The DHS is giving with one hand and taking with the other. In response to the December 1, 2017 federal court ruling in National Venture Capital v. Duke, the DHS is complying and implementing the International Entrepreneur Rule parole program (IER). At the same time, the DHS is in the final stages of publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking to eliminate the program.

The requirements for IER eligibility are:

  • The entrepreneur must have a substantial ownership interest in the start-up entity
  • The entity must have been created within the past 5 years
  • The entrepreneur must have a central and active role in the entity and be well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business
  • The entrepreneur will provide a significant public benefit to the U.S. by showing:
    • Significant capital investment from qualified investors;
    • Significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development or job creation from a government entity; or
    • Overall additional and compelling evidence of the entity’s substantial growth potential

The application process for the IER is:

  • File Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Rule, with USCIS
  • Once approved, the entrepreneur must visit a U.S. Consulate abroad to obtain travel documentation
  • In conjunction with the Form I-941, the entrepreneur may submit Advance Parole applications (Forms I-131) to allow their spouses and unmarried children to accompany them to the United States
  • Upon entry into the U.S., the spouse of the entrepreneur may apply for an Employment Authorization Document by filing a Form I-765
  • The forms will be filed at the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility

How long it will take the USCIS to process these applications is unknown. And what if any grandfathering provisions there will be is yet to be seen. Regardless, depending upon an individual entrepreneur’s specific circumstances, it may be advisable to take advantage of the current window of opportunity prior to the elimination of the program.