International Entrepreneurs Can Apply for Parole Entry to U.S.

May 10, 2021. USCIS is accepting applications from international entrepreneurs seeking parole entry to the United States.


The so-called International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) has long been a political football, but is back in effect as of 2021, owing to the Biden Administration.

To understand this rule, one needs a bit of history. The original idea, initiated by President Obama, was to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States, through the Secretary of Homeland Security's discretionary "parole authority." More specifically, while the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not have the power to make a new law granting people green cards, it does have the power to allow people into the U.S. on a temporary basis: in this case, to start a business, which might ultimately help the person qualify for some other form of U.S. residence, perhaps permanent.

In keeping with President Obama's original order, the DHS developed implementation rules, after giving public notice and opening the rule up for public comment. The rules addressed practical matters like application requirements and how the entrepreneurs would obtain work permits.

While DHS had planned that the final rule would take effect on July 17, 2017, the Trump Administration put a halt to it, via Executive Order 13767. This required the DHS to use its parole authority only on a case-by-case basis, and only when the applicant demonstrated urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit due to the parole. The order made it all but impossible for entrepreneurs to qualify.

After some litigation, the program was reopened, but DHS nevertheless proposed new rules in 2018 to remove the program from its regulations entirely.

Enter the Biden Administration with Executive Order 14012, "Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans." This order requires DHS to "identify any agency actions that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system."

In keeping with that, DHS has announced it is withdrawing its 2018 proposal to do away with the International Entrepreneur program.

USCIS is continuing to accept applications from international entrepreneurs seeking parole entry to the United States. For details, see the International Entrepreneur Parole page of its website.

Effective Date: May 10, 2021