Technology Visas

Who Actually Qualifies for the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa for Managers & Executives?

Immigration Attorney Zeenat Phophalia delves into which staff members are eligible for the L-1A Visa and what constitutes a personnel manager and a function manager.

The L-1 visa classification for intracompany transferees comes in two categories: L-1A (managers and executives) and L-1B (special knowledge workers).  The L-1A allows a foreign company to transfer managers and executives to its related U.S. parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch office. 

An L-1A manager is generally someone who supervises and manages professional, managerial or supervisory employees, as evidenced by a clear chain of workers reporting up to such manager. 

In addition to this “personnel” manager role, the L-1A classification allows for what is known as a Function Manager – someone who manages an essential function within the organization. 

While the standard applicable to a personnel manager who manages employees is well established, there had been lack of guidance and clarity on what needed to be proven to qualify as a function manager. 

In 2017, the USCIS, provided guidance by adopting the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision in Matter of G- Inc., that sets forth a five-prong analysis to determine L-1A function manager qualification.

Matter of G- Inc. clarifies that, to establish that a beneficiary/employee will be employed in a managerial capacity as a “function manager,” the petitioner must demonstrate that:

  • (1) the function is a clearly defined activity;
  • (2) the function is “essential,” i.e., core to the organization;
  • (3) the beneficiary will primarily manage, as opposed to perform, the function;
  • (4) the beneficiary will act at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the function managed;
  • (5) the beneficiary will exercise discretion over the function’s day-to-day operations.

An essential function, as noted by the AAO, in the above decision, is a function that is “fundamental,”core” or “necessary” to the company’s business and one that the manager will manage versus performing. 

An organization could have more than one core activity “such as the manufacture or provision of an end product or service, and research and development into other products or services,” as was noted by the AAO.  

While assessing the essential function prong and the other criteria, USCIS will typically evaluate the entire record: overall organizational structure and hierarchy; description of the manager’s duties – products, services or component that he will manage; seniority within the organization; nature of administrative support if any; and so on. 

Often times, it can be harder for smaller organizations to establish that a function is a clearly defined activity and fundamental to the business.  That said, the best approach would be to explain the function with as much specificity as possible while emphasizing the core and essential nature of the activity/function vis-à-vis the organization and its impact on business, and justify how the employee will manage the function at a senior level within the organization.

The adopted decision in Matter of G- Inc establishes policy guidance that USCIS adjudicators are bound by and obligated to follow; it does not apply to the Department of State and so consular posts abroad are not bound by the decision, often times leading to conflicting and different interpretations of the scope of a function manager by consular officers.

To learn more about the L-1 Visa, please click here to contact us and request and appointment.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Set up beauty company in US

O-1 Talent Visa for Kenyan Entrepreneur in the Beauty Industry

We are delighted to announce another petition approval this time for an O-1 Visa for a Kenyan CEO. The petition was approved first time without any Requests for Evidence (RFE)

By Verdie Atienza, Senior Immigration Attorney, Davies & Associates

Since the client is a CEO of an existing company in Kenya, we initially considered new office L-1 petition. The L-1A Visa allows for the transfer of managers and executives to the existing or newly established US office of a related overseas firm. However, since she meets the O-1A criteria as well with all her awards, recognitions and press coverage, we decided to go with entrepreneurial O-1A petition since it could get her a three-year visa instead of 1 year with new office L-1 petition.

The Beneficiary is an alien of extraordinary ability in the field of business with a focus in beauty entrepreneurship.  Her specific skills lie in the creation, formulation, marketing and branding of natural and organic haircare products.  She created her own brand of hair care and beauty products consisting of natural and organic hair products such as conditioners, moisturizers, cleansers, stylers, body butters and pure oils. Her unique skills of creating, marketing, and branding has had a significant impact in the black community, not only by empowering black people to take pride in their natural hair, but by also enabling them to raise above anti-blackness and the discrimination against afro-textured hair. 

