International Entrepreneurs can take advantage of the J-1 Innovation Visa program through the ESU Business Accelerator.

International Entrepreneurs can take advantage of the J-1 Innovation Visa program through the ESU Business Accelerator.

ESU is the only institution in Pennsylvania to offer a visa that allows students, researchers and entrepreneurs to come to the United States for up to 5 years in pursuit of developing a new business.

J-1 Innovation Visa holders receive Business Accelerator benefits.  They also have the opportunity to help their business grow by being embedded in a United States market that is ready for culturally unique ideas.

  • Access to office space
  • Mentorship and advisers
  • Investment Opportunities
  • Private office space and wet-labs
  • Little initial investment liability

ESU is the only institution in Pennsylvania to offer a visa that allows students, researchers and entrepreneurs to come to the United States for up to 5 years in pursuit of developing a new business.

J-1 Innovation Visa holders receive Business Accelerator benefits.  They also have the opportunity to help their business grow by being embedded in a United States market that is ready for culturally unique ideas.

  • Access to office space
  • Mentorship and advisers
  • Investment Opportunities
  • Private office space and wet-labs
  • Little initial investment liability

Frequently Asked Questions about the J-1 Visa International Innovation Program

  • What is the Duration and Timing of the International Innovation Program (IIP)?

    The J-1 Visa can be held for up to five years. When you successfully enroll in IIP, you will be given J-1 classification for an initial three-year period. Within three months of the end of this initial stay, if your business requires additional time to develop, you can apply for an extension that can be granted for up to two additional years.

    Because ESU has the authority to issue permission to obtain J-1 status (Form DS-2019), the processing time after a successful application to the IIP is very fast. Normally, the time lag between IIP approval and entering the United States can be accomplished in less than 1 month.

    Please note that the J-1 Visa holders can be subject to a two-year home residency requirement and the intent of the J-1 program is that all J-1 Visa holders will return to his or her home country. As such, all applicants are provided a one-hour immigration consultation as part of the application fee in order to determine whether or not the IIP program is the best fit their needs.

  • What are the visa options after the J-1 Visa IIP?

    At numerous junctures throughout the development of your enterprise, we will meet with you to discuss your progress and how your enterprise can best transition to a full-fledged operation outside of the ESU campus. We will help not only create a strategy for your business, but also for the enterprise’s personnel growth whether you look to transfer additional employees from an overseas entity or tap into the wide-range of talented U.S. workers.

  • Can I create a US entity under a J-1 Visa IIP?

    Yes, as the J-1 Visa provided by the International Innovation Program (IIP) is not tied to an intra-company relationship or an investment, but instead an individual, corporate formation can occur when your business is ready rather than for the purpose of a visa. We highly recommended that an entity in the U.S. be formed prior to bringing a product to market even if the enterprise is still housed at ESU to limit liability and in line with other important legal considerations.

  • What are the fees associated with the J-1 Visa International Innovation Program?
    • There is a $300 application fee per foreign national individual that includes the assessment of the eligibility for J-1 classification and of your idea/enterprise.
    • There is a visa processing fee charged by the U.S. Government in the amount of $160. You may also be responsible for the SEVIS fee of $180.
    • The IIP carries a monthly fee and those charges start at $950.00 per month for companies. The full cost is dependent on the size of the office/lab space, accelerator services needed and number of people, please contact Keith Modzelewski, Director, Business Accelerator and Entrepreneurship by writing to J1Visa@esu.edu or calling (570) 422-7920 for a quote.
  • Can my spouse and children join me?

    Yes, immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 year old) are eligible for an initial J-2 status. In addition, once your spouse arrives in the United States, he or she can complete an application for employment qualification.

  • How many foreign national employees can be sent to the U.S. in J-1 status through the IIP?

    Due to the unique nature of International Innovation Program (IIP), companies are limited to 3 employees in the United States under J-1 classification.

  • Will I have to pay income taxes in the U.S.?

    Yes - most foreign nationals in the U.S. in J-1 status are responsible for paying income taxes in the United States. However the amount is dependent on nationality and it is highly recommended that you speak with an international tax expert.

