Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR)
USCIS announced the EIR initiative at a meeting of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in October 2011 and formally launched the initiative at a national stakeholder summit in Silicon Valley in February 2012. The initiative was spearheaded by USCIS, working in close coordination with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. USCIS was only the second Federal agency to embrace this tool for government innovation.
Reflecting on the last year, the EIR program has been a great success. By leveraging talent from the private sector and empowering government employees in an unprecedented way, the EIR initiative has proven to be an effective model to focus and address a critical challenge faced by government. In the coming months, USCIS intends to expand the EIR concept to a broader range of industries that it serves, including performing arts, health care, and information technology.
This webpage highlights the successes of the EIR program. We’ve also compiled a full report which details the evolution of EIR and measures its impact.
How it worked
USCIS recruited both startup experts from the private sector, using DHS’s Loaned Executive Program, and internal immigration experts from across the agency. Working within the framework of current immigration law, the team set out with the overarching goal of optimizing existing visa categories used by entrepreneurs to provide pathways that are clear, consistent, and aligned with business realities.
The USCIS EIR effort began as a 90-day sprint focused solely on nonimmigrant visa categories. To build on the initial successes achieved, the team volunteered to continue its work and recruited new internal experts to expand the focus of the project to relevant immigrant visa categories. Over the course of a year, the EIR team convened on a regular basis at USCIS headquarters in Washington, D.C., service centers in California, Vermont, Texas, and Nebraska, and at stakeholder engagements around the country.
What it did
The EIR team worked collaboratively to develop the most effective solutions for USCIS. For each of its three main goals, the team produced a range of signature deliverables, detailed below.
1. Produced clear public materials to help entrepreneurs understand which visa categories are most appropriate for their particular circumstance.
2. Equipped USCIS’s workforce with tools to better adjudicate cases in today’s complex and rapidly evolving business environment.
3. Streamlined USCIS’s policies and practices to better reflect the realities faced by foreign entrepreneurs and startup businesses.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/08/2013