The International Entrepreneur Parole Program is back! After years of failed attempts to pass a “Startup Visa” bill in Congress, the Obama administration got creative. The executive branch has always had the authority to admit people without visas into the US if their entry would be a public benefit to the US. The Obama administration drafted guidance making it clear that founders who met certain criteria could be “paroled” into the US based on the public benefit that their startups represented.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration announced plans to cancel the program before it even started. The rule was in legal limbo until the Biden administration announced plans to revive it in May of 2021. As of today, applications are officially being accepted!
Here are the conditions you must meet to qualify:
- You must 1) own at least 10% of a startup that has 2) been created within the last 5 years. You must also 3) play a central and active role in the startup’s operations.
- The company must meet one of the following conditions:
- Received $250,000 from one or more qualified investors* within the last 18 months,
- Received a $100,000 grant from a US state, federal, or local government entity, or
- Received a smaller investment or government grant AND can provide other compelling evidence of potential for rapid growth and job creation.
If approved, the entrepreneur will be allowed to live in the US and work on the startup for 2.5 years. This can be renewed for an additional 2.5 years if the startup sees initial success.
The entrepreneur’s spouse and children can also apply for parole, and the entrepreneur’s spouse may apply for an unrestricted work permit allowing him or her to work anywhere in the US.
After this long wait, we are thrilled to begin submitting IEPP applications! If you would like to discuss your qualifications, please set up a time to chat here.
*A “qualified investor” is US citizen or permanent resident who is not related to the entrepreneur and has invested at least $600,000 in numerous startups within the past 5 years. At least 2 of the startups must have created 5 US jobs or generated at least $500,000 in annual revenue with an average annualized revenue growth of at least 20%. One of the biggest points we are awaiting USCIS clarification on is what level of detail they will expect in the evidence proving the investor is “qualified.”