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Requirements for the International Entrepreneur Rule

In this guide, you will learn the requirements to apply for the Entrepreneur Rule, how to renew your status, and a checklist for key requirements

The International Entrepreneur Rule is a U.S. immigration program that allows foreign entrepreneurs to come to the United States to develop and grow their startup businesses. The rule aims to attract individuals who can make a significant contribution to the U.S. economy by fostering innovation, job creation, and rapid business growth.

To qualify, entrepreneurs need to meet specific criteria related to their startup, ownership stake, and active role in the company. In this guide, you will learn the requirements to apply for the Entrepreneur Rule, how to renew your status, and a checklist for key requirements.

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Requirements for Entrepreneur Parole: The Initial 30-Month Approval

To be approved for Form I-941 (“Application for Entrepreneur Rule”), founders must demonstrate:

  1. Qualified Entrepreneurship:
    • Possession of a substantial ownership interest in the startup entity.
      • Initial Parole: At least 10% ownership during the initial parole adjudication, decreasing but staying above 5% thereafter.
    • A central and active role in the startup’s operations, leveraging knowledge, skills, or experience to facilitate growth.
  2. Qualified Startup:
    • Formation of a U.S. business entity within the five years preceding the initial I-941 parole request.
    • Lawful business operations, excluding entities primarily engaged in securities trading.
    • Substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  3. Public Benefit:
    • Convincing evidence of significant public benefit, evidenced by reports from qualified investors or government agencies.
    • Alternate route: Qualified investments of $250,000 or qualified awards/grants of $100,000 over the last 18 months before filing the I-941 application.

International Entrepreneur Parole Application Process and Timing

If you qualify, you will submit Form I-941 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once approved, founders need to obtain a “boarding foil’ from a U.S. consulate, which allows an airline to transport you to the United States.

Benefits for Family Members: Spouses and unmarried children under 18 can also be paroled into the U.S. Spouses can apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) through Form I-765 filing upon entry, while the founder is automatically permitted to work.

Founder Re-Parole Requirements: The Second 30-Month Approval

Founders can apply for a second 2.5-year period under the Entrepreneur Parole program by demonstrating:

  1. Qualified Entrepreneurship (Re-Parole):
    • Possession of at least a 5% equity stake at the time of re-parole adjudication.
    • Continuation of a central and active role in the startup’s operations.
  2. Qualified Startup (Re-Parole):
    • Ongoing business operations, showcasing substantial potential for growth and job creation.
  3. Continued Public Benefit (Re-Parole):
    • Options include an additional qualified investment of $500,000, creation of at least five qualified jobs, or generation of at least $500,000 in annual revenue in the U.S.
    • An alternative option exists if thresholds cannot be fully met, requiring evidence of partial satisfaction along with compelling proof of the startup’s ability to meet growth and job creation goals.

Requirements Checklist for Entrepreneur Rule