March 15, 2016


At USAIE, part of our mission is to link international entrepreneurs with the immigration, tax, corporate, intellectual property, and banking resources they need to be successful.

We have compiled a list of resources below. Browse the list by title, tag, or search. Is there something you’re looking for, or something you’d like to add? Contact us at



Experts weigh in on U.S. immigration issues affecting foreign entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs, start-up companies and a trade association joined together to oppose the postponement of the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER). This rule, with an effective date of July 17, 2017, would have permitted foreign entrepreneurs to travel to or stay in ...
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What do Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post), Dietrich Mateschitz (Red Bull), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), and Sergey Brin (Google) have in common? Apart from their success as entrepreneurs, they all share one distinct characteristic: extensive cross-cultural experience. Huffington grew up in ...
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One year ago, Alvaro Morales quit his office job to start something that had never existed before: a creative project that reunites immigrants with their homeland and distant family via virtual reality. Morales works with co-founder Frisly Soberanis to record ...
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Bringing Your Business to the United States through the New Office L-1 by: David J. Wilks Starting a business in the United States can be difficult for a foreign national. While a business establishment may be simple, U.S. work authorization may ...
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Infographic: Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs
This infographic was sourced from a blog post by Bobby Franklin of the National Venture Capital Association. It helps delineate the huge role that immigrants play in US entrepreneurship and startups ...
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USAIE comments on Matter of Dhanasar
This week USCIS fulfilled another of its 2014 goals to reform employment-based immigration for high-skilled employees. The Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as precedent the Administrative Appeals Office's decision in Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016), ...
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Law360 logo
On August 31, 2016, USCIS is publishing a proposed rule to grant parole to certain immigrant entrepreneurs. In this article (click for PDF), Law360 discusses the rule with several immigration experts, including USAIE's Dan Berger ...
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This article in the Huffington Post highlights some problems that American states, cities, and universities face in retaining foreign entrepreneurs. By Matthew La Corte, Immigration Policy Analyst at the Niskanen Center. La Corte touches on how entrepreneurs are getting squeezed ...
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E-Visas as a Way to Gain Long-term, Non-immigrant Status in the United States
The E visa category represents a very attractive, yet misunderstood and under-utilized, way to gain long-term, business-based non-immigrant status in the US. This article covers the ins and outs of the E visa program, and what an E visa could ...
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Unauthorized employment is a frequent issue for foreign nationals with business ventures in the United States. What is allowed? What is forbidden? This links answer common questions.

Immigrants Rising – New Website for Immigrant Entrepreneurs Who are DACA or Undocumented

Immigrants Rising  website!   This website provides a comprehensive overview of the entrepreneurship landscape in the U.S. through webinars, handouts and guides. In ...
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Getting ready for Entrepreneurial Parole

Getting ready for Entrepreneurial Parole

The proposed EP program creates an exciting new path to work authorization for entrepreneurs. In this PDF (click for link), ...
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USAIE comments on USCIS Final Rule

USAIE comments on USCIS Final Rules on Employment-Based Immigration

USAIE applauds United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for issuing a final rule clarifying a wide variety of ...
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New rules on STEM OPT went into effect on May 10, 2016. What is OPT? What qualifies as a ...
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Babson College Seal

For F-1 & J-1 students performing entrepreneurial activities

Babson College, a leader in assisting international entrepreneurs, has published this very useful guide on their website. It helps ...
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Emerging Issues in F-1 Employment

Emerging Issues in F-1 Employment: Powerpoint presentation

Slides from an October 30, 2013 Powerpoint presentation given at the NAFSA Region X conference. Covers issues such as ...
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FAQ Unauthorized Employment

Guide to Unauthorized Employment

Some of the most frequently asked questions we received from self-employed immigrants pertain to unauthorized employment. Read this ...
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Organizations & programs specifically for international entrepreneurs.

Why Are Immigrants More Entrepreneurial?

What do Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post), Dietrich Mateschitz (Red Bull), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), and Sergey Brin (Google) have in common? Apart from their success as entrepreneurs, they all share one distinct characteristic: extensive cross-cultural experience. Huffington grew up in Athens and studied in London before starting her career as a politician and media entrepreneur. Mateschitz spent considerable time overseas as a marketing salesman prior to founding Red Bull. Musk migrated from South Africa to the U.S. as young adult. Brin left the Soviet Union with his family after facing growing anti-Semitism and moved to the U.S., where he later cofounded Google.

