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May 18, 2021

International Entrepreneur Parole Program and Eligibility Requirements

President Biden’s Executive Order 14012: “Restoring Faith in Our legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans” signals an end to restrictionist immigration policy. The EO requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary to “identify any agency actions that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system.”

Consistent with Biden’s executive order, USCIS announced that the International Entrepreneur (IE) Parole program is a viable way for foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses with high growth potential in the United States. The purpose of the IE final rule is to grant a period of authorized stay, on a case-by-case basis, to foreign entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their start-up would provide a significant public benefit through rapid business growth and who merit a favorable exercise of discretion.

The initial IE final rule was first introduced in Jan. 2017 and set to take effect on July 17, 2017. Before the IE final rule took effect, DHS published a final rule that delayed implementation until March 14, 2018. The delay allowed DHS to draft and seek public comment on a proposal to rescind the IE final rule. 

On May 29, 2018, DHS published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM or proposed rule) titled “Removal of International Entrepreneur Parole Program” that would have removed the rule from DHS regulations. On May 11, 2021, DHS stated, “In light of the recent Executive Orders, DHS has reviewed the May 2018 NPRM and public comments that were overwhelmingly in opposition to the NPRM and has decided to withdraw that NPRM.”

The IE program is effective, and USCIS is accepting and adjudicating applications consistent with existing DHS regulations. Entrepreneurs granted parole are eligible to work only for their start-up business. The spouses and children of the foreign entrepreneur may also be eligible for parole. While spouses may apply for work authorization once present in the United States as parolees, the children are not eligible to work based on this parole.

Eligibility for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program

Entrepreneurs applying for parole under this rule must demonstrate that they:

  • Possess a substantial ownership interest in a start-up entity created within the past five years in the United States that has significant potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  • Have a central and active role in the start-up entity such that they are well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business.
  • Will provide a significant public benefit to the United States based on their role as an entrepreneur of the start-up entity by showing that:
    • The start-up entity has received a significant investment of capital from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
    • The start-up entity has received significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation (or other types of grants or awards typically given to start-up entities) from federal, state, or local government entities that regularly provide such awards or grants to start-up entities; or
    • They partially meet either or both of the previous two requirements and provide additional reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  • Otherwise merit a favorable exercise of discretion.

A spouse or child of an entrepreneur applying for parole under this rule must demonstrate that he or she:

  • Is independently eligible for parole based on significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reasons; and
  • Merits a favorable exercise of discretion

The spouse of a foreign entrepreneur granted parole may also be eligible for parole and apply for work authorization once in the United States. The spouse is only authorized to work if DHS has issued them a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document. Children of entrepreneurs granted parole are not eligible for employment-based on this parole.

Contact OnlineVisas for more information and to see if you qualify for the International Entrepreneur Parole program.

About the author 

Jon Velie

About the author: Jon Velie has practiced Immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas.com., the intelligent Immigration platform. Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H1B Visa: Application & Approval, is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon can be contacted at jon@onlinevisas.com or 405-310-4333 office or 405-821-5959 mobile.

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