Immigration Alert: International Entrepreneur Parole

Insights Immigration Alert: International Entrepreneur Parole Sonia Oliveri · July 13, 2021

The Biden Administration, in its effort to grow the American economy through increased capital spending, innovation, and job creation has revived the International Entrepreneur (IE) Parole program, which allows qualifying foreign nationals permission to enter and remain in the U.S. for up to five (5) years in order to build and scale their businesses.

Eligibility of the IE Program requires proof that the Entrepreneur:

  1. Established a U.S. start-up business within five (5) years before applying.
  2. Have at least a 10% ownership interest in the start-up business.
  3. Plays a central role in the operations of the start-up business (mere investors are not eligible).

Eligibility for the IE program requires proof that the entrepreneur’s start-up business has received a capital investment of at least $250,000 from qualified U.S. investors OR at least $100,000 in grants or awards from qualifying U.S. federal, state, or local government entities. Foreign nationals who only partially satisfy the funding criteria must provide additional compelling evidence of the start-up’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

If the application is successful, DHS will grant the applicant parole for an initial period of up to 30 months, with an option for a 30-month extension if the business continues to grow. While the first application is processed internally in the U.S., the applicant will have to obtain the parole documentation at the U.S. Consulate abroad. Although most consular posts are still closed due to the effect of the pandemic, our office was successful in obtaining regular and emergency consular interview appointments in third countries that are currently accepting “Third-Country-Nationals” applications.

The opportunity for a 30-month extension requires proof that:

  1. The start-up business continues to operate.
  2. The entrepreneur retains at least a 5% ownership interest.
  3. The entrepreneur continues to play a central role in the business.
  4. The start-up business has created at least five (5) qualifying jobs.
  5. The start-up business received at least $500,000 in qualifying investments, government grants, or awards, or a combination thereof; or generated at least $500,000 in U.S. revenue and averaged 20 % annual growth during the initial parole period.

Things to Consider:

  • IE parole may be granted for up to 3 entrepreneurs per start-up entity.
  • Under the IE Program, entrepreneurs granted parole would be eligible to ONLY work for their start-up business.
  • The spouses and children of the foreign entrepreneur may also be eligible for parole.
  • The spouse of the foreign entrepreneur may also be eligible to apply for employment authorization.
  • The IE program does not provide a direct path to permanent residence. Instead, it does provide qualifying entrepreneurs parole – a discretionary and temporary permission to enter and remain in the United States.

The revitalization of the IE program is welcome news for foreign entrepreneurs with start-up businesses in the United States who do not qualify for other U.S. immigration programs. However, the program has some limitations. Entrepreneur parolees do not have a direct path to permanent residence; if they wish to become U.S. permanent residents, they must qualify under an established U.S. immigrant visa program. In addition, the grant of parole is highly discretionary; DHS may terminate or revoke parole at any time, which subjects parolees to some uncertainty.

For questions or more information about the IE program, please contact Sonia Oliveri, Esq.at Sonia.Oliveri@rimonlaw.com or (305) 390-4248, Partner at Rimon LawThis alert is for informational purposes only. Please email to request this alert in another language. 

Sonia Oliveri’s practice focuses on business immigration, EB-5, and on commercial clients’  immigration and international business needs.  A native of Italy, Ms. Oliveri is fluent in six languages: English, Farsi, Italian, French, Portugese and Spanish.  Ms. Oliveri is a highly accomplished immigration attorney. She assists corporate clients, foreign corporations and investors with complex corporate transactions and immigration matters, with an emphasis on the EB-5 program, E-1/E-2 treaty trader and investor programs, H-1B visa matters, and L-1 intracompany transferee visa applications. Read more here.