The International Entrepreneur Rule returns under Biden!
The International Entrepreneur Rule has been the topic of discussion lately, but while it seems new it was actually created at the end of the Obama administration. As with many Obama-era immigration changes, this was held back during the Trump administration, resulting in only 30 attempted filings and a single acceptance during that presidency. It has come up again recently because, in May of this year, it was revitalized by the Biden administration , which is now encouraging applicants.
The rule provides a unique way for foreign entrepreneurs to be granted parole to live within the US. The main requirement is that they show that their business provides “significant public benefit” to the county. While it is officially listed as parole, the rule essentially creates an entrepreneurship visa, and is only not referred to as such because it is ran through the Department of Homeland Security and only Congress can create new visa types.
The meaning of “significant public benefit” can be confusing. It basically means that their business has the potential for a large amount of job creation. This can be shown on an application through things such as US investors providing capital, awards and grants received by the business, or just evidence of rapid growth since the business began. An important requirement is that the business that the applicant owns or partially owns must be a startup. This means that it must have began within 5 years of when the application was submitted. The applicant must also have at least a 10% equity interest in the business.
To apply, one must file an I-941 form, and if they wish to bring a spouse and/or children with them they must also file an I-131. If you are an employee you must also file the standard I-9. The details required in the I-941 are the same listed above, essentially a description of your role at the business, proof of ownership stake, proof of the business’ potential growth, and identification. More in-depth instructions can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/humanitarian-parole/international-entrepreneur-parole
If you are an entrepreneur outside of the US looking to bring your business there, this could be a huge opportunity provided that you met the requirements. What is essentially a visa tailored towards startups could prove incredibly helpful. It is important to remember that it does not provide permanent residency. You will need an immigration plan for after the 5 years granted are over if you plan on staying within the country.
More generally, the return of this rule will likely result in a large amount of job growth. Some estimates predict more than 200 thousand new jobs over the next decade. Even now, 1 in 4 small business in the US are at least partially owned by immigrants. In fact, so are the majority of Silicon Valley startups. This could mean that the effects of this rule are especially relevant in STEM fields. Across the board, this serves to make immigrant entrepreneurship easier in the US. It also makes the nation a more competitive landing spot for these businesses going forward.