Entrepreneurs in Residence: February 22, 2012 Summit

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched its Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) initiative through an information summit on February 22, 2012. The EIR initiative is an important component of President Barack Obama’s efforts to facilitate immigration benefits for foreign national entrepreneurs who will help to create jobs in the United States, and encourage economic growth at a time when it is most needed.

Follow-Up of Previous Announcement

As detailed in our NewsBriefs, USCIS on Use of H1B and EB2 by Entrepreneurs: Part I (26.Aug.2011) and Part II (01.Sep.2011), the USCIS is interested in facilitating immigration benefits for entrepreneurs who are foreign nationals.

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced plans for the new EIR initiative in October 2011. The goal of EIR is to utilize private and public sector expertise to facilitate formulation of immigration policies that are pro-business and pro-economic growth. The program supports the larger governmental efforts to build the U.S. economy, and embodies the recognition that immigration laws can support the entrepreneurship that is a key component of economic recovery.

Entrepreneurs Initiative to Focus on B-1, H1B, E-1, E-2, L-1, and O-1

At the February 22, 2012 summit, USCIS Director Mayorkas met at the NASA Ames Research Center with more than 150 high-level representatives from areas of technology, academia, and government. Outside experts and USCIS staff under the EIR initiative will focus on providing foreign entrepreneurs immigration pathways that are aligned with business realities.

The focus will be on the policies and procedures relating primarily to the following visa categories: B-1 (business visitor), H1B (specialty occupations), E-1/E-2 (treaty traders/treaty investors), L-1 (intracompany transferees), and O-1 (extraordinary ability).

Certain Applicants to Train USCIS on Entrepreneurship

Over the next 90 days, this team will meet to discuss ways of making the immigration process work to help grow the economy through entrepreneurship. The EIR initiative recognizes that many foreign-born, potential entrepreneurs come to the United States to study, work, and create companies. Some must move their companies abroad, however, because of delays and problems with U.S. immigration laws and policies, resulting in the loss of potential U.S. job opportunities. Ultimately, the USCIS hopes to select five applicants from the private sector to guide policy and training for USCIS officials who will help make decisions on immigration applications.

DHS Loaned Executives: Using External Experts In-House to Train

One of the goals of EIR is for the USCIS to grasp the ever-changing needs of start up technology companies and apply the law for entrepreneurs based upon this knowledge. The DHS is one of the first federal agencies to use external experts in-house to review policies, practices and training. Under what is known as the DHS Loaned Executive Program, the DHS makes use of private sector expertise. These external experts will include policy experts, legal experts, and seasoned operations and fraud professionals.


These efforts to evaluate and facilitate options for entrepreneurs from a practical, real-world perspective is a positive step. The U.S. economy can benefit from fostering international entrepreneurs and allowing the related job creation to occur from within the United States.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.