International Entrepreneur Rule- How do I Qualify for a "Startup Visa"?
As a foreign entrepreneur or startup company you need to present that you formed a US entity within the last 5 years, that you possess at least 10 % interest of the company, will centrally participate in its operations and that you have the potential of significant growth in the United States.
Forming an Entity in the United StatesFirst step is to form an entity in the United States unless you have already done so- within the preceding 5 years of filing the application. For an individual to qualify for the "startup visa" - parole under the International Entrepreneur Rule - he or she must possess at least 10% of the entity and have an active and central role in the operations of the company. A maximum of three individuals (each along with their spouse and children) can qualify under one startup company.
Investment Needed to QualifyThe applicant under the International Entrepreneur Rule must present that he or she secured investment in the amount of capital of $250,000 or more from qualified US investors such as venture capital firms, angel investors or accelerators. He or she may also present that the startup received grants form government entities in the amount of $100,000 or more. There is an additional opportunity to show that granting parole would be in the public interest of the United States- in other words the company would be able to demonstrate significant growth and provide job creation in the United States.
Practical Considerations of a "Startup Visa"The successful applicant will be authorized for employment incidental to the qualifying startup company alone. The applicant's spouse is permitted to apply for employment authorization. The successful applicant may be granted parole under the International Entrepreneur Rule for an initial 30 months. This parole can be extended (re-paroled) for another 30 months if he or she successfully presents significant growth of the company over the course of the initial 30 months. The applicants granted parole must depart the United States when their parole expires- at the end of the maximum 5 years.
Final Notes- International Entrepreneur Rule Postponement Vacated on December 1, 2017Thanks to Judge Boasberg's ruling on December 1, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security must begin accepting applications of foreign entrepreneurs and startup companies that wish to bring their ideas to the United States. We cannot be any happier. Wishing you good luck on your new adventure!