She is one of the few black-owned natural hair product designers, who has created a business selling high-quality hair product for naturally kinky textures, which until most recently, very few mainstream brands were doing. The demand for natural and organic hair products, and the safe authentic ingredients used in her products has led to a high demand for the brand, worldwide.  

The client’s company in Kenya was launched and established in 2015. It is a high-quality hair product line that guarantees affordable natural and organic hair products such as conditioners, moisturizers, cleansers, stylers, body butters and pure oils, among other things. All products are made from African natural ingredients such as coconut oil from Kenya, shea butter from Uganda and natural fragrances from South Africa.  The star ingredient is Coconut Oil from the Coast of Kenya, a touristic country called Mombasa, famous for its pristine beaches, palm trees and “mnazi,” which is Swahili for pure coconut oil or water.

What is the O-1 Visa?

The O-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa for individuals who can demonstrate extraordinary talent in a range of fields, from business and arts, to science and athletics. Our firm has helped hundreds of talented individuals move to the United States on both immigrant (permanent residency) and non-immigrant visas.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Immigration in Food Industry

O-1 Talent Visa Petition Approved for Chef of Michelin-Guide Recommended Italian Restaurant in NYC

By Verdie Atienza, Senior Immigration Attorney, Davies & Associates

I am delighted to announce that my team has secured the approval of an O-1 Petition for an Italian Executive Chef.

The Petitioner is an award-winning and Michelin Guide-recommended authentic Tuscan Italian restaurant in New York City. The restaurant is one of the most highly rated and recommended Italian restaurants in the city, which happens to be one of the most competitive gastronomy markets in the world. It has achieved one of the highest distinctions in the international gastronomy industry: a Michelin Guide Recommendation as a top restaurant in New York City.

The Beneficiary will be working as the Executive Chef. He is a Top Chef and Culinary Artist who has worked in a leading and critical role for some of the most prestigious restaurants in the culinary world in the Italian cuisine industry.

The O-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa for people with exceptional talent in the fields of business, arts, entertainment, sciences, education and more. The chef received an O-1B Visa for people with extraordinary ability in the arts.

My team also welcome another L-1A Visa approval for an Executive from India. The new office petition was approved with no RFE (Request for Evidence). 

The beneficiary works for a company in India which specializes in providing medical transcription services, medical scribing services, medical billing services, and IT-enabled services. It offers a variety of related services with the goal of enhancing its clients’ operations by minimizing  avoidable losses and expenses, as well as increasing revenues.

It primarily offers its services to clients in the United States. Consequently, it has established and grown a strong client base in this country. The company offers its services to healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, private medical practices and clinics, and physicians within the United States. The company furnishes medical practice supporting services that include remote realtime medical scribing, medical transcription, and revenue cycle management solutions. By offering a full range of professional medical services,  it has excelled in helping healthcare institutions and companies focus on minimizing preventable expenses and substantively improving their revenue as a result. Now, that they have established presence in the US, they aim to reach more customers and provide better services.

The L-1A Visa is a non-immigrant option for managers and executives to relocate to the existing or newly established US branch of their overseas company. The visa is valid for up to seven years, after which time it is possible to transition to a Green Card under the EB-1C Visa.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Technology Visas

L-1A Petition Approved for Tech Company Managers

Davies & Associates is pleased to share another approval of an L-1A Visa petition, this time for an Armenian national. The beneficiary is the second executive to be transferred to the the US company from the Armenia firm.

We initially secured approval of the L-1 Visa new office petition for its CEO and now we have secured approval of the petition for the second beneficiary who will assume the position of Vice President for Customer Success.

The L-1A Visa is a non-immigrant category for multi-national managers and executives who are transferring to the existing or newly established US office of their foreign company. The visa is valid for up to seven years, during which time it is possible to apply for US permanent residency (Green Card) under the EB-1c Visa route.

