Immigrant Entrepreneurs

On December 1, 2017 Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment to the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) in its challenge to a regulation published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) delaying the implementation of the International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Rule. The IEP regulation, published in the last days of the Obama administration, aimed to provide an immigration option for foreign entrepreneurs. A summary of the IEP program appears here. The new program was scheduled to take effect on July 17, 2017, but on July 11, 2017, DHS published a rule in the Federal Register delaying the implementation of the program until March 2018, and stating DHS’s intention to rescind the IEP regulation entirely. Judge Boasberg ruled that the government violated the Administrative Procedure Act by summarily delaying the implementation of the program without publishing a full regulation seeking notice and comment from the public.
Continue Reading National Venture Capital Association Wins Lawsuit Challenging Delay of Implementation of International Entrepreneur Parole Rule

Practice Chair, Susan Cohen was quoted in the Law360 article, Rule for Foreign Startup Founders Seen as Helpful Stopgap in which she explains the nuances of the UCIS’s proposed entrepreneur rule, which will allow immigrant startup founders to temporarily stay in the U.S. Cohen notes that the rule doesn’t provide actual immigration status and clarifies the impact “parole status” will have on the overall visa process. The article provides an overview of the rule and the challenges non-U.S. entrepreneurs may face in meeting the rule’s requirements.

Susan Cohen was also quoted in the Bloomberg BNA article, Draft Immigration Rule Would Ease Foreign Entrepreneurs’ Entry in which she examines the investment threshold for the proposed entrepreneur rule. The article highlights key components of the rule, such as the two-fold parole period and its requirements, and offers expert insight from various attorneys on the rule’s implications.

On Wednesday, October 29th, Doug Hauer, Member in our Boston office, will participate in a panel briefing for Israeli technology entrepreneurs & executives seeking to relocate employees to the U.S. Yael Biran, Managing Director, Mintz Levin Israel Business, will moderate the panel.

Topics covered will include:

  • Developments in visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv
  • Solutions for overcoming B-1 visa challenges at U.S. consular posts in Israel
  • Understanding and navigating special administrative processing
  • Immigration risks in planning executive leadership teams for a U.S. office
  • Strategies for extending ‘New Office’ L-1 petitions for executives and managers, and specialized knowledge experts
  • Managing immigration related U.S. government ‘site visits’
  • The VC perspective on immigration and visa issues

Who Should Attend?
CEOs, CFOs, entrepreneurs, and investors in technology companies looking to relocate employees into the U.S.

Herzog Fox & Neeman
Conference Center, 1st Floor
4 Weizmann Street
Tel Aviv

To register, click here.

The following opinion piece by Susan Cohen appeared in the December 20, 2013 issue of VentureBeat and is reprinted here with permission.

The U.S. market is a magnet for foreign entrepreneurs. Yet the U.S. immigration system throws up roadblocks to entrepreneurs. There is no “startup” visa, and the visa options that exist are unwieldy and often impractical.

Contrast that with the Chilean government’s Start-up Chile program. Nicholas Shea, a Stanford MBA and a Chilean citizen, began this program in 2010, when he realized that there were no viable visa options for the Chilean friends he wanted to start a company with in Silicon Valley. Since 2010, the Start-up Chile program has awarded over 1,000 startup visas and millions of dollars of funding to those who win the country’s business plan competition. Continue Reading The Start-up Chile visa program: Chile’s gain is our loss

On October 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of State will begin accepting requests to register for the 2015 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2015), also known as the Green Card Lottery. The Diversity Lottery Program provides a path for foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States regardless of whether they have a family member or an employer willing to sponsor them. This program is a success, facilitating the immigration of people from across the globe. If you meet the eligibility requirements and wish to secure permanent residence status in the United States, you should consider registration in the lottery. Continue Reading It’s Time to Register for the 2015 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery!

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, same-sex couples who are married have equal access to immigration benefits. We expect government agencies to implement the Windsor decision swiftly. This means that immediately we will see changes at the various federal agencies that process applications for immigration benefits and visas. The impact of Windsor as well as which same-sex marriages are now eligible are examined in this alert. Continue Reading What Windsor Means for Same-Sex Married Couples Seeking U.S. Immigration Benefits

The first two months of 2013 have seen a flurry of activity relating to immigration reform.  President Obama is pushing for comprehensive reform as are powerful factions within both the Senate and the House. And the political will and rising tide of opinion in favor of reform are making for unusual bedfellows, as exemplified by the recent joint statement of principles from the American Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.

But in this same timeframe, lawmakers anxious to change current immigration law to create new pathways for entrepreneurs and highly educated immigrants have introduced a number of bills designed for this purpose, including the Immigration Innovation (I²) Act of 2013 introduced by Senators Hath, Klobuchar, Rubio and Coons and the Startup Act 3.0, introduced by Senators Moran, Warner and Coons. These bills contain many excellent provisions that make tremendous sense, addressing shortcomings and deficiencies in our current law. For example, the I² bill would significantly increase the H-1B cap and would exempt graduates of U.S. advanced degree programs from the cap. It would authorize employment for the spouses of H-1B workers and would make it easier for those workers to move from one company to another.  It would also streamline the green card process and eliminate the enormous backlogs in the current system.  The Startup Act 3.0 would provide a new and much-needed work visa for foreign entrepreneurs who can attract angel or venture funding to their new U.S. ventures.

Our immigration laws are so broken and outdated that only comprehensive reform will correct  our course.  And the lawmakers who have introduced bills such as I² and the Startup Act 3.0 clearly hope that their prescriptions for specific improvements will be incorporated into any final comprehensive bill. But should comprehensive reform prove elusive, at a minimum Congress should pass some version of these bills, to attract and retain the best and the brightest of our foreign students and entrepreneurs, and help to boost and strengthen the U.S. economy.




Actions speak louder than words. This is especially true these days when we see announcements about efforts to revamp our immigration system to encourage investment in the United States. Here is the latest example.

“Entrepreneur-in-Residence” initiative

On October 11, 2012, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced an “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” initiative to harness industry expertise for the public and private sectors in order to streamline the immigration process for foreign entrepreneurs. Then, on November 28, 2012, USCIS launched its “Entrepreneurs Pathways” web page with resources for entrepreneurs.

At first glance this seemed to signal that there is now a breakthrough, a real effort at USCIS to encourage entrepreneurship. The stated goal makes a great sound bite:  “As the world’s greatest economy and a global leader in innovation, the United States must continue to welcome and retain the next generation of foreign entrepreneurs who will start new businesses and create new jobs here in America.” Continue Reading USCIS Entrepreneur-in-Residence Initiative Not Substantive