Vedder Price

Vedder Thinking | Articles Business Immigration Insight

Answering your topical business immigration questions


Reader View

Volume 1 | Issue 2

 Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) relaunched the International Entrepreneur Rule (“IER”), allowing DHS to discretionarily grant temporary entry to foreign nationals who will provide a “significant benefit” to the United States based on their role as an entrepreneur of a recently formed start-up business.

What are the threshold requirements to qualify for the benefit?

The entrepreneur must (i) own at least 10% of, and maintain at least a 5% ownership interest in, a start-up that has done some business and was created in the five years before application or receiving the qualifying investment/funding described below; and (ii) play an active role that is central to the operations of the business, applying the knowledge, skill or experience to support the business’s growth.

How does an entrepreneur demonstrate that they will provide a “significant benefit”?

The entrepreneur must show (i) significant capital investment of at least $250,000 in the past 18 months from one or more U.S. investors with an established record of successful investments; OR (ii) receipt of domestic government funding of at least $100,000 in economic development, R&D or job creation grants; OR (iii) partial capital investment or government funding plus additional compelling evidence of substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

How long can a foreign national remain in the United States under the IER?

A grant of IER parole allows for an initial 30-month period of stay. The entrepreneur may be granted an additional 30 months of status by showing (i) additional funding of at least $500,000; (ii) generation of at least $500,000 annual revenue; (iii) creation of at least five qualifying jobs; OR (iv) partial achievement of one of the first three criteria plus other additional compelling evidence.

The grant of IER is completely discretionary by DHS and does not provide a pathway to a green card. A single start-up business may support only three grants of entrepreneurial parole. The parolee under the IER must maintain a household income of at least 400% above the poverty level (currently $51,520 for one person).