The client’s foreign company is based in Yerevan, Armenia and it is involved in data center and telecommunications industries. It has developed an intent-based lifecycle management platform for open networking. The US company is a subsidiary of the foreign company. The subsidiary was set up in the US to replicate the foreign company’s success in the US and have access to a bigger market. 

Prior to the approval of this second petition, we also had the CEO’s L-1A status extended. The extension petition and the petition for the second executive of the US company were both approved without a “Request for Evidence” RFE).

He is interested in pursuing EB-1C Visa, which is a Green Card option for International Executives & Managers.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


US Immigration Lawyer

D&A Obtains Three L-1 Visa Client Petition Approvals in Single Day

The approvals are the culmination of hard work from our L-1 Visa team throughout the pandemic.

Davies & Associates received the great news that three of our L-1 visa petitions were approved today. The L-1 Visa allows a manager, executive, or specialized-knowledge employee to transfer to the existing or newly established US office of a related company they work for overseas.

Two of the petitions were for employees in the same UK company, operating in the renewables and hydrocarbon space. When the client came to us, they were starting to feel hopeless because everyone that they have spoken to told them getting an L-1 petition approved for their team is not possible. We took the case and perservered, and now one manager and one executive have received and approval for their L-1A visa.

The L-1A Visa, which is specifically for managers & executives, is renewable for up to a maximum of seven years. The L-1B Visa, which is for specialized-knowledge employees, is renewable upto a maximum of five years.  

The company owns and operates five of the world’s most advanced and capable self-propelled jack-up vessels that have been built specifically to perform in the harsh environment of the North Sea and provide safe and efficient offshore solutions all over the world.  The vessels are designed to comply with the stringent regulations required to work in the international oil and gas sector. With a track record of over 500 wind turbine installations, the vessels have proven that they provide an effective solution to the installation and maintenance of offshore wind turbines and foundations. Likewise, the vessels have brought a new dimension to maintenance, modification, construction and decommissioning of oil & gas wells and platforms in the North Sea. 

The petitioning US company has a cooperation agreement with one of the biggest energy companies in the US. The US company provides consultancy and engineering services designed to ensure the successful construction of, as well as operation and maintenance of wind turbine Installation vessels specifically designed for the installation of offshore wind turbines. It will support the design and construction of self-propelled vessels that will ensure safe operation in various weather conditions and more hostile sea conditions.  

The unique nature of the industry and the unconventional business operations of the group of companies proved to be challenging, but in the end, we are glad to share that the two petitions have been approved. We are looking to file 3 more L-1 petitions for specialized employees for the client soon.

Kudos to our great team for tremendous effort on these two petitions. We had to work on the Request for Evidence (RFEs) and get the responses filed during the holidays.

The third approval is for a client who came to us with a Request for Evidence. The Indian and US companies operate playground/entertainment centers for children. The L-1A petition was prepared by another attorney. The petition had a lot of inconsistencies and discrepancies in the forms and the cover letter. There was also a serious discrepancy in the DS-160 pertaining to the beneficiary’s executive experience. On top of that, the duties and responsibilities were generic and poorly prepared. Thankfully, our response convinced USCIS to approve the petition. 

The L-1 Visa allows for the intracompany transfer of a qualifying employee to the United States. The related US business can be an existing business or a newly established one. The L-1 visa therefore provides a great opportunity to expand your business and move to the US to oversee the establishment and growth of the enterprise.

Contact us to discuss your interest in the L-1 Visa


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Vaccine Requirement for US Travel

Do I Need to be Vaccinated to Travel to the United States?

An increasing number of clients are contacting us to ask whether they need to be vaccinated to travel to the United States. President Biden has mandated that most foreign nationals visiting the United States will need to show proof of vaccination from Covid-19 when global travel to the USA opens up on November 8. However, some exemptions will apply.

Which vaccines are accepted for travel to the United States?

