New USCIS Proposal Offers Immigrant Entrepreneurs 5 Years of Work Authorization


In late August, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unveiled proposed legislation granting immigrant entrepreneurs up to five years of work authorization in the United States.

“America’s economy has long benefited from the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs, from Main Street to Silicon Valley,” said León Rodríguez, director of USCIS, in a statement. “This proposed rule, when finalized, will help our economy grow by expanding immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment and generating revenue in the U.S.”

The International Entrepreneur Rule is part of President Obama’s 2014 executive action where he urged federal officials to develop a framework for an accessible path to U.S. work authorization for entrepreneurs. The proposal, which does not require congressional approval, is open to public comment for 45 days.

Which immigrant entrepreneurs are eligible?

Foreign entrepreneurs whose entry into the United States to form or sustain a business would benefit the public due to rapid business growth and job creation.

How long is the visa valid?

The proposal includes an initial two years of work authorization and one three-year renewal.

What are the requirements?

It’s important to note that entry is only granted on a case-by-case basis, as determined by Department of Homeland Security officials.

Here are some requirements for entry:

  • Immigration officials are looking for entrepreneurs who could prove they have significant ownership (at least 15 percent) and an active role in a U.S.-based business.
  • The startup must have been formed within the past three years.
  • To meet the threshold for rapid business growth, the organization should have received a large capital investment of at least $345,000 from U.S. investors with established records of success. Alternatively, the business receiving awards or grants of at least $100,000 from federal, state or local government entities could establish the requirement.
  • Similar to other visa types, partial proof of the requirements above and supplementary forms of evidence could potentially satisfy the requirements.
  • Find additional details about the International Entrepreneur Rule here.

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