USA: International Entrepreneur Rule

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed an alternative immigration route aimed at foreign nationals who can show that their presence in the United States would contribute a significant public benefit. The “International Entrepreneur Rule” allows an entrepreneur of a start-up entity to legally reside in the US providing certain criteria are met.

First, they must demonstrate that they are an “entrepreneur” as defined within the guidelines of the programme. In this instance, it requires that the applicant holds a considerable ownership of the start-up company and who has an active operational position within the business. An investor with no active role would not be eligible for consideration.

In order to qualify as a “start-up entity”, the business must have been formed under federal or state law within three years prior to making the application. The company must also demonstrate that it has the potential for rapid growth and will create employment opportunities within the US.

There are also certain financial requirements which will be assessed by The Department of Homeland Security. The company in question must have received a minimum investment of $345,000 from one or more qualified investors in the 365 days prior to making the application.

As an alternative, the company may have also been supported by a qualified government grant of at least $100,000 in the 365 days prior to making the application.

It is estimated that this scheme will benefit as many as 3,000 people per year who are seeking entry to the United States, however making such an application and demonstrating eligibility is likely to be extremely complex.

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