Bad news for startup founders. The International Entrepreneur Rule—the closest thing to a startup visa in the U.S.—is dying a slow painful death.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in the Federal Register delaying the effective date of the rule until March 14, 2018, to consider rescinding the rule altogether. This move follows an executive order on border security and immigration enforcement signed by President Trump in January. The order indicated his opposition to expanding parole to foreign entrepreneurs.
Originally, the International Entrepreneur Rule was slated to go into effect on July 17. DHS is accepting comments through August 10 on rescinding the rule. However, DHS states in the notice that cancellation of the rule is “highly likely.”
Now that the International Entrepreneur Rule is no longer an option, startup founders should consider alternatives:
- L-1A Visa: If you’re a startup founder who has already established a startup abroad, been working at the startup for at least a year, and can open an office in the U.S., you may qualify.
- Entrepreneur-in-Residence: More than a dozen universities in the U.S. offer these programs. They enable you to get an H-1B visa to mentor students while building your company in the U.S. We can make an introduction.
- EB-2 NIW Green Card: If you have an advanced degree or “exceptional ability” in the sciences, arts, or business, you may be eligible.
- EB-1A Green Card: If you have “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, you may qualify.
- H-1B Visa: You may incorporate your startup if you are on an H-1B. However, you cannot work for your startup even if the work is unpaid. You are limited to activities as a passive investor or owner. To work for your startup, your startup would need to sponsor you for an H-1B.
- B-1 Visitor for Business Visa: If your startup has an overseas office and it can continue to pay you, you could come to the U.S. and perform limited services under a B-1.
Contact us if you have questions about your eligibility for any of these options.