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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) preserves International Entrepreneur Parole Program: Key details and information

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program will remain a part of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations.

The agency announced earlier this week its intention to withdraw a 2018 notice that had proposed eliminating the program.

“Immigrants in the United States have a long history of entrepreneurship, hard work, and creativity, and their contributions to this nation are incredibly valuable,” acting United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) director Tracy Renaud said in a statement.

“The International Entrepreneur Parole Program goes hand-in-hand with our nation’s spirit of welcoming entrepreneurship and USCIS encourages those who are eligible to take advantage of the program.”

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program was first implemented in the final days of the Obama administration. Former President Donald Trump attempted to end the initiative by introducing a proposed rule in 2018 to remove the program from DHS policies. However, that rule was never finalized. The DHS action in early May withdraws the rule, effectively sustaining the Obama era program.

In practical terms, the announcement will allow the International Entrepreneur Parole Program to “remain a viable program for foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up entities” in the United States.

USCIS said in a statement it will “plan information sessions and other outreach activities to ensure foreign entrepreneurs are aware of this opportunity and how to pursue it.”

What is the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program enables DHS to grant parole to foreign entrepreneurs “who demonstrate that their stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit.”

To be eligible for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program, foreign nationals must:

  • Possess a “substantial ownership” stake in a start-up business created in the United States within the past five years
  • Have a central and active role in the start-up entity
  • Provide a “significant public benefit” to the U.S. because of their role as an entrepreneur
  • Otherwise “merit a favorable exercise of discretion”

Parole is granted by DHS on a case-by-case basis. Foreign nationals who receive parole through the International Entrepreneur Parole Program can only work for their start-up company. No more than three foreign nationals per start-up company can take part in the program.

Foreign nationals interested in applying for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program should consult with experienced immigration counsel.

Executive order on ‘restoring faith’ in legal immigration system

The announcement about the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is part of the “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans” Executive Order, which was signed by President Joe Biden in early February.

The order instructed the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive review of recent regulations and policies to ensure they align with the government’s goal of promoting “integration, inclusion and citizenship” during the Biden administration.

“President Biden believes that immigrants are essential to who we are as a nation and critical to our aspirations for the future,” the White House wrote in a press release about the order. “The prior administration enacted hundreds of policies that run counter to our history and undermine America’s character as a land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all who come here seeking protection and opportunity.”

That executive order also led to a USCIS reversion to earlier policy allowing officers to defer to previous determinations of eligibility while adjudicating extension requests; the reversal of a Trump era initiative that substantially changed the Naturalization Civics Test; and the rejection of the controversial “public charge” rule.

Additionally, Biden recently repealed a Trump proclamation that temporarily barred certain individuals from entering the U.S. as Immigrants. He also allowed an order that had suspended entry into the United States of certain employment-based nonimmigrant visa holders to expire. Both were initially issued by the prior administration in 2020.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm at 704-442-8000 or via email with any questions.

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