DHS Will Restart the International Entrepreneur Parole Program to Provide Opportunities for Foreign Entrepreneurs

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is withdrawing a 2018 notice to remove the International Entrepreneur (IE) parole program from DHS regulations. The IE parole program provides a viable means for foreign entrepreneurs to establish and develop their start-up entities in the US. Under the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), DHS can grant a period of authorized stay, on a case-by-case basis, to foreign entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their stay in the US would provide a significant public benefit through their business venture.

This decision to retain the program is consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order 14012: “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.” The executive order requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to “identify any agency actions that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system.”

What this Means Foreign Entrepreneurs

  • 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.
  • Spouses may apply for employment authorization in the US, but their children are not eligible for such authorization based on this parole.

Who is Eligible for the Program?

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

  • Possess a significant ownership interest in a start-up entity created in the US within the past five years that has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  • Have a central and active role in the entity and are well-positioned to assist with the growth and success of the business.
  • Will provide a significant public benefit to the US based on their role as an entrepreneur of the start-up entity by showing that that start-up entity has received:
    • A significant capital investment from qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
    • 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 prior two requirements and with reliable evidence of the potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  • Otherwise merit a favorable exercise of discretion

Additional information on eligibility and application requirements is available on the International Entrepreneur Parole page.