Most foreign nationals entering the United States on a non-immigrant visa or as a tourist must show proof of vaccination. The US will accept a wider range of vaccines than just those approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) (Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen). The list of vaccines accepted for inbound travel is expanded to include all World Health Organization vaccines, which includes AstraZenaca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac. The Sputnik vaccine is not currently approved by the WHO and therefore not currently accepted for travel.

Are Green Card Holders subject to US Vaccination Requirements for Travel?

US Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) are not subject to the vaccination requirements to enter the United States. However, there are testing requirements to travel. Most of our clients have obtained US permanent residency through the EB-1c Visa (International Managers & Executives), EB-1A Visa (Extraordinary Talent), and EB-5 Visa (Green Card by Investment of $500,000).

Are There Exemptions from the Vaccine Requirements for Travel to the United States?

The US authorities has published a list of exemptions from the vaccination requirements. This includes:

  • Anyone from a country that has limited (<10%) vaccine coverage.
  • Anyone under the age of 18
  • Anyone who can document a medical reason they cannot be vaccinated against Covid-19
  • Anyone granted a humanitarian exception to enter the US
  • Anyone deemed in the national interest of the United States
  • There are also exemptions for diplomats, military families and sea crew.

How does the exemption for countries with limited vaccine coverage work?

Anyone from a country with a vaccine coverage of less than 10% is exempt from showing proof of vaccination at the border. There are currently 50 countries on this list. See list of eligible countries. The list is subject to change as vaccination rates improve. There is still ultimately a requirement for these people to get vaccinated once inside the United States. Please note, this exemption does NOT apply to anyone on an B-1 or B-2 Visa.

Does the exemption apply to L-1 Visa holders and E-2 Visa holders?

Our firm has filed many L-1 and E-2 Visa applications on behalf of clients during Covid. These business migration visas are categorized as “non-immigrant visas” and are therefore NOT exempt from the vaccine requirement. If you are currently inside the US on one of those visas and subsequently leave and attempt to return, you will need to show proof of vaccination status. If you are currently outside the United States with an approved or pending L1 Visa or E2 Visa application you will need to show evidence of vaccination.

The aforementioned list of exemptions apply to L-1 and E-2 Visa holders . So children on E-2 Derivative Visas or L-2 Visas are exempt provided they are under 18 (you can bring dependent children with you to the US on both E-2 and L-1 provided they are under the age of 21.) You may also be eligible for an exemption if you are from a country with low vaccine uptake.

The L-1 Visa allows you to move staff to an existing or newly-established office of your overseas business. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows people from Treaty Countries to move to the US for the purposes of investing in and operating a business.

I do not want to get vaccinated, what are my options?

It is not clear how long the vaccine requirement will remain in place. The processing times for non-immigrant visa application are usually relatively quick. Since Covid-19 has caused closures and slowdowns at US embassies and at the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), processing times have increased. Anyone considering an application today, may find that current waiting times will exceed the vaccine rules. But there is no guarantee of this. As with everything during Covid, uncertainty abounds. An alternative is to seek a permanent residency option. The EB-5 Visa (Green Card by investment) is one of the most popular among our clients especially as the minimum investment requirement dropped to $500,000 in June. Yet processing times for permanent residency take longer than for non-immigrant visas.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


US Reopens for Traveler from November

US Travel Ban to be Lifted on November 8th

President Biden has announced the United States will reopen to all vaccinated travellers who can produce a negative test from November 8, ending a twenty-month ban on most visitors from a range of countries worldwide.

Under the Covid-19 travel ban, most people who had been in the Europe, the UK, China, India, South Africa and Brazil in the past 14 days were prohibited from traveling to the United States. The lifting of the ban means anyone can enter the United States provided they are fully vaccinated and can produce a negative test.

Many of our clients have put their US plans on hold until they can be physically present in the United States. For example, some of our E-2 Visa clients have expressed an interest in visiting the US to search for businesses before commencing their application. Similarly, some EB-5 Visa applicants have wanted to visit the US to view a Regional Center project, but changes to the program (investment thresholds and reauthorization) have played a greater role in decision making than Covid-19.

