Filing Instructions Published Dec. 14, 2017 – the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) was finally implemented with USCIS’ publication of instructions on how international entrepreneurs can file Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, in order to stay in the U.S. and develop business.

While not offering a path to U.S. permanent residence or U.S. citizenship, the IER does grant qualified international entrepreneurs temporary parole for up to five years (initial 2.5 year approval with possible 2.5 year extension) in the U.S. if they:

  • Possess substantial ownership of a U.S. startup business created within the past five years which has potential for rapid growth and job creation;
  • Have a central and active role in the business; and
  • Will provide significant public benefit to the U.S. based on their entrepreneur role by showing that:
    • The business has received significant capital investment from certain qualified U.S. investors with proven investment success;
    • The business has received significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation from federal, state, or local government entities; or
    • The business partially meets one or both of the above requirements and provides reliable and compelling evidence of its substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

The IER’s original effective date of July 17, 2017, had been delayed until March 14, 2018, to allow DHS time to review the rule and possibly issue a new rule removing the IER. A recent federal court order required USCIS to move forward with implementation; however, as noted in a Dec. 15, 2017 GT blog, a proposal is also under review to draft a rule rescinding the IER which would require a process of several months. To read the full GT blog, click here. If the IER is rescinded, any grant of parole to an international entrepreneur would likely be revoked. GT is monitoring developments in this area and will provide updates.

Errors found in Instructions to Form I-941 Application for Entrepreneur Rule – it was recently noted that the published instructions contain requirements that differ from those in the final rule published in January 2017, such as:

  • While the instructions require a 15 percent ownership stake in the startup entity and 10 percent for extensions and amendments, the final rule requires 10 percent ownership for the initial application and 5 percent ownership for amendments and extensions.
  • While the instructions require proof that the U.S. entity was formed within the past three years, the final rule requires proof that the U.S. entity was formed within the last five years.
  • While the instructions require the applicant to have received an aggregate of $100,000 in government grants or $345,000 from qualified investors within the past year, the final rule requires only $250,000 of aggregate funding from qualified investors and provides an 18-month period to aggregate either private or public funds.
  • While spouses and minor children may accompany the international entrepreneur by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, a revised version of the Form I-131 allowing for this new category has yet been made available by USCIS.