New Rule for Parole for Startup Entrepreneurs in the US

August 31st, 2016

USCIS has proposed a new rule to allow entrepreneurs of start-up entities to obtain parole to start or grow their businesses in the US. Parole is temporary permission to remain in the US.   The new rule would grant USCIS authority to use its existing discretionary parole authority to include entrepreneurs of startup businesses whose stay in the US would significantly benefit the US by the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation.

In particular, USCIS, on a case-by-case basis, may parole eligible entrepreneurs of start-up entities:

  • Who have a significant ownership interest in the start-up entity (at least 15%) and play an active and primary role in it;
  • Whose startup was formed in the US within the past three years; and
  • Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, which can be shown by:
    • Receiving significant investment of capital (of at least $345,000) from certain qualified US investors with track records of success;
    • Receiving significant awards or grants (of at least $100,000) from certain  federal, state or local government bodies; or
    • Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria along with other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

The entrepreneur may be granted an initial stay of parole of two years to run the startup entity and a subsequent  stay of an additional three years only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.

The primary advantage of this new parole status for startup entrepreneurs, as compared to the E-2 nonimmigrant investor visa, is that there is no requirement that there be a treaty between the entrepreneur’s country of citizenship and the US.  Currently, the US does not have such treaties with many countries, including India, China, Russia, Brazil, Portugal, Hungary, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.  However, citizens of these countries have been able to apply for an EB-5 investor immigrant visa if they had can invest $1 million or $500,000 (for certain areas of high unemployment regions of the US).