Despite the imminent lifting of the travel ban, Covid-19 continues to have an impact on US immigration. It has caused a slow down in processing at both the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and at US embassies and consulates worldwide. Some embassies are back to near-normal services, while others remain closed. Either way there is a backlog of applications to process and clients are advised to act soon to position themselves in the line.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, which allows people to invest in and actively run a business in the United States has remained open to applicants throughout the pandemic. At a time when President Trump closed most other categories, the E-2 remained open to new applicants. This visa is governed by treaties with sovereign governments and is less exposed to political changes in Washington. The country in which you hold citizenship must hold a relevant treaty for you to be eligible. Click here to find out if your country holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. If it does not, you first have to obtain citizenship of an E-2 country – see Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program – before you can apply for the E-2 Visa.

E-2 Visa Processing only involves your local embassy and does not involve the USCIS. In normal times, processing times are very quick, which means the whole Grenada + E2 Visa process could take nine months on average. Covid has increased that time, but it is still relatively quick (depending upon the impact of Covid on your local embassy).

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa

The L-1 Visa is also open to new applicants after it was temporarily suspended by President Trump because of Covid. The lingering influence of Covid-19 has continued to impact processing times. Unlike the E-2 Visa, the L-1 visa is open to people of all nationalities. You can use this visa to move staff from an overseas office to the US office of the same company, and you can also set up a new US office of your foreign business and move yourself to the US to manage its growth. See new-office L-1 Visa.

EB-5 Investor Visa

The EB-5 Investor Visa has also been open to applications throughout much of the Covid-19 pandemic – President Trump deliberately exempted this revenue-raising, job-creating visa from his immigration ban last year. A federal judge reduce the investment threshold back to $500,000 in June causing a spike in demand. While the Direct EB-5 pathway remains open, the Regional Center pathway is currently on hold pending reauthorization in the United States Congress. If the EB-5 program reopens, it is anticipated that demand could be high, so some clients are already working on their source of funds to position themselves at the front of the line when things reopen.

These visa categories represent just some of the immigration solutions our firm can support clients with. While processing times have slowed down during Covid-19 and some visa categories were temporarily suspended, commerce always finds a way. Business owners, investors and entrepreneurs will always be welcome in America. Our firm has filed plenty of successful immigration applications during the past 20 months and we are excited to accelerate that as the world gets back to normal.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB-1, E-2 Visa for NIEs during Covid

Travelling to the United States During Covid: Extension to National Interest Exception (NIEs)

Life in America is returning to something resembling normality following a successful roll out of Covid-19 vaccines. However, disruption continues at the border with travelers from Europe (Schengen area), the UK, Ireland, China, India, Iran, Brazil and South Africa still banned unless you can obtain a National Interest Exception (NIE).

While restrictions may soon lift on the UK and Europe, the entry restrictions on the other countries show not sign of abating in the short term. Consequently, the State Department has extended the validity of NIEs to twelve months, permitting multiple entry to the US, so long as they are used for the purpose for which they are granted.

National Interest Exceptions permit travel to the United States, despite border restrictions. As the name suggests, you must be able to prove that your visit is in the US national interest.

Acceptable definitions of national interest include:

  • Directing significant economic activity
  • Journalist work
  • Supporting public health initiatives
  • Extraordinary humanitarian grounds

We have helped multiple clients obtain National Interest Exceptions permitting them to travel to the United States. Many of our E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, L-1 Employee Transfer Visa, New Office L-1 Visa and EB-1c International Manager or Executive Green Card clients may be eligible for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs). The same may be true for people on talent visas, such as the O-1 Visa, the EB-1a Visa, the EB-NIW, EB2 Visa, and other categories.

