How the Foreign Entrepreneurs Program Works


In 2021 the Biden administration resurrected the Immigrant Entrepreneur Program. This rule allows foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the United States for up to 5 years as long as they own at least 10% of a start-up and attract at least $250,000 from investors in the United States.

To qualify for this program, entrepreneurs must also show “reliable and compelling evidence” to merit approval. The idea is that the new company and the immigrant’s presence will create a “significant public benefit” for United States citizens. 

This is different from the EB-5 Immigrant Investors program: the one that allows you to invest $1 million into a United States company or $500,000 into a targeted employment area in a new commercial enterprise in exchange for a green card. 

Instead this program is administered under the International Entrepreneur Rule

This program does not create a new visa class. Instead it relies on the Secretary of Homeland Security’s discretionary authority to grant parole in special circumstances, that is, temporary permission to be in the United States. Under this program, parole is also granted to spouses. Spouses may apply for work authorization, children cannot. 

This could create a problem for some entrepreneurs later, and make it wiser to pursue immigration under a different category or program that provides them a little more stability. “Parole” can be taken away at any time. This happened during the Trump administration, which temporarily suspended the rule. 

In fact, Forbes called the program a “dead end” without a road to a green card. However, it can be useful for students who have graduated from US colleges who can’t stay on their student visa but who want the chance to found and oversee the development of companies here in the United States. It’s also impossible to use an adjustment of status to change your visa class when you are operating under parole. 

Note that USCIS handles applications for the IEP on a case-by-case basis. You’re unlikely to succeed without an attorney, and should meet with an attorney anyway just to find out if you can qualify for residency under any other program. This program is an option, but not necessarily your best one.

Have dreams of living, working, or staying in the United States? Reach out to Hykel Law to schedule a consultation today. We can help you find your best path forward.

See also:

How Much Money Do You Need to Immigrate to the United States?

Is It Possible to Get a Work Visa Without a Sponsorship?

7 Ways to Get a Green Card

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Employment & Investment Visas

Although it often comes with controversy, immigration into the United States has always played a major role in the strength of its economy. Perhaps no one understands this more than the residents of Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell still welcomes foreigners to one of the richest historical communities of our country.


Family Visas

Not knowing or understanding the system and laws of the U.S. can be a disadvantage for many foreign immigrants who wish to obtain permanent residency in the United States, either for themselves or for their loved ones. Hykel Law’s Family-Based Immigration Services can lead you through the complicated process to achieve either temporary or permanent residency, depending on your situation.


Deportation Defense

Are you afraid of deportation? If you are a foreign national involved in the beginning stages of removal proceedings, the deportation attorney at Hykel Law in Philadelphia can help prevent this unfortunate situation. We can evaluate your immigration case and find the best strategy to defend you from removal proceedings to help you stay in the United States.

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