Following an executive order by President Biden, foreign entrepreneurs are now able to gain authorized stay in the U.S. through International Entreprenur Parole, or IEP. This rule applies to those who begin a business and create jobs.
Though commonly known as the foreign entrepreneur visa or the start-up visa, IEP should most accurately be understood not as a visa, but as a grant of parole to allow entrepreneurs to work, and operate a start-up, in the U.S.
Requirements to receive IEP are as follows. First, Entrepreneurs must have started a business venture in the U.S. within five years of applying. Second, the applicant must possess at least 10% ownership of the start-up entity. Third, the applicant must demonstrate a central and active role in the business. Fourth, the applicant must have received at least $250,000 in investment from qualified investors, or $100,000 through the government or grants. If this is not demonstrable, the applicant must provide additional reliable and compelling evidence of the business’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
Applicants who meet the above requirements receive a 30-month parole initially, with the possibility of extending the period by another 30 months. To meet requirements for extension, the applicant must show that 1) the business continues to operate, 2) they own at least 5% of the business and play a central role in its operation, 3) created at least five jobs, received at least $500,000 in qualified investments or, during the initial parole period, generated at least $500,000 in revenue and averaged 20% annual growth.
During the five years under IEP, applicants are eligible to adjust their immigration status. For example, applicants may try for an O-1 visa or apply for a green card through their business with an EB-2 NIW. But because IEP is not a visa, they must obtain visas and green cards through the U.S. embassy.
Using the IEP could be a workaround for those who cannot apply for a green card with an E-2 visa, or those who do not meet the requirements for an EB-5 visa, which is granted to entrepreneurs who receive at least $900,000 in investments and generate at least 10 jobs.
Through IEP, we expect a diverse group of foreign entrepreneurs with innovative business models to bring their ideas to the U.S. without worrying about their immigration status.
Law Offices of Gary J. Kim
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