On August 31, 2016, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed to amend its regulation by implementing Secretary of Homeland Security’s discretionary parole authority to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, job creation and benefit US economy through increased business activity and dynamism.

DHS has proposed to establish the criteria for the case-by-case evaluation of parole applications filed by entrepreneurs of start-up entities. Such entities must be created within the 3 years preceding the date of filing of the initial parole application. An applicant seeking parole would qualify by showing that he has significant (at least 15%) ownership interest in the entity, such as active and central role in the entity’s operation, and would substantially further the entity’s ability to engage in research and development and grow its business in the US. The applicant cannot be a mere investor.

For DHS to consider such parole applications, the entrepreneurs would need to establish that his/her parole would provide significant public benefit that has potential for rapid growth and job creation. This can be established by significant capital financing from US investors such as venture capital firms, angel investors or start up accelerators, with an investment of $345,000 or more. The applicant may also show significant awards or grants from certain Federal, state or local govt. entities. Such monetary awards or grants must be totaling $100,000 or more from Govt. entities that typically provide such funding. Another standard can be where the applicant who partially meets one or more of the above criteria, to provide any additional reliable and compelling evidence of the entities that can provide significant potential for rapid growth and job creation.

An applicant who meets the above criteria will be considered for discretionary parole for up to 2 years into the US, along with his/her family members. Further, the entrepreneur’s spouse, if paroled into the US, would be permitted to apply for employment authorization consistent with proposed 8 CFR 274a.12 ( c ) (34). The individuals granted parole will be considered for re-parole for up to 3 years, for a total maximum period of 5 years, if and only if, they can demonstrate that their entities have shown signs of significant growth since the grant of initial parole. At this point, the entity has to demonstrate that it received at least $500,000 in additional qualifying funding during the initial parole period. It must establish that the entity reached at least $500,000 in annual revenue, with average annualized growth of at least 20% during the initial parole period. Further, it is expected to create at least 10 full time jobs for US workers.

Hence, DHS believes this proposal would encourage entrepreneurs to pursue business opportunities in the US rather than abroad.