Foreign Entrepreneurship & Global Startups Program

The InAGrad Program is a great benefit to a US university

It aims at attracting and retaining talented foreign students, alumni and entrepreneurs to its incubators and educational programs, by:

  • expanding the eligibility for extended J-1 visas for foreign graduates (and alumni) who want to become entrepreneurs in the U.S.
  • helping improve global education and incubation/acceleration programs by adapting them to foreign entrepreneurs
  • and preparing these foreign entrepreneurs for the transition back to their country.
EAEC has already assisted a few U.S. universities in expanding their J-1 program to allow foreign entrepreneurs to participate in campus incubators and accelerators including East Stroudsburg University (ESU) - in partnership with the French American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia. You may visit the ESU program website to better understand the InAGrad impact. Find more information on the Bender Immigration Bulletin that mentions our work with ESU (on page 614).

More Explanations

Purpose of the Extended J-1 Scholar

Bring together students, scholars, and researchers at the University, to promote entrepreneurial efforts that benefit the University and the region.
The authorization provided by the Department of State is for entrepreneurial activities that have some basis in requiring the support of academic staff.
The Department of State reviews the program and selection criteria in order to grant the expanded designation.


After being granted designation, the university is quite free to implement its own selection criteria.
The selection and evaluation process, however, must adhere to the letter of the law and the spirit of the J-1 regulation.
The InAGrad project team assists universities and their incubator/accelerator in this regard.

Difference with H-1 B: No need for Employment

Foreign scholars when entering the program do not need to become employees of any entity.
The central tenant of the J-1 Scholar Entrepreneur program is to offer an environment where ideas can be researched and developed without the need to incorporate an enterprise or be an employee of the university.
Also, in comparison with the H-1 B visa, the wife or husband of the foreign scholar can work in the United States.

Duration: Maximum Stay of 5 Years

The maximum period of time a scholar can hold a J-1 status is 5 years.
We recommend the university to provide a J-1 status for two years to start. The researcher/entrepreneur scholar, depending on the program and progress with the development of his/her technology, can then file for additional extensions of two years. We expect that most researcher/entrepreneur scholar will be finished with the program at the end of the extension period. In special circumstances, a scholar may need an additional year to get a particular product/application to market.
After 5 years, a 2 two-year home residency is required, but a waiver may be possible as well. While it is possible to change to another status in the future, all J-1 participants must intend to depart the United States at the end of their stay in the US, i.e. keep the local US team (and expand it) while expanding the global venture in their home country/continent.
As part of the candidate vetting, the InAGrad project team assists in determining whether or not a potential scholar should be subject to the different extensions, and in planning the next steps in his/her global venture.

Fees and Funding of the Exchange Program

Process fees, rents and other payments for use of the University incubator/accelerator space/programs (also leveraging local partner organizations), and appropriate educational programs, on the top of the InAGrad program, are to be provided by the foreign national.
The InAgrad project team assists the university in determining the source of funding provided by the USA and the country of the foreign national (government fundings and banking institutions).