Rolling out a New Welcome Mat for Foreign Owners of U.S. Businesses

In the United States, immigrant investors play a major role in launching successful business ventures. Many enter the country on an E-1 or E-2 visa, but some are not able to obtain it in a timely manner. .

In the United States, immigrant investors play a major role in launching successful business ventures. Many enter the country on an E-1 or E-2 visa, but some are not able to obtain it in a timely manner. Some individuals may be eligible for consideration under this new parole rule, currently being considered by USCIS. Orlando Immigration Lawyer Henry Lim explains why USCIS is looking at ways to open the doors to immigrant investors.

Immigrant entrepreneurs play a critical role in creating business opportunities and jobs. They contribute to America’s economic growth and our community vitality by investing in companies that hire American workers and become productive corporate citizens.

Because immigrant investors shape our communities in such significant ways, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials recently announced a new option for qualified foreign entrepreneurs to enter the US in order to more easily build prospering American-based businesses.

The proposed USCIS rule, announced in late August, offers ‘parole’ (temporary permission to enter the United States) on a case-by-case basis for qualifying foreign entrepreneurs, provided they can satisfactorily prove strong potential for rapid growth and job creation in their business. (Dependent family members of the applicant for parole would also be eligible to file an application for entry to the United States.)

Anyone wishing to comment on this proposal may do so within 45 days from the date of publication (August 31) in the Federal Register. When the Federal Register publishes the final rule, it will include the date the rule takes effect.

Immigrant entrepreneurs play a critical role in creating business opportunities and jobs.

In immigration law, “parole” usually refers to the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to grant an individual temporary permission to enter the country, even though he or she may be inadmissible or does not meet requirements for a visa.

Parole may be granted under the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Authority, who has the discretionary ability to authorize parole based on “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” USCIS authorizes admission based on humanitarian parole sparingly, and for only a length of time that corresponds with the situation.

This proposed rule extends DHS’ parole authority to foreign entrepreneurs. On a case-by-case basis, DHS will consider granting parole to entrepreneurs able to demonstrate why their presence and guidance will help their U.S. business venture not only survive but endure as thriving, fast-growing enterprise creating good jobs for Americans.

Requirements for immigrant entrepreneur parole application

When looking at immigrant entrepreneurs to admit on parole, USCIS looks for individuals who are well-positioned to advance their company’s business. Under the proposed rule, foreign business owners seeking parole must possess a minimum 15 percent ownership interest in the U.S.-based business, and play a major, active role in its operations.

The U.S. – based company itself must have been established within the past three years. The business owner must show evidence of the business’s success and future potential for solid growth and job creation, including indicators such as:

  • capital investment (minimum $345,000) from U.S. investors, venture capital firms, or start-up accelerators with established track records of successful business investment;
  • awards or grants (minimum $100,000) from applicable federal, state or local government organizations; or
  • some combination of the above, based on other reliable evidence of the business venture’s potential to expand and to provide lasting jobs.

To grant parole, USCIS would consider all the information available, including evidence obtained through background checks and other means, to determine whether the criteria for parole has been met and whether negative factors exist to warrant denial of parole.

If admitted, the entrepreneur would be authorized for employment with respect to their start-up entity; the entrepreneur’s spouse would be permitted to apply for employment authorization separately upon parole into the United States.

How long can immigrant entrepreneurs remain in the US under the parole rule?

Entrepreneurs granted parole under this proposed rule may initially stay up to two years to oversee and grow their U.S business. They may request a parole extension for up to three additional years.

USCIS would consider granting “re-parole” only if the entrepreneur can prove the business has been clearly providing increased benefits to the public through jobs, capital investment, and/or revenue creation.

Legal assistance for immigrant investors and entrepreneurs

More than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies in 2010 had been founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. Entrepreneurial immigrants form an important backbone of the US economy, and their presence here ought to be encouraged in qualified cases.

Lim Law applauds this new opportunity to welcome dynamic business leaders to the United States. Our government and private business communities must support these entrepreneurial efforts to anchor and expand solid business ventures in this country. If you are an immigrant entrepreneur, we are pleased to offer our extensive knowledge and experience in business and investment immigration law to assist with this complex application process.


Ask Henry Lim
Do you have a question for Henry Lim? During over 20 years of practicing law, he has helped more than 10,000 families move to the United States. You can Ask Henry a question at or submit a video question by sending a link to one of our channels. For legal assistance, email or call for an appointment: (407) 512-9919. Our first consultation is complimentary.

This article is general advice and does not represent the establishment of a client-attorney relationship. For counsel specific to your circumstances, always consult a licensed lawyer.