USCIS issues new green card standards for entrepreneurs

A new set of standards was created by US Citizenship and Immigration Services on 27 December last year, for the rarely-used program called the National Interest Waiver. This is a green card option for exceptional overseas immigrants whose work is in the national interest. Now, foreign entrepreneurs have been given a new avenue in which to pursue permanent legal status in the US, by the revamped program.

A precedent decision has been issued by the Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS in the case referred to as the Matter of Dhansar. It is the next logical step to the new entrepreneurial program created by the Obama administration, which will soon start admitting overseas inventors, as well as the founders of start-up firms, into the US on a case by case, temporary basis.

When taken together, these policy changes are a major development for overseas entrepreneurs, who have few current options for trying to get into the US. Although other nations, including Canada, have changed their policies to be more welcoming to such immigrants and their ideas for generating new businesses, Congressional efforts to create a start-up US visa have failed for the last seven years.

The best hope for immigrant entrepreneurs is now Entrepreneurial Parole and the new-look National Interest Waiver, with the new standards created by the Dhansar case decision shifting focus to the value and talent of the foreign entrepreneur, and taking into account their experience, skills, and past successes.