Their stories are prominent examples of a widespread pattern. In the U.S., immigrants are almost twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as native-born U.S. citizens. Immigrants represent 27.5% of the countries’ entrepreneurs but only around 13% of the population. Similarly, about one-fourth of all technology and engineering companies started in the U.S. between 2006 and 2012 had at least one immigrant cofounder. And this pattern extends beyond the U.S. — data from the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor showed that the vast majority of the 69 countries surveyed reported higher entrepreneurial activity among immigrants than among natives, especially in growth-oriented ventures.

Research has suggested that selection and discrimination effects may be driving this phenomenon. It appears plausible that entrepreneurial individuals are more likely to migrate and that immigration policies in many countries favor highly motivated and capable individuals. Additionally, discrimination against immigrants in labor markets may exert pressure on them to seek self-employment.

In a recent study, we investigated a different explanation: Cross-cultural experiences may increase individuals’ capabilities to identify promising business ideas. By living in different cultures, they encounter new products, services, customer preferences, and communication strategies, and this exposure may allow the transfer of knowledge about customer problems or solutions from one country to another. By applying this kind of arbitrage, a temporary or permanent migrant can decide to replicate a profitable product or business model available in one country but not in another. Successful companies such as Starbucks (inspired by coffeehouses in Italy) and the German online retailer Zalando (inspired by Zappos) exemplify the potential of this strategy.

Cross-cultural experiences may also stimulate creativity. Interacting with two or more cultural contexts can help immigrants combine diverse ideas, solutions, and customer problems in order to create something entirely new. This principle is illustrated by the origin story of Red Bull. When Dietrich Mateschitz traveled to Thailand in the 1980s, he observed the popularity of a cheap energizing drink called Krating Daeng among truck drivers and construction workers. Finding that it helped ease his jet lag, he decided to license the product and sell it in Austria under the name Red Bull Energy Drink. Rather than simply importing the product, Mateschitz realized the opportunity to combine the newly obtained knowledge about a product (a drink popular among truck drivers) and the knowledge about his home market (conservative beverages market, growing clubbing scene) into an entirely new business idea. By adapting size, taste, and brand, he created the first energy drink for the alternative clubbing scene — something previously unseen in the Thai and Austrian markets.

We conducted two experiments to find evidence that these effects can make immigrants more entrepreneurial. First, we analyzed the effects of short-term cross-cultural experiences in a longitudinal field experiment. We tested the entrepreneurial capabilities (i.e., the ability to identify profitable business opportunities) of 128 students before and after a semester of living and studying abroad by asking them to come up with business ideas in the context of media and food retailing. We did the same for a control group of 115 students that continued their studies at their home university. The business opportunities they came up with were rated by four venture capitalists and industry experts blind to the source. Results showed a clear pattern (see Figure 1): The group that gained cross-cultural experience received significantly higher VC and expert ratings (+17%) on their business ideas after their semester abroad, while the ratings of the control group’s business ideas actually declined slightly (-3%) at the end of the semester.

In order to better understand this phenomenon, we interviewed all 96 participants after the experiment, asking them to describe how they generated ideas. These interviews were coded independently by two raters. Results showed that many participants had indeed applied knowledge arbitrage (e.g., “Innovative shop concepts such as [name of Asian supermarket chain] are missing in Vienna”) and creative recombination (e.g., “In France, I have seen supermarkets that were so big that all employees were wearing rollerblades….In my concept I also tried to use space as design concept to impress”) to identify profitable business opportunities.

The finding that cross-cultural experiences increase opportunity recognition capabilities has clear implications for businesses, entrepreneurs, and policy makers. It highlights the value of cross-cultural work experience or a migration experience for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies. Entrepreneurs and managers can actively seek to build such experiences by living abroad and systematically comparing what they observe in other markets. In multinational businesses, human resource management tools such as expatriate assignments or international job rotations can help build opportunity recognition skills. To make these tools even more effective, managers can complement them with entrepreneurship training prior to an international assignment. Furthermore, priming instruments like the ones in our experiments could be used while living abroad and afterward to spur business ideation.

For companies, ignoring the positive effect of cross-cultural experience on opportunity recognition may be harmful. If expatriates with good ideas receive no chance to exploit them within a company, they might choose to do so outside of it. Previous research has identified that many expatriates choose to leave their organizations soon after finishing an overseas assignment, when they suffer from a lack of promotion opportunities, career counseling, and status. Our results suggest that some of them might do this in order to exploit opportunities to become entrepreneurs.

