Temporary Visas

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Entrepreneur Parole

The International Entrepreneur (IE) Parole Program was created a few years ago but was put on hold. On May 10, 2021, the USCIS announced that it is now available for entrepreneurs involved in creating qualified start-up companies. This program does not actually provide for a “visa,” but legal entry into the US without a visa – called “parole” – and work authorization. The criteria are restrictive. See below for an overview of the requirements.


  • Parole Period

    Parole may be granted for an initial period of up to 2.5 years, or 30 months, with possible re-parole for an additional 2.5 years, or 30 months, to up to three entrepreneurs (plus their spouses and children) per start-up company.

    Entrepreneurs will automatically be given work authorization to work only for their start-up company. Spouses are also eligible for work authorization but must apply for it separately.

  • Requirements
    The entrepreneur must show he/she:
    • Owns at least a 10% of the start-up company;
    • Plays a central and active role in the company’s operations; and
    • Has knowledge, skills, or experience and will substantially assist with the operations, growth and success of the company.
    The start-up company must:
    • Prove it was formed in the last five years.
    • Prove it has not already been the basis of three previous grants of IE Program.
    • Demonstrate it will have rapid growth and job creation.
    • Prove it has received a substantial capital investment, grants, or awards in the 18 months before the parole application.
  • Investment
    The start-up company must be capitalized. It must demonstrate:
    1. The company has received an aggregate of at least $100,000 in U.S. government grants or awards, or an aggregate of $250,000 or more in investment from qualified investors.
    2. The source of the $250,000 funds were legally earned.

    A qualified investor includes:
    • A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; or
    • A corporate entity majority owned and controlled (directly or indirectly) by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
    • Note that qualified investments do not include investments, directly or indirectly, from the entrepreneur (or the parents, spouse, siblings, or children of the entrepreneur) or a corporate entity in which the entrepreneur or the entrepreneur’s parents, spouse, siblings, or children have any direct or indirect ownership interest.

    Qualified investors also have a history of successful start-up investments. In the 5 years before the parole application, each qualified investor must have invested at least $600,000 in other start-up companies. That investment must have resulted in at least two start-up entities earning $500,000 in annual revenue, and averaging 20% annualized revenue growth, or have created 5 full time jobs each (at least 35 hours per week), paid, lasting for a year, and be filled by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, or other immigrants with lawful employment authorization, and cannot be independent contractors.

    If the company only partially meets the above capital investment or government funding criteria, USCIS may consider additional evidence of the company’s significant public benefit to the U.S. and its substantial potential for rapid business growth and job creation.

    The IE program has requirements similar to the E-2 visa and EB-5 green card criteria. Martin Lawler has filed hundreds of E-2 and EB-5 visa applications. Martin Lawler is available to discuss the IE program.