USA reopens doors to foreign entrepreneurs with International Entrepreneur Rule

The US is set to fully implement the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) to allow certain foreign-born entrepreneurs to come to the US for up to 5 years to start or grow their business in the USA.

The Biden Administration has announced it will adopt the Obama-era program, which had first been introduced in 2017 but was subsequently suspended by the Trump Administration.

To be eligible, individuals must own at least 10 percent of a startup and attract at least $250,000 from US investors.

The IER forms part of President Biden’s vision to grow the US economy.

Current US immigration routes for entrepreneurs and investors are restrictive, in comparison to the visas and programs offered by other developed nations such as Canada.

The E-2 visa for Treaty investors, for example, requires a substantial personal investment and does not offer a direct path to a Green Card.

According to Department of Homeland Security estimations, 3000 entrepreneurs a year would qualify for the IER, which would in turn lead to the creation of 10,000 jobs in the US over a year period.

“Immigrants in the United States have a long history of entrepreneurship, hard work, and creativity, and their contributions to this nation are incredibly valuable,” said Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Tracy Renaud. “The International Entrepreneur parole program goes hand-in-hand with our nation’s spirit of welcoming entrepreneurship and USCIS encourages those who are eligible to take advantage of the program.”

The IER does, however, carry limitations. It is not a visa and does not confer formal immigration status to program participants. The DHS also retains discretionary authority over the program.

Only Congress has powers to create a visa, with calls continuing for the US to introduce a new dedicated Start up visa to attract foreign-born entrepreneurs and investors.

US immigration advice

We continue to monitor developments in US immigration policy and procedure. If you are looking to start up a business in the US and have any queries about your visa options, speak to our US immigration specialists.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.