Last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed that it will continue to offer International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) to foreign nationals that create and develop start-up businesses with high growth potential in the United States. IEP is not an immigration status but a grant of a period of authorized stay for foreign entrepreneurs who can prove that their stay will provide a significant public benefit to the United States. IEP allows foreign nationals to work only for their own businesses and their authorized stay can last up to 2.5 years (30 months). IEP may be granted to up to three (3) people per start-up.
If one wants to change to a nonimmigrant status or apply for a green card, one will need to leave the U.S. and process the visa or green card through a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
To qualify for the IEP, foreign nationals must demonstrate that they:
Hold a substantial ownership interest in a start-up entity (10% for the initial parole and 5% for re-parole) created within 5 years that has a substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation;
Have a central and active role in the start-up that means that he/she is well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business; and
Will provide a significant public benefit to the United States by showing one of the following:
The start-up has received a significant investment of capital from qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments (minimum of $250,000 within 18 months of filing for the IEP); or
The start-up has received significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation (or other types given to start-ups) from federal, state, or local government entities that provide such grants (minimum $100,000 within 18 months of filing for the IEP); or
They partially meet either or both of the two previous requirements and provide additional reliable and compelling evidence of the potential for rapid growth and job creation.
Otherwise merits a favorable exercise of discretion.
The IEP can be extended for an additional 2.5 years if there is evidence of a significant growth (minimum $500,000 in investment and/or grants, created 5 full-time jobs, or $500,000 annual revenue and 20% in annual revenue growth) and continued potential of future growth.
Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, must be filed with USCIS with supporting documents and required USCIS filing fee of $1285.
Upon I-941 approval, one must appear at an appointment at a U.S. consulate abroad to obtain a travel documentation with which one may appear at a U.S. port of entry for a final parole determination. (Canadians who are visa-exempt can present an approved I-941 at a U.S. port of entry without visiting a U.S. consulate.)
Note: One can apply for re-parole using Form I-941, and upon approval one’s parole will be extended without the need for applying at the U.S. consulate.
Spouses and children of the foreign entrepreneurs can apply for a parole as derivatives by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, either concurrently with Form I-941 or separately. Once paroled into the United States, a spouse can apply for a work permit by submitting Form I-765, Application for Work Authorization, to USCIS.
President Biden issued a Proclamation suspending the entry of individuals to the U.S. who have been present in India within 14 days of entry to the U.S. The Proclamation took effect on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 12:01am EDT. This Proclamation excludes U.S. citizens and U.S. LPRs. It has been indicated that there will be others exempted from the Proclamation, but as of today clarification of those additional exemptions has not been provided. We are advising all those able to travel back to the U.S. prior to May 4th do so. Additionally, we are advising to suspend any non-essential travel to India. While this is an uncertain and developing situation, our team remains available to assist individuals in any manner available.
We will provide further updates as they become available.
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