By Jeremy P. Feakins
“Upon review, DHS is planning to propose to remove the IER because it is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs and does not adequately protect U.S. investors and U.S. workers.” – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Entrepreneurs born outside of the United States can now apply for a new category of temporary residency that would allow them to build their startups in the U.S., immigration officials said Thursday.
This move comes a few weeks after a judge ruled in favor of a group of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and companies led by the National Venture Capital Association, which sued the federal government for its unlawful delay of the International Entrepreneur Rule. In his decision, the judge wrote that the government must begin implementing the rule.
The department then announced it will start accepting applications for the International Entrepreneur Rule effective December 14, 2017.
The International Entrepreneur Rule permits foreign nationals to apply to enter the U.S. for a maximum of five years to assist a startup business with the potential for accelerated growth or to create American jobs. To receive the entry permit, a foreign national must demonstrate that the startup has received at least $250,000 in capital from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of recent successful investments, or $100,000 in federal or state grants. Alternatively, the foreign national must provide other compelling evidence of the startup’s potential for rapid growth and job creation.
Interested entrepreneurs should act quickly since the rule won’t be around for long. Although the Department of Homeland Security is currently taking applications, it has announced that it intends go through the full rule-making process to repeal the International Entrepreneur Rule. That process could take as little as two months. So, entrepreneurs should apply quickly, before it’s too late.
Of course, the International Entrepreneur Rule isn’t the only method for international business people to set up shop in the U.S. A number of work visas could also be available to them, including visas for intra-company transferees (L class), specialty occupation workers (H-1B visas), investors from treaty nations (E visas), and foreign nationals wishing to move to the U.S. permanently and willing to invest a minimum of $500,000 in certain U.S. businesses (EB-5). But each of these visas has its own requirements and limitations.
As always, consult an experienced Attorney before embarking on immigration matters.