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The Biden Administration is Bringing Back the International Entrepreneur Rule

By Patricia Elizee, Esq.

The International Entrepreneur Program (IEP) is back! Under the Obama Administration, the IEP was originally proposed in 2017, which would allow foreign entrepreneurs temporary “parole” to enter the United States for up to 5 years. This means that no formal visa is required to enter the United States. Instead, if the request is approved, you will be able to pick up your travel documents at the U.S consulate in your home country. You may also apply for the status while you are physically inside of the United States.

The Trump Administration suspended the IEP in efforts to constrict immigration flow in the United States. However, on May 10, 2021, DHS announced that they would be continuing with the International Entrepreneur Parole Program which would be consistent with President Biden’s EXECUTIVE ORDER 14012 “RESTORING FAITH IN OUR LEGAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEMS AND STRENGHTENING INTEGRATION AND INCLUSION EFFORTS FOR NEW AMERICANS.”

Under the IE program, parole may be granted to up to three entrepreneurs per start-up entity, as well as their spouses and children. Entrepreneurs granted parole are eligible to work only for their start-up business. About 3,000 people would be eligible for this program each year. Immigration will renew the program if it is successful.

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 substantial 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 of $250,000 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.

According to the USCIS Director Tracy Renaud “Immigrants in the United States have a long history of entrepreneurship, hard work, and creativity, and their contributions to this nation are incredibly valuable, the International Entrepreneur parole program goes hand-in-hand with our nation’s spirit of welcoming entrepreneurship and USCIS encourages those who are eligible to take advantage of the program.”

How to apply for the IEP

Please keep in mind that the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is new. This is a great option for those who do qualify for another business visa. USCIS is currently hosting teleconferences and webinars to educate the community on the program. It is expected that this program will benefit many immigrants in the tech industry and venture capital because you have to show that you are a start-up company that has already raised a significant amount of funds either through angel investors or grants. Keep in mind that the immigrant must have at least a 10 percent ownership interest in the company and must place a central role in the start-up.

Patricia Elizee is the managing attorney of the Elizee Law Firm. She focuses on immigration and family law cases. You may contact at the firm at ph: 305-371-8846. The Firm is located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131.


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