The International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) was published during the Obama Administration to provide international entrepreneurs a new avenue to apply for “parole” – a discretionary permission to enter and remain in the United States temporarily, to establish and grow start-up businesses.
The IER was initially scheduled to take effect in July 2017. However, under the Trump Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule delaying the IER’s effective date until March 2018. This delay rule was meant to give USCIS time to review the IER and, if necessary, to issue a rule proposing to remove the IER program.
On December 1, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the government’s final rule to delay the effective date of the IER (National Venture Capital Association v. Duke). As a result, USCIS announced that it is starting to accept applications in a news release dated December 14, 2017. While DHS implements the IER, it will also proceed with issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to remove the IER. DHS is in the final stages of drafting the NPRM.
Under the IER, DHS may use its parole authority to grant a period of authorized stay, on a case-by-case basis, to foreign entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their stay in the United States will provide a significant public benefit through their business venture and that they merit a favorable exercise of discretion. IER parole may be granted for up to three entrepreneurs per start-up entity.
Entrepreneurs granted parole will be eligible to work only for their start-up business for a maximum of five years. 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.
Entrepreneurs applying for parole under the new rule must meet the following conditions:
- The applicant must possess at least a 10% 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.
- The applicant must have a central and active role in the start-up entity such that he or she is well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business (i.e. not merely be an investor).
- The start-up must have 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.
How to Apply
The applicant must file Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, with the required fees (including biometric services fees), and supporting documentary evidence in accordance with the Form I-941 instructions.
Filing and obtaining approval of a Form I-941 under the IER will not, by itself, constitute a grant of parole. If your Form I-941 is approved, you must visit a U.S. consulate abroad to obtain travel documentation before appearing at a U.S. port of entry for a final parole determination (except for Canadian nationals).
The spouse and children (unmarried, minor child under 21 years of age) of an entrepreneur submitting Form I-941 may file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with the required application fee and biometrics services fee, to request parole to accompany or join the entrepreneur. If the Form I-131 is approved, and the spouse of the entrepreneur is paroled into the United States, the spouse may then apply for employment authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Children of the entrepreneur will not be eligible to apply for employment authorization under this rule.
If granted, parole would provide a temporary initial stay of up to 30 months, which may be extended by up to an additional 30 months, to facilitate the foreign entrepreneur’s ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up entity in the United States.
If you have any questions about the international entrepreneur parole program, please contact Law Offices of Deacon Zhang for a case assessment, at one of our offices below.
Arcadia Office: 150 N. Santa Anita Ave., Suite 300, Arcadia, CA 91006 Tel: 626-821-1882
Irvine Office: 8 Corporate Park, Suite 230, Irvine, CA 92606 Tel: 949-250-1688
City of Industry Office: Puente Hills Business Center, 17700 Castleton Street, Suite 402, City of Industry, CA 91748 Tel: 626-346-0909
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Disclaimer: The information provided above is of a general nature and does not constitute legal advice. You should always talk to a licensed attorney before making any decision about your case.
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