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"H-1B Visa Conundrum: How USCIS's Flawed Tiered Selection Process Impacts US Businesses"

The Entrepreneur Parole Program as a Viable Option to Address the Needs and Circumstances of those not selected in the H-1B Lottery. 

Posted by Fariba Faiz | Jul 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

The Entrepreneur Parole Program (EPP) is designed to provide an avenue for foreign entrepreneurs to stay and build their startup businesses in the United States. The program allows eligible entrepreneurs to be granted parole (temporary permission to enter and remain in the US) for their startup venture. Some of the key benefits of the program include:

1. Allows for Startup Creation: The EPP allows qualifying entrepreneurs to establish and grow their startup companies in the United States. It provides an avenue for students or graduates who have innovative ideas and a potential for job creation to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors.

2. Criteria for Eligibility: The program has specific criteria to ensure the selection of entrepreneurs who are likely to provide a significant public benefit through their startups. These include factors such as the potential for growth, job creation, and attracting significant investment capital from reputable investors.

3. Temporary Stay and Work Authorization: Once an entrepreneur is granted parole under the EPP, they are able to stay in the United States for up to five years, along with their immediate family members. This allows them to actively work on building and scaling their startups while benefiting from the resources and opportunities available in the U.S.
4. No Investment Capital Requirements: Unlike certain other visa categories, the EPP does not have a minimum investment capital requirement. This aspect is particularly beneficial for foreign students or graduates who may not have access to significant personal or external funding but possess innovative ideas or skills that could lead to a successful startup.
5. Expansion of Talent Pool: The EPP expands the talent pool by attracting and retaining foreign entrepreneurs with unique skills or innovative ideas in the United States. This benefits the U.S. economy by stimulating innovation, creating job opportunities, and promoting overall economic growth.
6. Flexibility for Team Formation: The EPP allows entrepreneurs to form or be part of a startup team to collectively work towards the success of their enterprise. This enables foreign students or graduates to collaborate with other individuals who may bring complementary skills and expertise to their entrepreneurial venture.
While the criteria and requirements for the EPP are subject to change, here are the key eligibility criteria and requirements for foreign students in OPT status or graduates not selected in the H-1B lottery:
1. Qualifying Entrepreneur:
- The applicant must have a significant ownership interest (at least 10%) and a central role in the startup.
- The startup must have been formed in the US within the last five years.
2. Investment and Funding:
- The applicant must demonstrate that their startup has received a substantial investment of capital (at least $250,000) from qualified U.S. investors with a history of substantial investment.
- Alternatively, the applicant can provide evidence that their startup has received significant awards or grants of at least $100,000 from government entities.
3. The Development of the Startup:
- The applicant must demonstrate that their startup entity has a substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
- The startup should have a business plan showing how it will create significant public benefit through the development or commercialization of a product or service.
4. Parole Duration:
- If granted parole under the EPP, the initial period of stay is granted for up to 30 months. An additional 30-month extension may be granted if certain criteria are met.
In summary, the Entrepreneur Parole Program addresses the specific needs and circumstances of foreign students in OPT status or graduates not selected in the H-1B lottery by providing them with an alternative pathway to legally stay and work in the U.S. It offers flexibility, temporary stay and work authorization, and focuses on the potential for job creation and significant public benefit through innovative startups.
It is important to note that meeting these criteria does not guarantee approval for the program. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assess each application on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, eligibility requirements and program details might have been subject to change or updates by the time you read this article. For further information please contact: [email protected] or make an appointment for a case evaluation by visiting:

About the Author

Fariba Faiz

Fariba is the founder of the Law Offices of Fariba Faiz, based out of San Francisco, California. Attorney Faiz is an experienced immigration attorney with a proven track record of successfully petitions for investment immigration (E-1/E-2 visas plus direct and regional center EB-5 pr...


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