Just over a year ago, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (the “USCIS”) launched its “Entrepreneurs in Residence” (“EIR”) initiative, which brought together business startup pros with USCIS experts to work on improving the federal process for entrepreneurs to obtain startup visas.
The USCIS set out to achieve three goals, which were:
- To produce clear public materials to assist entrepreneurs who want to know the relevant visa categories that might apply to them;
- To equip USCIS staff with the best tools for adjudicating cases properly in today’s complex business world; and
- To streamline USCIS policies and procedures to better fit the realities faced by foreigners trying to start a business in the U.S.
Now, after more than a year of work, the USCIS has released a summary of what the EIR has already accomplished, including:
- The attainment of roughly 30,000 visits to the Entrepreneur Pathways Website, which explains to foreign entrepreneurs the basic policies and processes of immigration, as well as the types of visas for which they might qualify;
- The training of more than 400 USCIS employment-based immigration officers with regard to the nuanced needs of startup businesses and environment necessary for early-stage innovation; and
- The additional specialized training of more than 100 USCIS officers so that they can handle cases involving visas for entrepreneurs better.
The USCIS also announced, as part of its expanding EIR program, that it is now seeking private sector experts in healthcare, information technology and the performing arts to join its Loaned Executive Program. This program provides high-level talent from designated professional fields with the opportunity to share feedback with the Department of Homeland Security on existing policies and procedures pertinent to their professional fields. The program seeks voluntary, unpaid contributions, but offers an excellent opportunity for those who want to contribute to the shaping of U.S. immigration and security.
If you are an entrepreneur seeking to apply for immigration status or benefits, and you have questions about successfully navigating the U.S. immigration laws, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (847) 564-0712 for an appointment to speak with an experienced and qualified immigration lawyer. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information about how we might assist you.