Are you a foreign national interested in starting or growing a business in the U.S.? If so, we have good news for you, as you may now qualify for a temporary permission to stay and work in the United States under the recently revived International Entrepreneur Rule (IER). On May 10, 2021 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it is withdrawing a 2018 proposed rule to eliminate the IER in response to the President Biden’s Executive Order, (EO 14012, “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans”.

Under the IER, the DHS may use its parole authority to grant a period of authorized stay up to 30 months, on a case-by-case basis, to foreign entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit through their business venture and who merit a favorable exercise of discretion. This form of parole does not require that the entrepreneurs invest their own money, or that they possess certain nationality (unlike the E-2 investor visa). Entrepreneurs granted parole will be eligible to work only for their start-up business, and may be accompanied by their family members. Importantly, the spouses of the foreign entrepreneur may also apply for a temporary work permit once in the U.S.

To qualify for the parole, the entrepreneurs must show that they :

  1. Possess a substantial ownership interest in a start-up entity created within the past five years in the U.S. that has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 can provide additional reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

The parole is temporary and discretionary and may be renewed for an additional 30 months, or revoked by DHS, in their discretion. To apply, you must file Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, with the required fees , and supporting documentation with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

The international entrepreneur parole may be the best (or in some cases, the only available) option for foreign entrepreneurs seeking entry to the United States to work for a business venture.