How does the parole of international entrepreneurs work for the immigration of startup founders? – TechCrunch
Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers questions about immigration on working in tech companies.
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I’ve heard a lot about International Entrepreneur Word lately. I am wondering if my co-founder, who is currently on an H-1B that we are in the process of transferring to our startup, and a STEM OPT employee, who we are making a co-founder, would be eligible to apply. How does parole work and how long does it take?
In addition, we are on the verge of obtaining $ 200,000 in investments. Do we have to raise an additional $ 50,000 to sponsor someone for parole?
– Looking for answers in Los Altos
Thank you for contacting me with your International entrepreneur Parole (PEI) questions! What makes the IEP so exciting is its flexibility: up to three co-founders of a startup can petition for the IEP, which means they don’t need an employer sponsor. Unlike a H-1B or other work visa is great because the applicant can be the boss of the company. Additionally, if your startup raised less than $ 250,000, your team can still qualify for the IEP by submitting evidence of your startup’s potential for rapid growth and job creation. Listen to my podcast episode on IEP, which goes through the application process and answers some of the most frequently asked questions I receive.
If your co-founders are suing the IEP, I highly recommend, as usual, that they work with an immigration lawyer. This is especially important here because the stakes are so high for your business and because this is a new program, and officers from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have little experience in reviewing IEP applications. Additionally, your startup’s fundraising is less than $ 250,000 from US investors, so you’ll need strong legal arguments regarding your qualifications.
How new is this program? Well, he already has a lot of history. Even though the IEP has been available since 2017, the previous administration tried unsuccessfully to eliminate it. It was only recently that the Department of Homeland Security withdrew the proposal to cancel the IEP program, which has been available since 2017, and the Biden administration has announced that it will fully implement it.
A 2020 Congress research report on “Immigration parole”Noted that USCIS had received 28 IEP requests from the time it started them until February 10, 2020. Of these, only one was approved, 22 were denied, three were withdrawn and two were pending.
We’re not sure exactly how long USCIS will take to make a decision on IEP requests – and USCIS said at a recent stakeholder meeting that there was no deadline yet. treatment. My law firm is submitting several claims on behalf of clients and hopes to have decisions soon. We will keep you posted!
How parole works
The Secretary of Homeland Security and Homeland Security agencies, including USCIS and Customs and Border Patrol, have the option of granting parole, allowing entry and temporary stay in the United States. United. Parole has traditionally been granted for urgent humanitarian reasons, such as persecuted refugees or those seeking medical treatment in the United States, or to serve a public good, such as providing disaster assistance, cooperating with military forces. order or testify at a trial.
Created by the Obama administration after Congress failed to create a startup visa, the IEP empowers entrepreneurs who provide a “significant public benefit” by creating jobs for American workers and growing the economy American to stay temporarily in the United States to develop their startup. If USCIS approves an IEP application, the contractor will receive a parole document valid initially for 30 months.
Parole is not a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa status, which means your co-founders cannot simply apply to change their status from H-1B or F-1 to IEP while living in United States. To obtain parole, your founders must leave the United States and return and obtain a stamp from a border officer to be “paroled” in the United States.
If an entrepreneur is approved for IEP, their spouse and dependent children (single and under the age of 21) are also eligible for parole during this same period. Once in the United States, spouses can apply for a work permit that would allow them to get a job or start their own business.
MYP eligibility requirements
To qualify for the IEP, each of your co-founders must demonstrate that:
- Your startup is an American company less than five years old.
- She / he owns at least 10% of the capital of the startup.
- She / he is at the heart and plays an active role in the startup. I recommend that your co-founders have a C-suite title, such as CEO, COO, or CTO, and / or a high-level title, such as president.
- Your startup has received at least $ 250,000 from qualified US investors or at least $ 100,000 in grants or awards from federal, state, or local governments.
If your startup only received $ 200,000, your co-founders will need to provide compelling evidence of your company’s potential for rapid growth and job creation, such as its users or customers, revenue, social impact. , its national or large-scale reach, or its positive local impact. or regional effects. Your lawyer can support you with these legal arguments.
To extend the IEP for another 30 months, your co-founders will need to prove that:
- She continues to play a central and active role within the company.
- She / he owns at least 5% of the capital.
And one of the following:
- Your startup has received at least $ 500,000 in qualified investments and / or qualified government grants or awards.
- Your startup created at least five full-time jobs with the startup entity during the initial parole period.
- Your startup has at least $ 500,000 in annual revenue in the United States and an average 20% annual revenue growth during the initial parole period.
If your startup entity partially meets the criteria for funding, job creation or annual income, your co-founders should provide compelling evidence that the startup entity continues to have substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation. with the support of your lawyer.
While there is no salary requirement under the IEP program (as with the H-1B visa), each of your co-founders will need to have a family income above 400% of the federal poverty line. for his household. size as defined by the Department of Health and Social Services. For example, according to today’s requirements, a family of four should have a family income of over $ 106,000.
Hopefully by the time your co-founders are ready to extend their IEP, new laws will already be in place for a startup visa and a green card lane for startup founders. I had the honor of working on this bill with Jeff Farrah from the National Venture Capital Association, and I hope we see some announcements soon!
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