Dear Sophie: What is the latest on IEP?

So, how long will it take?

Premium processing — which usually guarantees U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will make a decision or issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) within 15 days for an additional fee — is currently not available for IEP cases.

Working to make IEP more efficient and effective

I recently wrote a letter on behalf of the Coalition for International Entrepreneurship to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who oversees USCIS.

Improve processing times

We recommended that USCIS either establish premium processing for IEP applications or strive for a 14-day processing time, as it currently does for the O extraordinary ability visa, the P entertainment visa and other visas, even without premium processing. These visas also have a clear procedure for applicants to follow up with USCIS if processing times exceed the 14-day time frame — we encouraged USCIS to put a similar procedure in place for IEP cases.

Validating qualified investors

As you likely know, one of the criteria for qualifying for IEP is that a founder’s startup must have received at least $264,147 from qualified U.S. investors. This is a slight increase from the $250,000 requirement when the IEP program began. On October 1, 2021, at the start of the new federal fiscal year, that amount and all other investment and revenue amounts associated with the IEP program were adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index.

Engage with key stakeholders

Finally, the coalition pressed Mayorkas to “establish regular interactions with stakeholders in the academic, entrepreneur, legal, and investment communities to further refine the program” and mentioned restarting the USCIS Entrepreneur in Residence Initiative, a program that tapped industry expertise to strengthen USCIS policies and practices that originally launched in 2011 when Mayorkas was USCIS director.

Best short-term option?

Given your timing sensitivity, please consider the O-1A extraordinary ability visa with an immigration attorney. Many of our founder clients qualify for the O-1A, which is the quickest option and premium processing is available.

Find Out More about International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) and how it applies to founders seeking to come to the United States.

Sophie Alcorn is an attorney and Board Certified as a Specialist in United States Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California.



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