Biden Administration Revives International Entrepreneur Immigration Program
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it is restoring the Obama-era International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), allowing certain foreign national entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch qualifying start-up businesses in the U.S. The IER was published in January 2017 with an intended effective date of July 2017, but the Trump Administration published a rule delaying its implementation. Because the Trump Administration never issued a final rule removing the IER, the Biden Administration was able to withdraw the proposed removal rule and continue the program consistent with its initiative to remove barriers to lawful immigration.
How it Works and Who Qualifies
The IER permits DHS to use its discretionary parole authority to grant a limited period of authorized stay to foreign nationals pursuing qualifying business opportunities in the U.S. if they can show that their stay in the U.S. will provide a significant public benefit through their business venture.
Individuals applying for International Entrepreneur parole must demonstrate that they:
- Possess substantial ownership interest in a start-up entity created within the last five years that has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
- Have a central and active role in the start-up entity.
Will provide a significant public benefit to the U.S. based on their role as an entrepreneur by showing:
- the start-up entity has received a significant investment of capital from qualified U.S. investors;
- the start-up entity has received significant award or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation from federal, state or legal government entities; OR
- they partially meet either or both of the above two requirements and provide additional compelling evidence of the entity’s potential for growth and job creation
- Otherwise merit a favorable exercise of discretion.
Qualifying entrepreneurs may be granted parole for an initial period of 30 months and may only work for their start-up businesses. An additional parole period of 30 months may be granted if certain business metrics are met. One entity may support up to three (3) International Entrepreneur parolees. Spouses and children of entrepreneur parolees are also eligible for parole and spouses may apply for work authorization once admitted to the U.S.
Revival of the International Entrepreneur Parole program helps to fill a gap in U.S. immigration law with respect to attracting and welcoming foreign entrepreneurs. However, it is important to understand how status as a parolee differs from lawful nonimmigrant status and the implications for long-term immigration planning. For additional information about International Entrepreneur Parole and other visa potential visa options and considerations related to starting a business in the U.S., please contact your designated Gibney representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org.