BREAKING: International Entrepreneur Rule is now Effective

Breaking news, a federal judge for the District of Columbia, issued a ruling in the lawsuit, National Venture Capital Association, v. Duke, et. al, overturning the government’s delay of the International Entrepreneur Rule. This means that international entrepreneurs may now apply for parole under the rule as of Friday, December 1, 2017. The caveat, however, is that since the ruling was just handed down on Friday, no application has yet been released to apply under the rule, and the current parole application is not suited for the rule. It is expected that the government will soon issue a statement regarding the court’s decision and provide further guidance on what form to use.

In its decision, the judge ruled that the Department of Homeland Security unlawfully delayed enforcement of the rule, when it postponed the rule from going into effect just days before the rule was set to go into effect on July 17, 2017, without following the appropriate notice-and-comment procedure required by the Administrative Procedure Act.

Entrepreneurs must keep in mind that the the Trump administration may appeal the federal judge’s decision, or continue with their plans to rescind the rule, but as it now stands the government must accept applications for the international entrepreneur rule, even if the administration continues with their plans to rescind the rule.

What is the IER?

The rule makes it easier for eligible start-up entrepreneurs to obtain temporary permission to enter the United States for a period of 30 months, or 2.5 years, through a process known as “parole,” for the purpose of starting or scaling their start-up business enterprise in the United States. The decision about whether to “parole” a foreign entrepreneur under this rule will be a discretionary determination made by the Secretary of Homeland Security on a case-by-case basis (INA Section 212(d)(5), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)).

“Parole” will be granted to eligible entrepreneurs who can demonstrate that their company’s business operations are of significant public benefit to the United States by providing evidence of substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation. Such demonstrated potential for rapid growth and job creation may be evidenced by: (1) significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments or (2) attainment of significant awards or grants from certain Federal, State, or local government entities.

The goal

The final rule is meant to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up companies that have a high potential for success in the United States, and to enhance economic growth through increased capital spending and job creation.

Spouses and Children

The final rule will allow up to three entrepreneurs to seek “parole” per-start up entity, as well as their spouses and children. Entrepreneurs who qualify for “parole” may only work for their start-up business entity in the United States. Their spouses in turn will be eligible to apply for employment authorization once in the United States.


Eligible entrepreneurs must demonstrate the following:

  • The entrepreneur must possess a substantial ownership interest in a start-up entity created within the past five years in the United States that has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  • The entrepreneur must have a central and active role in the start-up entity such that the applicant is well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business.
  • The entrepreneur can prove that his or her stay will provide a significant public benefit to the United States based on the applicant’s role as an entrepreneur of the start-up entity by:
    • Showing that the start-up entity has received a significant investment of capital from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
    • Showing that the start-up entity has received significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation (or other types of grants or awards typically given to start-up entities) from federal, state or local government entities that regularly provide such awards or grants to start-up entities; or
    • Showing that they partially meet either or both of the previous two requirements and providing additional reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

For more information about the ruling please click here.

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