The United States offers an amazing program for founders of technology startups to move to the U.S. legally and grow their company, which is the closest thing we have ever had to a “startup visa.” Through the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), startup founders can obtain up to a 30-month immigration status called “Parole” to live in the U.S. with their families and scale their startup. It’s not technically a “visa” but the result is the same: Founders at companies that received U.S. investment or grants can work without an H-1B, O-1A, or another visa or green card.
Where did International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) come from? Created by President Obama and finalized in 2017 just days before he left office, the Trump administration tried to eliminate the IER program. However, thanks to the National Venture Capital Association, which mounted a legal challenge to prevent the Trump administration from ending the program, IER survived. Now, IEP is available for startup founders everywhere.
At Alcorn Immigration Law, we care deeply about supporting the lives and mission of startup founders from around the world. We are driven to transcend borders, expand opportunity, and connect the world by practicing compassionate, visionary, and expert immigration law in service to the betterment of humanity. We’re excited to bring you IEP so you can grow your startup in the United States.
Questions about your family? If you receive IEP, your spouse and children will also be eligible to stay in the U.S. for three years alongside you, and your spouse is eligible for a work permit. One 30-month extension may be granted to you and your whole family for a maximum stay of 5 years if you and your startup meet additional requirements.
Do I Qualify for IEP?
Some of the key eligibility requirements for international startup founders to qualify for an initial 30-month IEP status include:
- Your startup is a U.S. company.
- You founded your startup in the last 5 years.
- You hold at least a 10% ownership interest in your startup.
- You’re central to the startup and actively operate it.
- Your startup has received at least $250,000 from qualified U.S. investors or at least $100,000 in government awards or grants.
- If the monetary requirement cannot be fully met, you can show growth and job creation potential through other means.
Key requirements to extend your IEP status for another 30 months include:
- You must hold at least a 5% ownership stake in your startup.
- You continue to play a central and active role in your startup.
- Your startup has achieved one or more of the following during your initial IEP period:
- Has received at least $500,000 in additional qualifying funding.
- Generates at least $500,000 in annual revenue with at least 20% average annual revenue growth.
- Created at least 5 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
After reaching the five-year maximum stay under IEP status, you and your family must leave the U.S. If you wish to apply for a visa or a green card, you must do so from your home country.
Reach Out to Us
Alcorn Immigration Law supports immigration for innovation. Reach out to us if we can help you determine immigration options including Entrepreneur Parole and beyond for you, your company, or your family whether in the U.S. or abroad.