Implications of our research also extend to the field of immigration policy. The United Nations estimates that there are over 240 million temporary and permanent migrants and refugees worldwide. Our results help explain the above-average entrepreneurial activity of this group and highlight the positive effects that immigration can have on an economy. We show that migration does not need to be a zero-sum game or a “war for talent,” with migrating entrepreneurs increasing entrepreneurial activity in one country at the expense of another. Instead, migration can help nurture entrepreneurial abilities by fostering the learning and application of cross-cultural knowledge that helps someone identify profitable opportunities.

Since immigration is increasingly seen by some people as a threat, the insight that more immigration may result in an overall gain in entrepreneurial activity may be a useful reminder of the opportunities associated with migration. It suggests that public money may be better spent on building incubators for migrant entrepreneurs than on building border walls.

On-Campus H-1B Incubators

USAIE On Campus H-1B Incubator Programs

USAIE can help your company or university set up an on-campus incubator to facilitate cap-exempt H-1B employment, similar to the GEIR programs already in place around the country. See this info sheet or contact USAIE for more information.


Unshackled logo

Unshackled is an innovative angel fund that extends the entrepreneurship opportunity to all entrepreneurs in our country, including those who are dependent on work visas.


IN2NYC logo

In conjunction with the City Colleges of New York (CUNY),  IN2NYC is creating pathways for international entrepreneurs to bring their companies to New York City.


Firms specializing in this area of the law.

Congressman Rutherford Introduces Legislation to Reform Entrepreneur Visa Program

July 18, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman John Rutherford introduced legislation to allow job creators who have been in the U.S. on an E-2 investor treaty visa for more than 10 years to apply for legal permanent residence. The bill, H.R. 3265, would also allow the children of these visa holders to remain in the country until they are 26 and apply for work authorization.

Mauricio Ramirez and Helga Langthon, who live in Jacksonville, came to America in 2001 and transferred to an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa in 2008. They have built a thriving business, SOHO Network Solutions, Inc.  SOHO Network Solutions is a woman-owned, minority-owned, Florida-based small business that supplies the law enforcement community with crime scene investigation products in over 55 countries around the world. They have been awarded many prestigious awards, including the “Small Business Exporter of the Year” by the U.S. Small Business Administration, “Exporter of the Year” by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and named the top minority-owned business by Jacksonville Business Journal for six years.

Under current law, Mauricio Ramirez and Helga Langthon are among many E-2 visa holders who come to our communities, open businesses, employ our neighbors, and contribute to our economy, but are not able to apply to become permanent residents – no matter how long they have lived here or how large of a contribution they have made. Additionally, the children of those here on an E-2 visa must leave the country by age 21. This often means families are split up as the children go to another country for school or work, forcing talented children who were often raised in the country to take their talents elsewhere. This is unlike other visa categories that allow a pathway for visa holders to apply for legal permanent residency. H.R. 3265 would create equity among visa holders, and keep job creators and their families in our communities.

Congressman Rutherford said, “E-2 visa holders are entrepreneurs bringing their abilities, resources, and jobs to the United States. They pay taxes and invest their livelihood into the communities they serve. They deserve to be able to plan for their businesses, employees, and especially their families. I want to change this outdated law so they can continue to create jobs and be fully integrated into the communities they have invested so much. This bipartisan legislation is a much needed update to current immigration laws that will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish small businesses and roots in our communities.”

Similar legislation has been introduced in previous Congresses. Representative Ann Kuster (D-NH) is the lead cosponsor on this bipartisan bill, which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

This legislation could help more than 100,000 families and businesses nationally.

To view the bill, click HERE.

Curran & Berger Resources for Investors & Entrepreneurs

Curran & Berger LLP Legal Resources for Immigrant Investors & Entrepreneurs

Curran & Berger LLP has compiled an Immigration Legal Resource Page for Investors & Entrepreneurs. Visit the site for resources and guidelines regarding E-1, E-2, and EB-5 visas.

Immigrants Rising – New Website for Immigrant Entrepreneurs Who are DACA or Undocumented

Immigrants Rising  website!  

This website provides a comprehensive overview of the entrepreneurship landscape in the U.S. through webinars, handouts and guides. In order to have full access to webinar materials and future content, please  SUBSCRIBE HERE. 

For any questions, feedback or comments, please email us at 

Follow Immigrants Rising on  Facebook and help ?build the online community! 


Miller Mayer

Miller Meyer for EB-5 assistance

For almost 20 years, Miller Mayer has provided exceptional counsel to regional centers, developers and individual EB-5 investors seeking EB-5 capital and visas.

Serotte Law: immigration law for start ups & investors

Serotte Law

Serotte Law specializes in helping start ups and investors navigate U.S. immigration law. Free evaluation calls available.