Does International Entrepreneur Parole have any advantages over an O-1 visa? –


Here’s another edition from “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to the dissemination of knowledge that empowers people around the world to rise above limits and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in the People-Ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.” members get access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; Use promo code ALCORN to buy a one or two year subscription with 50% off.

Dear Sophie,

Are there any advantages to International Entrepreneur Parole over an O-1 visa?

IEP seems to require $250,000 in institutional support – so it doesn’t seem like a huge range to get an O-1A from there.

I feel like the O-1A has a lot more benefits too. I would like to hear your opinion on this.

— Enthusiastic entrepreneur

Dear enthusiast,

What a great question!

Parole for international entrepreneur (IEP) is best in addition to a startup visa; the qualification requirements are similar to the startup visa I personally helped prepare for Rep. Zoe Lofgren! This newly proposed startup visa is currently under consideration for inclusion in congressional legislation to boost US global competitiveness.

A composite image of immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

Until a new startup visa is approved, here are the main pros and cons of IEP and how it compares to the O-1A extraordinary assets visa:

Qualify for IEP and O-1A

You mentioned one of the eligibility criteria for IEP is to receive at least $250,000 from investors. That figure rose to $264,147 at the beginning of the new federal fiscal year on October 1, 2021 and is expected to be adjusted again in 2024. For your planning, the minimum investment and income amounts under IEP are adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers — these adjustments are made every three years. These are the criteria you must meet to be eligible for IEP:

  • Your startup is less than five years old.
  • You own at least 10%.


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