beneficiary. Theywill have to file an I-131 application. The filing fee is $575;also, applicants aged 14 and over will pay an additional processing fee of $85. After entry into the United States, the spouse of the principal beneficiary can apply for an employment authorization. The children of the principal beneficiary are not eligible to apply for an employment authorization