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Introducing EB-6: Parole for International Entrepreneurs

Updated 27.03.24 6 minutes read
ImmigrationIndustry Insights

For International Entrepreneurs looking to legally remain and work in the United States, the much-discussed and so-called “EB-6” Employment-Based parole rule is now in effect, allowing this particular group of immigrant hopefuls to legally enter and stay in the US in a Parole status.

Despite commonly being referred to as the EB-6 Visa, the new rule isn’t actually a visa at all and doesn’t provide a direct path to the coveted green card that comes with permanent residency. Instead, the final rule, released on January 17, 2017, by the United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and made effective on July 16, 2017, by USCIS, provides entrepreneurs who can meet the requirements with a new method of entering the United States in order to remain for employment within a start-up US company.

As part of USCIS 8 CFR 212.19, the Parole Program for International Entrepreneurs allows for an initial stay of up to 30 months, extendable to a total of 5 years with re-parole, and provides work authorization for those accepted into the program, and their spouses.

As it is not an actual visa, the program benefits from some advantages not afforded under most USCIS Visa programs. For example, the EB-6 category is open to all eligible entrepreneurs, regardless of whether they are nationals of a treaty country. The EB-6 classification also omits the need for a consulate-issued visa in order for entry to be permitted to the US. Overall, an estimated 3,000 entrepreneurs will qualify annually for US entry under the new parole rule.

Despite the current focus on the EB-6 Parole for International Entrepreneur, the requirements for the program are nothing new in the immigration world. Just like with all other immigration programs, the burden of proof that all requirements are met is up to the applicant themselves and the business plan, therefore, remains an incredibly beneficial document to include with an application.

A professionally written business plan, provided in addition to all requisite documents, will be able to clearly detail how previous skills, duties, and experience will lend themselves to the applicant’s proposed duties in the US, clearly explaining why they’re the right person for the position. A business plan can also demonstrate how the US Company will use the money it has raised from funding for its future growth, showing a thought-out path to hiring and further expansion. Finally, by using real-world industry and market research to support the claims made by the Company’s projections, the business plan is capable of proving the feasibility and laying the groundwork for an easier renewal at the end of the initial parole period.

Including a business plan provides a considerable advantage to applications, as they provide adjudicators with a formatted place to find all the details they need, in a format and form that they are comfortable with seeing. With the EB-6, providing adjudicators with all the information they need at the time of application is also especially critical, as, unlike most visa programs, there are no appeals and no motions to reopen a denial of parole with the Parole Program for International Entrepreneurs.

While we at Joorney Business Plans are not immigration attorneys, our network of over 400 partners expects that we remain current on trends and new developments in the immigration world. The information discussed in the following sections should therefore not be considered legal advice, and serve as informational only, having been pooled from our network of resources. We highly recommend speaking with an immigration attorney before filing an application, as they are best equipped to guide you down the visa path that will be best suitable for your particular case.

Parole Requirements For Entrepreneurs

Ownership Requirements

The program carries some general requirements for the entrepreneur seeking to enter the United States on parole. While many documents will be required to verify that the requirements are met, the majority of these requirements can easily be demonstrated within a business plan, which often makes it easier for adjudication officers to find the information they need.

The requirements for the alien applicant, in general, are as follows:

  • The entrepreneur must play an actively involved central role in the US business entity, playing a role in the direction, growth, and operations of the Company.
  • The applicant must also own at least 10% of the US business at the time of application filing.
  • The entrepreneur is exclusively permitted to work for the US entity under which he was granted parole status. Should the foreign entrepreneur resign from his position with the company or, for example, accept an immigrant visa-based employment position with another firm, then he or she must leave the US and re-enter under the new visa.

Business Requirements

Because the EB-6 program is considered an employment-based program, there are 3 basic requirements that the employing start-up must meet in order for the foreign entrepreneur to qualify for employment-based parole with that entity:

  • The US-based company must have been created within the five years immediately preceding the filing date of the alien’s initial parole application, hence the “Start-Up” name that is occasionally given to the program.
  • The US Company must have been doing business since it was formed. This means that companies that were formed within the 5 year period that have not been doing business are ineligible, and
  • The Company must be able to prove that it will benefit the US economy by demonstrating the possibility for rapid growth and job creation. It must also be able to sustain the applicant and his family, as they are required to maintain a household income greater than 400% of the federal poverty for their household.
  • Each business can only have up to three entrepreneurs working on parole status at a time.

Investment & Financial Requirements

In addition to owning the business and demonstrating that it is capable of growth, applicants and the employing US entity must also meet certain financial requirements. While these financial requirements are on par with those typically expected from other visa programs, there are some specific requirements that are unique to the parole program.

First, there are two sources that are deemed acceptable under the parole program, each with its own minimum amount:

  • Either, the business needs to have received a minimum qualified investment of at least $250,000 from one or more established U.S. investors within the 18 months prior to the filing of the application. This investment may be from venture capital firms, angel investors, or start-up accelerators that have a history of investing substantially into successful start-ups.
  • Or, during the same 18 month period preceding the filing of the application, a qualifying business could alternatively have received at least $100,000 through one or more qualified government awards or grants from either Federal, State, or local government entities.

Initial Parole Duration – 30 Months

Once an initial parole application is approved, the entrepreneur is granted an initial period of parole of up to 30 months or two and a half years. This parole also extends to the applicant’s spouse and children, although children are not permitted to work during their stay in the United States. Spouses, however, can apply for work authorization, which, if approved, will be valid for the duration of the parole period.

Extending The EB-6: Re-Parole

Much like other traditional visa programs, entrepreneurs who have been granted parole can apply to extend or renew their parole with re-parol. Valid for an additional 30-month period, the role requirements mirror those of the initial filing, with all initial requirements still necessary, although ownership requirements are reduced to 5%.

However, the business entity must also have met at least one of the following additional criteria:

  • During the applicant’s initial parole period, the US entity must have collected at least $500,000 in qualifying investments, qualified government grants or awards, or a combination of these types of funding.
  • As with other employment-based visas, the primary focus of the program is to stimulate the economy by creating jobs to boost the local market. Therefore, the company needs to have created a minimum of five qualified jobs during the parole period.
  • The company otherwise needs to prove that it has been capable of reaching its financial projections, demonstrating that it has reached at least $500,000 in annual revenue and revenue growth averaging a 20% increase.