  • What are the requirements for a foreign entrepreneur willing to start a venture in the USA?
    1. At least five years of experience;
    2. Proof of available funding for the entire first year of the program;
    3. Plan to launch new ideas, business concepts and technologies in the United States;
    4. Completion of the pre-qualification questionnaire and one-hour immigration consultation;
      Please note that the J-1 Visa holders can be subject to a two-year home residency requirement and the intent of the J-1 program is that all J-1 Visa holders will return to his or her home country. As such, all applicants are provided a one-hour immigration consultation as part of the application fee in order to determine whether or not the IIP program is the best fit their needs.
    5. The Business model has to be approved by the Business Accelerator Review Committee based on submission of the Business Accelerator application; and
    6. The Foreign National must follow the Business Accelerator Guidelines, and under the IIP must spend 125 days at the incubator (50% of their time) and at least 184 days in the U.S. per year. The J-1 Visa holder must be willing to have personal accommodation at a commutable distance from ESU Accelerator.
  • What are the requirements for a foreign company willing to expand its operation to the U.S. Market?
    1. Enterprise that has been real, active, and operating abroad for at least three years that wishes to transfer key personnel to the United States to ultimately establish a foreign subsidiary, affiliate, or branch;
    2. Proof of available funding for the entire first year of the program;
    3. Completion of the pre-qualification questionnaire and one-hour immigration consultation;
      Please note that the J-1 Visa holders can be subject to a two-year home residency requirement and the intent of the J-1 program is that all J-1 Visa holders will return to his or her home country. As such, all applicants are provided a one-hour immigration consultation as part of the application fee in order to determine whether or not the IIP program is the best fit their needs.
    4. The company’s business plan has to be approved by the Business Accelerator Review Committee based on submission of the Business Accelerator application; and
    5. The Foreign National must follow the Business Accelerator Guidelines, and under the IIP must spend 125 days at the incubator (50% of their time) and at least 184 days in the U.S. per year. The J-1 Visa holder must be willing to have personal accommodation at a commutable distance from ESU Accelerator.
  • What are the requirements for a foreign inventor willing to start a venture in the USA?
    1. Foreign Nationals who have developed or are in the process of developing a new technology or product;
    2. The inventor must have developed a prototype or theory that could be ready for testing and market entry within 3 years of arrival in the United States;
    3. Proof of available funding for the entire first year of the program;
    4. A goal of obtaining a U.S. Patent (or other intellectual property protection) and the creation of a corresponding enterprise in the United States;
    5. Completion of the pre-qualification questionnaire and one-hour immigration consultation;
      Please note that the J-1 Visa holders can be subject to a two-year home residency requirement and the intent of the J-1 program is that all J-1 Visa holders will return to his or her home country. As such, all applicants are provided a one-hour immigration consultation as part of the application fee in order to determine whether or not the IIP program is the best fit their needs.
    6. The prototype/concept has to be approved by the Business Accelerator Review Committee based on submission of the Business Accelerator application. The priority industry sectors include:
      • Homeland Security
      • Information Technology
      • Biotechnology/Life Sciences
      • Healthcare
      • Advanced Manufacturing
      • Social Entrepreneurship
      • Financial Services
      • PA High Priority Occupations
      • Sectors associated with ESU’s academic programs
    7. The Foreign National must follow the Business Accelerator Guidelines, and under the IIP must spend 125 days at the incubator (50% of their time) and at least 184 days in the U.S. per year. The J-1 Visa holder must be willing to have personal accommodation at a commutable distance from ESU Accelerator.
  • What are the Business Accelerator Admission Guidelines? See Guidelines, Page 19

    Businesses selected to participate in the Business Accelerator Program are expected to:

    1. Operate in a legal and ethical manner;
    2. Pay invoices promptly;
    3. Establish the company as a legal entity;
    4. Identify and protect intellectual property (e.g. patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks);
    5. Be considerate of other company clients in regard to noise, use of common areas and equipment;
    6. Provide an updated list of employees (full-time and part-time), interns, and contractors who will be working in the Business Accelerator and reference any individuals who have keys, ecards, etc. on an ongoing basis;
    7. Participate in monthly meetings and adhere to metric reporting;
    8. Spend 125 days at the incubator (50% of their time) and at least 184 days in the US per year; and
    9. Be willing to have personal accommodation at a commutable distance from ESU Accelerator.
  • How to Terminate the Program?

    A Business Accelerator company client may depart from the program at any time by notifying the Business Accelerator Manager in writing 30 days prior to exiting.

  • What are ESU Business Accelerator Services?

    The following services are provided to clients based on availability and need:

    Facilities/Equipment

    Support Services

    Training

    Financial Resources

    Networking

Documentation

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the Business Accelerator and Entrepreneurship at ESU, please contact Keith Modzelewski at (570) 422-7953 or kmodzelewski@esu.edu.

Contact Information

Campus Address
ESU Innovation Center, 562 Independence Road
Phone:
(570) 422-7953
Title of Department Leader
Director, Entrepreneurship
Name
Keith Modzelewski
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