International Entrepreneur Rule: Over Before it Started?

**Updated 12/29/2017**

USCIS is now accepting applications for the IER program as a result of the litigation discussed below.  On December 1st, a federal judge vacated the postponement of the rule, effectively ordering implementation of the program. Entrepreneurs granted parole are eligible to work only for their start-up business. The spouses and children of the foreign entrepreneur may also be eligible for parole. While spouses may apply for work authorization once present in the US, their children are not eligible to work. IER parole may be granted for up to three entrepreneurs per start-up entity.

Would-be applicants should understand the tenuous nature of the program.  DHS plans to move forward with publishing a recession of the IER, so after a notice and comment period, the program will likely be shuttered.  When that happens, the parole status, and the ability to complete important business in the US could be revoked.  That said, for those who qualify, the program has value to launch business ventures and pursue visa options during its likely limited lifespan.

There appears to be problems with the newly released Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole. Following release of the form, USCIS confirmed that the form instructions contain errors, and that it is working to make the necessary corrections. Applicants are instructed to complete the form consistent with the requirements contained in the final rule, which may conflict with form instructions.


Last week, the Trump administration provided notice to the Office of Management and Budget that it plans to end the International Entrepreneur Rule, which never took effect. The publication of an official proposal to repeal the rule will now set off a notice and comment period.

The Obama administration rule was aimed to stimulate start-ups and ease the entry of approximately 3000 would-be entrepreneurs.  Foreign nationals who had an ownership stake in a startup U.S. business would be paroled to live and work in the U.S. for 30 months or longer. Limited to businesses with at least $250,000 in capital investment or $100,000 in grants, the initiative had substantive requirements and was limited to parole status. Just days before its July 17,  2017 effective date, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service announced that it would delay the implementation of the rule until March 2018.  The ultimate intent to block the rule from ever going into effect was clear from the start.

In September, an interested group, The National Venture Capital Association sued the Trump administration over its decision to delay.  They claim that without prior notice, the delay violated federal administrative procedures law.  The group is seeking an order declaring the delay invalid. Last week, the government responded in its defense arguing that it should be exempted from notice and comment requirements.  It invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking procedures to prevent regulatory confusion.  The government argues that it would be a waste of resources if it were forced to accept applications during the time when it intends to revoke the rule.