This issue only affects people coming from certain countries who are not permitted entry to the United States based upon high levels (current or historic) of Covid-19. As the pandemic evolves, new countries may be added to this list, whilst others may be removed. The countries as of today (July 8th) are:

  • China,
  • Iran,
  • Brazil,
  • South Africa,
  • the Schengen Area (Europe),
  • the United Kingdom,
  • Ireland,
  • India

Contact us to discuss how this affects you. Do not arrange travel to the US if you are either in or planning to visit any of the countries on the list above.

Read the State Department’s post.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB-5 Regional Center Program faces reauthorization in the US

Biden Reverses Trump-era Policy on Visa Rejection Procedure

Immigration officers can no longer reject visa applications without first issuing a Notice of Intent to Deny

By Tishita Agarwal

In 2018, the Trump administration set a policy that would allow immigration officers to reject visa applications for visas such as the H1-B Visas, L-1 Visas, H-2B, J-1, J-2, I, F and O-1 visas, without issuing a Notice of Intent to Deny. This Trump-era policy invalidated the principle of a June 2013 USCIS memo that required immigration officers to issue a Request For Evidence or a Notice Of Intent to Deny when the case suggests that additional or supplementary evidence could potentially establish eligibility for an immigration benefit. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a statement that it was returning to the principles of the June 2013 memo. This means the officers will be allowed to request potential missing documents that could qualify a case. Furthermore, this move will not only help requesters get an “opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions”, but also increase access to the US legal immigration system in general. 

This is not the first time that Biden has overturned immigration policies set by the Trump administration. In fact, right on the first day of his term, President Biden had announced several executive policy changes to the US immigration system, including suspending the construction of the wall at the Mexican border and reaffirming protections for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

Along with changing their guidance towards notice of intent to deny and requests for evidence, the USCIS issued a statement that they are also increasing the validity period for certain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) from one year to two years. Increasing the validity for these documents will allow the USCIS to shift their limited resources to priority areas, as it is projected to reduce the number of employment authorisation requests they receive. 

These recent decisions are all steps in the direction the Biden-Harris administration promised at the start of their term in an effort to make immigration to the US easier and fairer and eliminate unnecessary barriers on all levels; as put by the Secretary of Homeland security Alejandro N. Mayorkas: “We are taking action to eliminate policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system and will continue to make improvements that help individuals navigate the path to citizenship, and that modernise our immigration system”. 

In furtherance to the same, Acting USCIS Director also said “These policy measures are consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities to eliminate unnecessary barriers to our nation’s legal immigration system and reduce burdens on non-citizens who may be eligible for immigration benefits”.

While this action is in the right direction, the Biden-Harris administration has far to go before the US legal immigration system is not as congested and inefficient as it is currently. 

What is the L-1 Visa?

* The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which can be used by active US employers or those who wish to establish in the US to send experienced and skilled employees from overseas to the US to grow or expand the business. There are two types of this temporary work visa – the L-1A is for executives and managers, and the L-1B visa is suited for high-level employees with specialised knowledge. 

What is the O-1 Visa?

The O-1 visa on the other hand, requires the applicant to show remarkable skill or high levels of achievement in their field to be able to qualify. This is also a nonimmigrant visa, and is suitable for candidates that possess and demonstrate an extraordinary ability in science, the arts, education, business, athletics, or film & television and a variety of other professions. This means that a candidate must have sustained national or international acclaim in their field, or a distinction or record of extraordinary achievement in film and television. An O-1 beneficiary must possess either a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; or at least 3 of the alternative criteria.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


All You Need to About IEP

International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Program: What you need to know

The Biden Administration has relaunched the International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Program this week. The International Entrepreneur Parole program allows the owners and managers of promising startups to temporarily reside in the United States to grow businesses that have strong economic and job-creation potential.

Who is Eligible for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

As the name suggests the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is open to global entrepreneurs, but ultimately eligibility will be determined by the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) on a case-by-case basis.

