Chapter 2 - Requirements for Consideration
An applicant files an Application for Entrepreneur Parole (Form I-941) to be considered for parole as an international entrepreneur. To be considered for such parole, the applicant must demonstrate that a grant of parole will provide a significant public benefit to the United States based on the applicant’s entrepreneurial role with a start-up entity in the United States that has significant potential for rapid growth and job creation.
An applicant need not be outside the United States to apply. Persons outside the United States, persons in the United States in nonimmigrant status, and those who are in the United States not presently maintaining nonimmigrant status may apply.
If their Form I-941 is approved, those applicants who are in the United States would have to depart the United States and would need to appear at a port of entry to request parole into the United States. However, applicants who are in the United States but are not in a lawful status (for example, their Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) expired and they are no longer in a nonimmigrant status) may have accrued unlawful presence and may face immigration consequences upon departure from the United States.
Central and Active Role
The applicant must have a central and active role in the operations of the start-up entity. Within that role, the applicant must be well-positioned, due to their knowledge, skills, or experience, to substantially assist the entity with the growth and success of its business.
Substantial Ownership Interest
The applicant must also have a substantial ownership in the start-up entity. USCIS considers the applicant to have substantial ownership if the applicant possesses at least a 10 percent ownership interest in the start-up entity at the time of adjudication of the Form I-941. If granted parole, an applicant may reduce their ownership interest below 10 percent during the period of initial parole, so long as the applicant maintains at least a 5 percent ownership interest in the start-up entity during the initial parole period.
While the applicant does not need to be the sole owner, no more than three entrepreneurs may be granted international entrepreneur parole based on the same start-up entity.
The applicant’s start-up entity must be:
A corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or other entity that is organized under federal law or the laws of any state, and that conducts business in the United States;
Not primarily engaged in the offer, purchase, sale or trading of securities, futures contracts, derivatives, or similar instruments;
Formed within the 5 years immediately preceding the date the applicant filed the initial parole application and lawfully doing business during any period of operation since its date of formation; and
An entity with substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
An applicant can demonstrate the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation through a qualified investment if, within the 18 months immediately preceding the filing of the Form I-941, one or more qualified investors made qualified investments that together are at least the required amount. The required amount automatically adjusts every 3 years by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
The following table outlines the required amount of investment in the start-up, which varies based on the date the applicant filed the Form I-941.
|Filing Date||Investment Amount|
|Before October 1, 2021||$250,000|
|On or after October 1, 2021||$264,147|
To be considered a qualified investment, the investment must be made in good faith and not be an attempt to circumvent any limitations imposed on investments under 8 CFR 212.19. The investment must be lawfully derived capital in a start-up entity that is a purchase from such entity of its equity, convertible debt, or other security convertible into its equity commonly used in financing transactions within such entity's industry.
A qualified investment does not include an investment, directly or indirectly, from:
The parents, spouse, brother, sister, son, or daughter of such entrepreneur; or
Any corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or other entity in which such entrepreneur or the parents, spouse, brother, sister, son, or daughter of such entrepreneur directly or indirectly has any ownership interest.
While an applicant is not prohibited from personally investing in the start-up entity or otherwise securing additional funding, only investments from a qualified investor count towards the minimum investment amount.
A qualified investor is an individual who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, or an organization that is located in the United States and operates through a legal entity organized under the laws of the United States or any state, that is majority owned and controlled, directly and indirectly, by U.S. citizens or LPRs of the United States.
A qualified investor must also regularly make substantial investments in start-up entities that subsequently exhibit substantial growth in terms of revenue generation or job creation by demonstrating that during the preceding 5 years:
The qualified investor made investments in start-up entities in exchange for equity, convertible debt, or other security convertible into equity commonly used in financing transactions within their respective industries comprising a total in such 5-year period of no less than the investment amount in the chart below; and
Subsequent to such investment by such individual or organization, at least two such entities each either created at least five qualified jobs or generated revenue of at least the amount in the chart below with average annualized revenue growth of at least 20 percent.
The following table outlines the required amount of investment and revenue for qualified investors’ prior investments, which varies based on the date the applicant filed the Form I-941.
|Filing Date||Investment Amount||Revenue Amount|
|Before October 1, 2021||$600,000||$500,000|
|On or after October 1, 2021||$633,952||$528,293|
The term qualified investor does not include an individual or organization that has been:
Permanently or temporarily enjoined from participating in the offer or sale of a security or in the provision of services as an investment adviser, broker, dealer, municipal securities dealer, government securities broker, government securities dealer, bank, transfer agent or credit rating agency;
Barred from association with any entity involved in the offer or sale of securities or provision of such services; or
Otherwise found to have participated in the offer or sale of securities or provision of such services in violation of law.
An applicant can demonstrate the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation through a qualified government award or grant. The applicant must show that, within the 18 months immediately preceding the filing of the Form I-941, the start-up entity received one or more qualified government awards or grants of at least the minimum required amount.
Qualified awards or grants include those for economic development, research and development, or job creation (or other similar monetary awards typically given to start-up entities) made by a federal, state, or local government entity (not including foreign government entities) that regularly provides such awards or grants to start-up entities. Contractual commitments for goods or services do not constitute qualifying awards or grants.
The following table outlines the minimum required amount for government awards and grants, which varies based on the date the applicant filed the Form I-941.
|Filing Date||Award or Grant Amount|
|Before October 1, 2021||$100,000|
|On or after October 1, 2021||$105,659|
If the applicant satisfies the criteria demonstrating that they are an entrepreneur in a start-up entity but only partially meets one or both of the criteria for qualified investments or qualified awards or grants, USCIS may still consider the applicant for entrepreneur parole if the applicant provides additional reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation. When considered in totality, the evidence must serve as a compelling validation of the entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
There is no statutory or regulatory definition of significant public benefit. Parole determinations are case-by-case discretionary determinations that consider the totality of the circumstances of each case.
[^ 4] See 8 CFR 212.19(a)(1). For information on the percentage of ownership required for re-parole see Chapter 5, Additional Periods of Parole, Section B, Criteria for Consideration [3 USCIS-PM G.5(B)].
[^ 10] See 8 CFR 212.19(a)(5). Qualified job means full-time employment located in the United States that has been filled for at least 1 year by one or more U.S. citizens, LPRs, or other immigrants lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States, who is not an entrepreneur of the relevant start-up entity (or the parent, spouse, brother, sister, son, or daughter of such entrepreneur) nor an independent contractor. See 8 CFR 212.19(a)(6) and 8 CFR 212.19(a)(7).