Expand All | Collapse All

Not really. It is intended for startup founders but isn’t really a visa – it simply permits founders to come to the US on parole – not a visa, but a type of temporary admission – to further their business if they meet certain requirements.

To be eligible, an applicant must have significant ownership (at least 10 percent) in a startup and a central role in the operations of that startup. For purposes of this rule, “startup” means a company founded in the US within the last five years. Applicants must also show that their company has “substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation” — meaning they must have either garnered investments of at least $250,000 from qualified American investors or received $100,000 worth of federal, state or local grants.

Entrepreneurs who met the qualifications for parole under the IER would be eligible to seek an extension of up to two and a half more years if they continued to show that they are providing a “significant public benefit” to the country. All told, the program stood to offer no more than a total of five years in the U.S. for the estimated 3,000 entrepreneurs who were expected to qualify.

Strangely, no. A spouse or child of an entrepreneur can apply for parole under this rule if they can prove that they are independently eligible for parole based on significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reasons, that they merit a favorable exercise of discretion. It isn’t immediately clear that accompanying the principal entrepreneur to the US would be a sufficient “significant public benefit” or that this would “merit a favorable exercise of discretion” independently. If parole for a spouse is granted, the spouse could also apply for separate employment authorization.

The version of the International Entrepreneur Rule (“IER”) that was published in the last days of the Obama presidency granted parole (essentially, a right to enter and remain for a limited period – for up to two and a half years initially – for foreign entrepreneurs.