Parole for Entrepreneurs 

entrepreneur parole

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3. Qualified Investors

The Entrepreneur Parole Program provides that only particular types of individuals and/or entities can qualify to invest in the start-up enterprise:

A qualified investor:

a.    Must be a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, or an entity organized in the U.S., and majority owned  by U.S. Citizens and/or Lawful Permanent Residents

b.   Must be investing in a U.S. business enterprise defined as an entity organized under the laws of the U.S., or the laws of a State, and is not an investment vehicle primarily engaged in the offer, purchase, or sale of securities or other similar instruments

c.   Has for the five year period immediately preceding the investment invested at least $600,000 in start-up entities

d.   Can show that, pursuant to that investment(s), at least 2 entities were created each of which generated at least 5 full time jobs, or $500,000 in revenue, with average annualized growth of at least 20%.       

No more than 3 entrepreneurs may be granted parole in connection with the same start-up entity, and an entrepreneur shall not be granted more than one additional grant of parole in connection with any one start-up entity.

4. Work Authorization

An entrepreneur paroled into the U.S. would apply for a work authorization document. An entrepreneur’s spouse may also apply for work authorization as a derivative alien.

5. Material Change

An entrepreneur’s parole status would be subject to ongoing review and could be affected by a “material change” of circumstances. 

Among occurrences that would trigger a “material change” would be if any of the obligations undertaken by the entrepreneur or the enterprise are not met; if any criminal charge, government related civil actions or private, damages action (implicating more than 10% of current assets) is brought against the entrepreneur or the start-up entity.

The enterprise goes out of business, is the subject of a bankruptcy petition, or is subject to the sale of all or substantially all of its assets.  

6. To Grant Parole or Re-Parole is Wholly Discretionary with USCIS

Should an entrepreneur’s application for parole, or re-parole, be denied, or an entrepreneur’s parole status be revoked, there is no right to an appeal or opportunity to seek reconsideration, although USCIS can, on its own motion, reconsider its action. 

The Take Away

The Entrepreneur Parole Program is a hopeful step in the right direction toward attracting the brightest and best entrepreneurs to our shores while affording qualified investors a way of easing the immigration burdens on start-up companies in which foreign nationals play a key role.

That said, however, whether the restrictive pre-requisites to qualifying for parole could end up rendering Entrepreneur Parole a program in search of participants remains an open question. 

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About the author

Robert Goodman

Robert Ian Goodman, Esq. represents clients worldwide in the areas of complex commercial immigration and international and domestic commercial law. Mr. Goodman also provides general counsel services to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses and counsels foreign businesses interested in establishing a presence in the U.S. marketplace and U.S. businesses interested in expanding abroad. Mr. Goodman is principal of Goodman Immigration. He is also Special Counsel to the international boutique law firm, Sharma & DeYoung LLP ("S&D"), where he directs the firm's commercial immigration practice. He also co-chairs that firm's Technology and Emerging Companies Practice Group and is a member of S&D's Commercial Litigation and Arbitration Practice Group. 

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