Following up on my post from nearly two years ago, the Department of Homeland Security has finally released details of the plan to use its “parole” authority to admit promising startup founders and their families. Although I have not yet had time to thoroughly review the 155-page document, here are a few preliminary highlights:
- Eligible entrepreneurs will need an equity stake of at least 15%;
- The startup in question must have been formed within the past 3 years;
- The startup must show potential for rapid growth and job creation, as proven by:
- receipt of at least $345k in funding from US investors;
- receipt of at least $100k in grants from certain government entities; OR
- a lower investment or grant amount combined with “other reliable and compelling evidence” of the startup’s potential for growth and job creation.
Another note that will be of interest for many–spouses paroled into the US under this program will be able to apply for an EAD allowing them to work for any company in the US while the parole is active.
The program will grant an initial period of 2 years, followed by an extension of up to 3 years if the company continues to show potential for growth.
All-in-all, this is huge news for foreign founders. Only the first test cases will be able to tell us for sure, but the third prong of the “potential for rapid growth” test seems to have a significant amount of flexibility built in that can be used to parole founders who have received smaller amounts of funding, but who can show they are getting traction in other ways.
Please note that this rule is not in effect yet. This is DHS’s “proposed” rule. The public now has 45 days to comment on the proposal, after which DHS will address the comments received and issue the final version.
Exciting times! Stay tuned for more updates as I make my way through the proposed rule in more detail.