Parole for foreign startups

A long-awaited immigration reform for foreign startups was finally enacted. The regulation allows foreign startup entrepreneurs to get 30 months of parole in the United States for business development if he/she has raised qualified investment. The threshold is $250k and one startup company can support up to 3 founders. To be considered a startup founder a person must own at least 10% of the company’s interest. Later a qualified entrepreneur can get an additional 30 months by raising a further $500k, or having at least $500k ARR with 20% annual growth, or employing 5 US persons full-time. An entrepreneur needs to maintain a 5% stake in the company and continue to serve in a central role in operations in order to qualify for the additional 30 months.


The grant of parole is discretional to USCIS. It can be issued to a limited number of foreign entrepreneurs on a case-by-case basis. Contact us today to expeditious processing of the application!




The main objective in developing and implementing this new rule is to promote and increase in entrepreneurship, innovation and jobs creation in the U.S




This rule will be effective from the 17th day of July 2017.




The earlier rule states that the Homeland Security had the discretionary authority to parole individuals into the United States temporarily, on case-to-case basis ONLY for the cases of the following nature:


1.      Issued in cases for humanitarian reasons

2.      Issues in cases of significant public benefit in the U.S




The new rule allows the Homeland Security to have discretionary authority to parole individuals or entities into the United States, on case-to-case basis on the criteria of significant public benefit to the U.S. To qualify entrepreneurs and start-up entities must demonstrate the following:


1.      That the entity has substantial and potential rapid business growth

2.      That the entity has the ability to create jobs that benefit the public in the U.S




The main requirement is to show that the applicant’s parole would be of a significant public benefit because he or she is the entrepreneur of a new start-up entity in the United States that has significant potential for rapid growth and the ability to create jobs in the U.S.


Applicants must demonstrate the following:


1.      Receipt of significant capital investment from U.S investors with an established records of successful investments.

2.      Receipt of significant awards or grants from Federal, State and Local governments.

3.      If applicants satisfy only the partial threshold for capital investment or government awards or grants they can provide alternative evidence that their business activities in the U.S. will bring public benefits.

4.      Applicants must also demonstrate substantial ownership interest in the entity. Presently it was set at 10%.  

5.      Applicants must have an active and central role in the operations of the entity.

6.      Applicants must demonstrate that entity has substantial ability to further their research, developments, promote business and work in the U.S.




1.      No more than three entrepreneurs may be granted parole based on the same start-up entity.

2.      An alien shall not receive more than one initial grant of entrepreneur parole or more than one additional grant of entrepreneur re-parole based on the same start-up entity, for a maximum period of parole of five years.




1. ENTREPRENEUR - a person who 
(1) possesses a substantial ownership interest in the start-up entity, and (2) has a central and active role in the operations of that entity, such that the alien is well- positioned, due to his or her knowledge, skills, or experience to substantially assist the entity with the growth and success of its business


2. START-UP ENTITY - an entity that must have been formed within the 5 years immediately preceding the filing of the initial parole application.


3. OWNERSHIP CRITERIA - an individual entrepreneur must own no less than 10 percent interest in the start-up entity at the time of filing the initial application for parole and at least 5 percent ownership interest in the start-up entity at the time of filing subsequent applications to extend the parole. The decrease in ownership interest was allowed to let entrepreneurs raise capital in the United States by selling the interest in the company while still staying at the core of its operations.


4. JOB CREATION REQUIREMENT - an entrepreneur may qualify for re-parole if the start-up entity created at least 5 qualified jobs during the initial parole period.


5. ACTIVE AND CENTRAL ROLE/ WELL POSITIONED - will be determined based on the totality of the evidence provided. Such evidence may include:


1. recommendation letters from educational and professional associations, investors, governments agencies and others who may testify to the entrepreneur’s knowledge, skills and experience;

2. news articles or other published materials indicating that the applicant has received significant attention and recognition;

3. documentation showing that the applicant or entity has been recently invited to participate in, is currently participating in, or has graduated from one or more established and reputable start-up accelerators;

4. documentation showing that the applicant has played an active and central role in the success of prior start-up or other relevant business entities;

5. degrees or other documentation indicating that the applicant has knowledge, skills, or experience that would significantly advance the entity's business;

6. documentation pertaining to intellectual property of the start-up entity, such as a patent, that was obtained by the applicant or as a result of the applicant's efforts and expertise;

7. a position description of the applicant's role in the operations of the company; and

any other relevant, probative, and credible evidence indicating the applicant's ability to advance the entity's business in the United States.


- an applicant would generally be able to meet the investment standard by demonstrating that the start-up entity has received investments of capital totaling $250,000 or more from established U.S. investors (such as venture capital firms, angel investors, or start-up accelerators) with a history of substantial investment in successful start-up entities. 


7. QUALIFIED INVESTMENTS includes not only money, but other securities that are convertible into equity issued by an entity and that are commonly used in financing transactions within such entity's industry.


8. QUALIFIED INVESTORS – an individual or organization may be considered a qualified investor if, during the preceding 5 years, they made investments in start-up entities in exchange for equity, convertible debt or other security convertible into equity commonly used in financing transactions, comprising a total of no less than $600,000.


9. REVENUE GENERATION - when an application for re-parole is filed, the revenue which is considered, must be the revenue generated in the United States.


10. PAROLE VALIDITY PERIOD - the initial parole period is 30 months which would begin running on the date the individual is initially paroled into the United States. It potentially can be extended for another 30-month period if all requirements are met. An applicant’s spouse and minor, unmarried children are eligible to accompany the applicant under the same parole and stay in the U.S. during the period for which the parole to the main applicant was issued.


11. MATERIAL CHANGE – “a significant change with respect to ownership and control of the start-up entity” . It has to be reposted to USCIS.




1)      Spouse and children: The entrepreneur's spouse and children who are seeking parole as derivatives of such entrepreneur must individually file an Application for Travel Document. Such application must also include evidence that the derivative has a qualifying relationship to the entrepreneur and otherwise merits a grant of parole in the exercise of discretion.

2)      The spouse and children of an entrepreneur granted parole under this regulation may be granted parole for no longer than the period of parole granted to the entrepreneur.

Spouses of entrepreneur parolee are eligible to receive employment authorization in the U.S., children are not. 
The spouses must file an Application for Employment Authorization if they wish to work in the U.S.

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