Basic eligibility requirements include:

  • The business must be a startup, created within the past five year within the United States
  • The applicant must hold “Substantial Ownership” in the startup business
  • The applicant must play an active role in the business
  • The business must have secured credible funding or other demonstrable support from private US investors, or federal, state & local entities.

How long is the International Entrepreneur Parole Program Valid for?

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program is valid for up to 30 months initially. This can be extended by another 30 months provided the business is able to demonstrate that it has grown and created jobs. However, parole is not a visa and people wanting to stay in the United States for longer will need to carefully plan their options. Anyone from an E-2 Treaty Country could potentially transition to an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. If the underlying business becomes large enough or the entrepreneur privately has enough funds, then the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa offers a relatively fast route to a Green Card for a $900,000 investment. A Green Card is the name for US permanent residency, which offers the freedom to live and work anywhere in the United States.

Can my spouse and children accompany me to the United States under the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

Yes. Spouses (husbands and wives) and children can accompany the primary applicant to the United States under the International Entrepreneur Program. Spouses can apply for work authorization. The primary applicant can only work for the startup and is not eligible to work elsewhere in the United States.

How many entrepreneurs can be granted International Entrepreneur Parole under this Program?

The maximum number of entrepreneurs per startup business is three (3).

Is the International Entrepreneur Parole Program only for Hi-Tech Startups?

No. The International Entrepreneur Parole Program is for any startup business in any industry sector. Provided it meets the key criteria and can prove that it offers strong growth and job creation potential for the United States.

Do I need to make an investment as part of International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

The start-up must have received an investment of at last $250,000 from private US based investors of $100,000 grants or awards from public agencies (local, state or federal). If you do not satisfy this criteria, you may still be granted approval if there is sufficient evidence to suggest the start-up will grow rapidly. At the renewal stage, you should be able to show that the business has received $500,000 in private or public and that it has generated $500,000 in revenue.

Which countries are eligible for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program is open to people from all countries unless there are specific sanctions or restrictions that impacts all form of immigration between your country and the United States. This means that the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is more wide reaching that the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, which has more advantages but is limited to people from Treaty Countries.

How does the International Entrepreneur Parole Program Compare with the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows an applicant to invest in and run a business in the United States. One of its main advantages over the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is the length of time you can remain in the United States. While the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is limited to 30 months with an additional 30 months for entrepreneurs who can demonstrate growth, the E-2 Visa is renewable forever provided the E-2 business continues to operate successfully. Like the IEP program, the E-2 Visa needs to be renewed and reviewed, but entrepreneurs usually have a little longer. This actual validity of your initial E-2 Visa does depend on where you are from – each country has its own validity period detailed in the State Department’s reciprocity schedules.

The advantage the IEP program has over the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is that the E-2 visa is only available to people from E-2 Treaty Countries. The International Entrepreneur Parole Program could be an alternative if you are not from an E-2 Treaty County. However, there is also another solution: E-2 Visa eligibility is determined by citizenship, so it is possible to obtain citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country and become eligible for the visa. The fastest and most cost-effective ways to become a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country is the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme and the Turkey Citizenship by Investment Program.

How does the International Entrepreneur Parole Program Compare with the L-1 Visa?

Another alternative to the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is the L-1 Visa. The L-1 Visa permits the transfer of employees within the same company, the L-1A is for for International Managers & Executives and the L-1B is for highly skilled employees with specialized knowledge. Our firm specializes in New Office L-1 Visas, where you set up a new US office of your company and transfer an employee to the US to oversee the startup and growth of that company.

Unlike E-2, there are no nationality requirements for the L-1 Visa. The L-1A Visa can last up to seven years and the L-1B can be renewed up to a maximum of five years, both of which are longer than the IEP program. However, new office L-1 visas need to be reviewed and renewed after one year – which is earlier than the IEP program, but the progress requirements are usually less stringent. L-1 Visa holders who wish to remain in the United States permanently have a clear cut route to a Green Card through the EB-1c visa option.


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