On Jan. 17, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its final rule to implement discretionary parole authority to increase, promote, and encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States. This final rule will add new regulatory provisions that will allow DHS to grant parole in certain circumstances and by discretion to entrepreneurs of start-up entities who are able to show through evidence the potential for business growth, job creation, and public benefit to the United States. Potential may be evidenced by the receipt of capital investment from U.S. investors or obtaining awards or grants from government entities. The criteria will be discussed in more detail below. If the parole is granted, the entrepreneur will be allowed a temporary stay of up to 30 months that may be extended for an additional 30 months. The final rule will be effective on July 16, 2017.
Requirements to qualify for parole for entrepreneurs:
- Meet the definition of entrepreneur: An entrepreneur is defined as an alien who possesses a substantial ownership interest in a start-up entity and is actively engaged in the operations of the entity, and who has the qualifications to perform such duties. A substantial ownership interest means possession of at least 10 percent of the start-up entity for the first parole application, and at least 5 percent ownership interest if applying for a renewal of the parole. During the initial period of parole, the entrepreneur must maintain at least 5 percent ownership interest in the entity, and during the subsequent period of re-parole, may reduce the ownership interest, but must always maintain an ownership interest in the entity.
- Entity must meet the definition of start-up entity: A start-up entity is defined as an entity created within the five years immediately preceding the filing of the alien’s initial parole application. If the entity has received a grant, award, or investment, then it will be considered as recently formed if it was created within five years preceding the receipt of the above-mentioned items.
- Definition of a government award or grant: This means an award or grant for economic development, research and development, or job creation that has been given by a U.S. federal, state, or local government entity.