Investor Parole

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What Is an Investor Parole

The Investor Parole program grants a period of authorized stay to foreign entrepreneurs. A special program explicitly granted by the Department of Homeland Security on a case-to-case basis. This program allows entrepreneurs intending to extend or scale their startup venture, relocate or remain in the United States for five years. Unlike visas that are only applicable to applicants of a specific field, the investor parole program is accessible and open for professionals from all fields. Ultimately, the applicant’s goal under Investor Parole should be to benefit the growth of the U.S. economy and create employment. Further, since the Investor Parole is a special program under the Department of Homeland Security and not a visa, the nature of qualification can be unique for every parole holding entrepreneur. 

Who Qualifies for Investor Parole?

You are eligible under the Investor Parole grant if you’re an entrepreneur who:

  1. 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.
  2. Have an active and central role in running the start-up’s operations so that you can contribute towards scaling the business.
  3. When you agree to provide significant public benefits to the residents of the States, via your position as an entrepreneur of the start-up, beyond a mere investment. Here are a few ways to demonstrate such potential:
  • If you can prove that your startup has received an investment of at least $250,000 by qualified US investors in the last 18 months.

OR, 

  • If your startup was rewarded with at least $100,000 in local, state, federal government grants or awards. 

OR

  • Partial capital investment and/or Government funding and Other Compelling Evidence.

Other Important Considerations

  • Parole is Discretionary. DHS has the discretion to grant parole on a case-by-case basis, is not required to do so in any given instance, and can revoke it. Denial of parole is not appealable or subject to a motion to reopen or reconsider. Of key importance: the applicant and family members must merit a favorable exercise of discretion, which could be precluded by a record of criminal conduct, fraud, national security concerns, or other derogatory evidence.
  • Not a Green Card Pathway. IER parole does not lead to a green card and requires the entrepreneur to find a way to remain in the United States once parole expires.
  • Limited to Three per Start-Up. IER parole is limited to three entrepreneurs per start-up.
  • Maintenance of Income. A parolee under the IER must maintain a household income of at least 400% above the poverty level (which currently amounts to $51,520 for a single person).
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Application Process

Entrepreneurs applying for the must have their Form I-941 Application for Entrepreneur Parole filed with USCIS. Once approved, you can then obtain the necessary travel documents from the consulate abroad.   However, Canadian citizens applying for an Investor Parole program in the United States can directly apply for the process via an approved I-941 form. 

Criteria For Extending Parole Status

For a parole-based Entrepreneur seeking an extension to their grants beyond the initial 30 months, you need to demonstrate progression in your startup. Your business must show investment, job growth, or potential for future growth. USCIS may grant an additional 30 months of parole if:

  • Your business continues to operate post 30-months and has improved significantly.
  • As an entrepreneur, you could retain at least five percent ownership interest and play a significant role in the business.
  • If the startup/business has:
    1. Created at least five qualifying jobs or
    2. Received at least $500,000 in government grants, qualifying investments, awards, or a combination thereof or
    3. Generated at least $500,000 in U.S. revenue and highlighted a 20 percent annual growth during the initial parole phase or
    4. Other compelling evidence, if only partial evidence is of above factors is met,  of the start ups substantial potential for substantial growth.

Limitations Of Investor Parole

Since Investor Parole isn’t a traditional visa, it comes with some limitations on the activities of the parole holder in the U.S. Therefore; you must understand the limitations of your Parole status, which suggests:

  1. You are only limited to working for the startup under which you applied. You aren’t entitled to any consultancies, side hustles, or working under a different job under this status.
  2. Investor Parole is not a path to permanent residency! You must qualify under different visa qualifications to be a resident of the country.

Family of Investor Parole Holders

The entrepreneur’s spouse and minor unmarried children must apply separately for parole by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, which may be granted for the same period that was granted to the entrepreneur. Spouses may apply for work authorization as described below.

Since its inception, the Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, an NYC-based immigration law practice, has helped multiple investors successfully apply for their parole status. As a result, our attorneys know and understand the exemplary practices to successfully apply for Investor Parole cases, allowing us to foresee problems and provide appropriate advice at the right moment.

For more information, contact The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy at prashanthi@reddyesq.com or by calling 212-354-1010.

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