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International Entrepreneur Parole: A Pathway for Startup Founders

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What is the Purpose of the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program (IEP) is designed to allow non-citizens a pathway to legally start a business in the United States. Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements can come to the U.S. to start their business and provide a “significant public benefit” to the country.

The IEP program can help foreign entrepreneurs start businesses in any industry. However, individuals who wish to participate in the IEP must present a strong argument to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding their plans and how they will implement their business. To apply for the IEP program, an individual must file a form I-941 and pay the required fees for the I-941 and biometric services, along with supporting documents.

If you need more information about the International Entrepreneur Parole program, contact our Chicago immigration attorney, who can gladly answer your questions.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

Anyone who wishes to apply for the IEP program must demonstrate to the USCIS that they meet the eligibility requirements. Applicants must understand that they may be granted “parole” into the country for up to 30 months if approved. Parole is not the same as having a visa. Instead, individuals granted parole may be admitted into the U.S. for a specific period per USCIS eligibility requirements.

These eligibility requirements include:

  • Applying for a business started in the U.S. within 5 years of submitting their application.
  • At least 10% ownership interest in a startup business;
  • Have an active role in the startup business.

Extension of Benefits

Individuals should understand that they are not automatically extended parole after the initial 30-month time period is over. Applicants must demonstrate their startup has contributed a significant public benefit, which includes:

  • The business is still operating;
  • The entrepreneur continues to actively participate and maintain at least a 5% ownership in the business;
  • The business has created at least 5 qualifying jobs;
  • Generated at least $500,000 in revenue and averaged a 20% growth;
  • Received at least $500,000 in qualifying investments.

What Are the Limitations of the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

If approved, the entrepreneur is granted parole into the country; however, this should not be confused with being granted a visa. There are several limitations to the IEP program, which include:

  • The IEP program is not a path to permanent residency. To qualify for permanent residency, individuals must try to qualify by applying for a visa.
  • Individuals paroled into the country may only work for the startup for which they applied for the IEP. As a result, individuals may not try to change or find new jobs if the startup fails to be successful.

However, despite the stringent rules in place with the IEP program, several benefits exist. For example, a spouse and minor children and the applicant may also be eligible for parole. In some instances, a spouse may qualify for employment authorization by submitting a separate application.

If you are still trying to understand the rules regarding international entrepreneur parole, you must speak with a qualified business immigration lawyer who can answer your questions.

A Highly Trained Business Immigration Lawyer Helping Clients Achieve Success

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program can help individuals who wish to create startup businesses that will be of significant benefit to the U.S. However, the USCIS has strict rules regarding who can apply and the growth the business must provide to the U.S. economy.

Understanding how to apply for the IEP program and dealing with the USCIS can be complicated and overwhelming for individuals who lack legal training. That being the case, it is always best to seek legal counsel from a qualified attorney who can review your situation and determine what options may be available.

Our law firm has a proven record of obtaining favorable client results and will gladly sit down and discuss your immigration needs.

If you are interested in learning more about the IEP program, contact SwagatUSA, LLC, of Chicago, at (312) 854-7065 to schedule a consultation.

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