The Department of Homeland Security holds the discretionary power to permit entry into the United States in humanitarian or public benefit cases. In the final months of the Obama administration in 2016, the Department of Homeland Security amended its regulations regarding “parole”, or temporary entry, to include high-quality entrepreneurs. The objective of the amendment is to attract these entrepreneurs for public benefit in the forms of economic growth and innovation. The initiative became known as the International Entrepreneurship Rule. For a foreign national to qualify for this parole entry rule into the United States, he/she needs to:

  • Have an ownership stake of at least 10% of company AND
  • Attract at least $250,000 from a “qualified” investor OR
  • Attract at least $100,000 through qualified government awards or grants (local, state, and federal levels accepted)

In July 2017, under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security published a rule to delay the implementation of the International Entrepreneurship Rule to March 2018. In December 2017, a federal court vacated this delay, and the United States Center for Immigration Services began accepting applications for International Entrepreneurship parole.

On May 25th, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security proposed to terminate the International Entrepreneurship Rule, citing that the Rule is overly broad, lacks protections for American workers and investors, and is not an “appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs.”

The Department of Homeland Security is accepting comments received on or before June 28th, 2018 regarding their proposal to remove the International Entrepreneurship Rule.

Considering the volatility of the International Entrepreneurship Rule as a means of entry into the United States, many foreigners aspiring to enter the United States have looked towards the E-2 Investor Visa and EB-5 investor permanent residency. The E-2 visa requires a “substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business,” and in most cases must be renewed every five (5) years. The EB-5 permanent residency requires candidates to invest at least $1,000,000 (in certain cases, $500,000) in a U.S. business that will employ at least 10 American workers.