Virginia, US

Dec 14 2017

USCIS to Accept Entrepreneur Parole Applications While It Pursues Rescission of the Program

United States

Executive Summary

  • International entrepreneurs who have established a qualifying business in the United States can submit applications for temporary parole to remain in the United States under an Obama-era regulation.
  • Though U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will accept these applications, the Trump Administration will continue to pursue its plans to rescind the entrepreneur parole program. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin to accept applications for temporary parole under the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), the agency announced today.  

The announcement comes after a recent federal court ruling that ordered the Trump Administration to accept these applications while it takes steps to rescind the Obama-era regulation.  The court found that the Trump Administration failed to comply with procedural requirements when it postponed the effective date of the rule earlier this year.  Last month, the Administration submitted a proposal to rescind the regulation to the Office of Management and Budget; the proposal remains under review.

The IER was finalized in the last days of the  Obama Administration regulation and was set to take effect in July of this year.  Days before it was to be implemented, the Trump Administration delayed the effective date and announced plans to withdraw the rule.

Eligibility and applications

The regulation permits qualified foreign entrepreneurs to seek temporary parole if they have established a qualifying U.S. start-up business and the business has received at least $250,000 from qualified U.S. investors or at least $100,000 in grants or awards from U.S. government entities.  Applicants must hold an ownership interest of at least 10% and must play an active and central role in the operations of the business.

Applicants must submit USCIS Form I-941, a $1,200 filing fee and an $85 biometrics fee.  The rule permits successful applicants to be granted temporary parole for up to five years, but entrepreneur parolees are not eligible for permanent residence unless they qualify under another U.S. immigration program.

Looking ahead

Though USCIS has agreed to accept and process entrepreneur applications, it is not yet clear how they will be adjudicated given the highly discretionary nature of parole adjudications and the Trump Administration’s ultimate goal of rescinding the program.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you are interested in the entrepreneur parole program, please contact your designated Fragomen professional to discuss your options.