Get to know about ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ program



Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) is a new USCIS initiative launched this year, a spontaneous way for entrepreneurs to find the way through the immigration process. This initiative is to encourage more people to invest and start businesses in US. Start up business experts and immigration experts from USCIS constitute the EIR team. For some important existing US non-immigrant visa categories this team provides short time streamlined pathways to entrepreneurship.

Simultaneously USCIS also provide workshops for their immigration officers alongside entrepreneurs starting businesses to stay informed about their techniques and practices. Through April 2013 for further accomplishments of the team USCIS extended the EIR project. The team will, according to the department, also spread out its spotlight under current immigration law to U.S. immigrant visa pathways that allows abroad entrepreneurs to start a business in the U.S.

New online resource center started by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to support abroad entrepreneurs seeking to start up a business in the U.S. through the immigration process. The center, called Entrepreneur Pathways is part of the Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program USCIS launched earlier this year.

Eligible visa options to enter US

Using the Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker the non-immigrant petition is filed. Persons can come to US on non-immigrant visa and while maintaining the status can file for permanent residency also. This is called dual intent.

Business Visitor :

To start a new business in US in order to make safe endowment, to find office space, discuss a contract or, in connection with your business, to participate in business meetings an entrepreneur can apply and use the B-1 business visa. Initially after entering you can stay in US for minimum 6 months and subsequently extend stay in US.

Student visa/OPT Optional Practical Training

As a student on F-1 visa in US you can opt for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and also in your main area of study you can start a related business. OPT cannot be opted by students who are being trained in English language. Student visa holder is eligible for 12 months OPT for each post-secondary degree after which 17 month extension option is available for Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree students.
Specialty Occupation H-1B visa

Persons with bachelor degree or higher in a engineers, scientists or mathematicians related fields can get a H-1B work visa and also start a business in US and work in it in any position  provided person has a undergraduate degree or equivalent in a related field of the designation. Initially for 3 years a H-1B visa holder can stay in US which can be extended for another 3 years and generally 6 years maximum period of stay or even further.

Extraordinary ability & achievement

With extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics a person can get O-1A visa provided the ability is verified by persistent approval and acknowledged and in the same or related field a business can be started after entering US.  Level of expertise should show that person is one amongst the top best people in that field and only then considered extraordinary ability. In the US up to 3 years initially the person can stay and later renew every one year till completion of activity.

Treaty Investor

By investing substantial amount of money in a new or already running business in US a person can get E-2 visa provided you are from a country with which a treaty of commerce agreement exists with US or from one of the countries approved by the congress to be eligible for the E-2 non-immigrant visa program. For 2 years initially the eligible person can stay in US and subsequently renew indefinitely every two years.

Intra-company Transferee

As an executive, manager or worker a person with specialized knowledge is eligible for “intra-company transferees” L-1 visa. This person should have worked for 3 years for a qualifying company and also at least one year prior to filing for L-1 in an affiliate, parent, subsidiary or branch offices of the foreign employer before being sent to open new office in US as a executive, manager or worker.    Initially for 3 years person is permitted to stay in US which can be extended up to 2 years. For executives and managers the maximum period of stay is 7 years and for workers with specialized knowledge the period is 5 years.

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