Visas for Entrepreneurs
In order to increase the creation of US jobs, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created the Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) program with the purpose of encouraging immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the United States and start up new enterprises. The new EIR program was announced in October of 2011 at the President's Counsel on Jobs and Competitiveness. If you are an entrepreneur interested in starting up a business in the United States, there may be an immigration visa category available to you. Contact the experienced attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. Our lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience in multiple complex immigration law matters.The EIR Team
The USCIS put together its EIR team utilizing the skills of experts in the field of private sector startups along with immigration experts from several USCIS areas. The EIR team’s goal was to take a look at those immigration visa categories used by entrepreneurs and optimize them for the real business world. The team received a short orientation followed by a trip to the USCIS California Service Center, which is one of the four USCIS service centers that process entrepreneurial visa petitions and applications. The team made a comprehensive project plan, using input from outside stakeholders and USCIS immigration officers, with numerous projects and sub-goals with a 90 day completion timeframe.
The EIR project started as a 90 day process in which the team concentrated only on non-immigrant visa category. Once the team achieved initial success, it then continued on incorporating new experts to increase the range of the project to also include those immigrant visa categories as well that are relevant to entrepreneurs. The EIR team met regularly at several locations including the Washington DC headquarters of the USCIS along with the four service centers in California, Nebraska, Texas, and Vermont, and stakeholder meetings all over the United States.The EIR project
The EIR project consisted of three major goals. First, make available to entrepreneurs a clear source of information to help them determine which visa category is the most appropriate for their specific circumstances. The team accomplished this by launching the website Entrepreneur Pathways, which has the information and tools entrepreneurs need providing a comprehensive understanding of all the relevant visa categories available and which would be appropriate for them. Next, the team reached out to student entrepreneurs utilizing the Study in the States website to share information with ICE and DHS about startup programs of top universities and the private sector.
Second, improve the ability of the USCIS to adjudicate entrepreneurial immigration cases in the present intricate and rapidly progressing business climate. This was accomplished by developing a new training course for USCIS personnel focusing on business startups. This training was given to almost all of the immigration officers involved in employment-based immigration work at all four of the USCIS service centers. A smaller subgroup of immigration officers was given a more detailed training. The team created a resource library of related from his EIR consisting of an internal website for USCIS officers.
Third, adjust policies and practices of the USCIS to work better with the realities of the entrepreneurial business world. In order to accomplish this goal, the EIR team took direct input from entrepreneurs through engagement in Silicon Valley, and also Atlanta, Boston, and Washington DC. The team collaborated with Georgia Tech and MIT as well. The team revised the request for evidence (RFE) template to make it more user-friendly toward current business models to include requests for a wider variety of documentation to reflect business realities. The team looked at USCIS H-1B policies, and then evaluated them based upon feedback from external and internal sources, and proposed several policies changes to address the challenges and limitations entrepreneurs face.
Several visa pathways are listed below, which may be available to you as a foreign national entrepreneur if you want to start a new business or have already started one and you seek to come to the United States either temporarily or permanently:
- B-1 Business Visitor
- F-1/OPT Optional Practical Training
- H-1B Specialty Occupation
- O-1A Extraordinary Ability and Achievement
- E-2 Treaty Investor
- L-1 Intracompany Transferee
- EB-1 Extraordinary Ability
- EB-2 Classification and National Interest Waiver
- EB-2 Advanced Degree Professional
- EB-2 Exceptional Ability
If you have questions regarding the EIR program or any of the immigration visa categories that may be available to you, please call our immigration attorneys or contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to consult with an attorney at the nearest office close to you.