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Can I bring my family with me under the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

A family of 7 embracing each other while smiling

As detailed here, the Department of Homeland Security announced in 2021 that it has relaunched the International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Program, which permits foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop startup entities with high growth potential in the United States. In our earlier post, we detail the requirements for international entrepreneur parole, along with specific examples of evidence that can be submitted.

Many entrepreneurs applying for parole under the IEP Program have families. In this post, we will discuss what benefits the spouse and children of an entrepreneur granted parole under the IEP can receive.

I am an entrepreneur applying for parole under the IEP Program. What documents do my spouse and children need to file in order to accompany or join me in the U.S.?

The government requires that, in order to receive parole, the spouse or child (under 21 years old) of an entrepreneur applying for parole under the IEP must show either 1) that they are independently eligible for parole based on significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian need, or 2) that they merit a favorable exercise of discretion. Presumably many, if not most, family members’ applications will be approved under the second category, since family unity should merit a favorable exercise of discretion.

If the entrepreneur has dependents (a spouse and/or children) who plan to accompany or join the entrepreneur in the U.S., they must each submit a Form I-131 with the applicable fees in order to request parole. The Form I-131 can be filed with the entrepreneur’s application for parole (the Form I-941), or separately.

Proof of the relationship between the entrepreneur and the family member (such as a birth or marriage certificate) must be submitted with the I-131 application. If the I-131 is being submitted after the entrepreneur filed the I-941 application for parole, the I-131 must also include proof that the entrepreneur has requested parole (such as a Form I-797 showing that USCIS received the application for parole, or the entrepreneur’s I-94 showing that they have been paroled into the United States).

Is the spouse of an entrepreneur eligible for work authorization?

Yes. Once the Form I-131 is approved and the spouse of the entrepreneur is paroled into the U.S., he or she may then apply for employment authorization by filing a Form I-765. Unfortunately, the children of the entrepreneur are not eligible for work authorization under the International Entrepreneur Parole Program.

Are there any financial requirements that apply to the entrepreneur and their family under the IEP Program?

Yes. As a condition of parole, the entrepreneur must maintain household income that is greater than 400% of the federal poverty line for the household size (as of the time of writing, $51,520 for a household of one, $69,680 for a household of two, and $87,840 for a household of three).

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