applying under IER

Ten things you need to know about applying under IER

International Entrepreneur Parole Rule

Ten things you need to know about applying for Parole into the U.S. under the new International Entrepreneur Parole Rule (IER)

1. Who should consider filing for Parole under the IER:

This new Parole, a version of a start-up visa, is excellent news for would-be entrepreneurs who are unable to qualify for a non-immigrant visa under the E-1/E-2 rules (treaty trader or treaty investor) such as individuals from India or Hungary. It is also going to help individuals who cannot qualify for an H-1B visa, or for individuals wanting a green card who are unable to plop down $1 Million or $500,000 under the EB-5 rules or do not yet have a track record of successful entrepreneurship to qualify under the National Interest Waiver. Parole under the IER would also be ideal for graduating students already in the U.S. who intend to launch a startup, but have a limited student visa. As of December 14, 2017, USCIS announced that it will begin accepting Applications for Parole under the IER.

2. Why the Delay in implementing the rule?

The rule had been announced in January, 2017 to go into effect in July, 2017, but the Department of Homeland Security under the present administration delayed the start of the program until March, 2018. Following a suit against USCIS in Federal District Court challenging the delay, the Court overruled the government’s delay and ordered USCIS to begin accepting applications ASAP. Meanwhile, DHS will still continue the legal fight to get rid of IER.

Moral of the story: File soon!

3. What does this Parole actually mean?

The Parole is a period of authorized stay, issued on a case-by-case basis, to foreign entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit through their business venture and that they merit a favorable exercise of discretion. Under this final rule, entrepreneurs granted parole will be eligible to work only for their start-up business. The spouses and children of the foreign entrepreneur may also be eligible for parole. While spouses may apply for work authorization once present in the United States as parolees, the children are not eligible to work.

4. Initial Requirements for Parole

The new regulations provide that an individual may be considered for parole if:

  • A U.S. business entity (a) was created within 5 years immediately preceding the filing date of the alien’s parole request, (b) has lawfully done business since its formation, and (c) has potential for rapid growth and job creation; and
  • The investor (a) possesses at least 10% of the business entity at the time of the parole request, and (b) has a central and active role in the operations of that entity, such that the alien is well-positioned, due to his or her knowledge, skills, or experience, to substantially assist the entity with the growth and success of its business; and
  • The business entity has either received, within 18 months immediately preceding the filing date of the entrepreneur’s parole request, (a) a “qualified investment” amount of at least $250,000 from a “qualified investor,” or (b) at least $100,000 through one or more qualified government awards or grants.

No more than 3 entrepreneurs may be granted parole based on the same business entity. USCIS will consider and weigh all evidence to determine whether an individual’s presence in the U.S. will provide a significant public benefit and whether a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted. If granted, the entrepreneur would receive employment authorization that would be limited to the business entity.

5. Filing and Length of Initial Parole and Re-Parole

An entrepreneur can apply for parole using the Form I-941 Application for Entrepreneur Parole. DHS may grant an initial period of parole for a period of up to 2.5 years from the date the individual is paroled into the U.S. DHS may re-parole an entrepreneur for one additional period of up to 2.5 years based on the same business entity, if the re-parole request was filed prior to expiration of initial period of parole. Note that a parolee must maintain a household income greater than 400% of the federal poverty line for his or her household size as a condition of parole.

6. Filing Form I-941

You must file Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, with the required fees (including biometric services fees), and supporting documentary evidence. The filing fee for Form I-941 is $1,200 and the biometric services fee is $85. Filing and obtaining approval of a Form I-941 application under this rule will not, by itself, constitute a grant of parole. If your Form I-941 application is approved, you must visit a U.S. consulate abroad to obtain travel documentation (e.g., a boarding foil) before appearing at a U.S. port of entry for a final parole determination.

7. Required Biometrics

If you are filing from inside the U.S. you will be instructed to obtain biometrics at the nearest Application Support Center to your home. If you are filing from outside the U.S. you will be able to obtain biometrics at the closest U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

8. Spouses and Children File Form I-131.

Spouses and children of the entrepreneur seeking parole as derivatives must individually file a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with evidence of the qualifying familial relationship with the entrepreneur and evidence meriting a grant of parole in the exercise of discretion. The spouse and children will be granted parole for same period granted to entrepreneur. The form I-131 can be filed concurrently with the Form I-941. A spouse may also file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to be able to lawfully work in the U.S.

9. Maintenance and Requirements for Re-Parole.

An individual may be considered for re-parole if he/she continues to demonstrate ownership of the business (it may be reduced to 5%), and if he/she provides evidence that the business entity has either:

  • Received, during the initial parole period, at least $500,000 in qualifying investments, qualified government grants or awards, or a combination of such funding, or
  • Created, during the initial parole period, at least 5 qualified jobs with the start-up entity, or
  • Reached, during the initial parole period, at least $500,000 in annual revenue in the United States and averaged 20 percent in annual revenue growth.

10. Miscellaneous Information.

There is no appeal from a denial of parole, and no motion to reopen or reconsider a denial of parole will be considered by USCIS. The entrepreneur parolee must immediately notify USCIS in writing if he or she will no longer be employed by the start-up entity or ceases to possess a qualifying ownership stake in the business entity. USCIS may terminate parole at any time, either automatically without notice, or with written notice. The maximum period of parole based on the same business entity is five years. The investment and revenue amounts are to be automatically adjusted every 3 years by the Consumer Price Index.

So what can you, as a Parolee, do to change to green card status or switch to another visa status after your five years in Parole status has expired? Tune in to our blogs over the next weeks as we explore possible options.

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