Bill introduced by US senators to create 'startup visa' for entrepreneurs

Wed, 2011-03-16 03:16 PM

New legislation, if enacted, will make obtaining a work visa in the US much easier for immigrant entrepreneurs.

The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 would allow an immigrant entrepreneur to receive a two year visa as long as he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to invest in the immigrant's venture or can show that the business has generated at least $100,000 in annual sales from the US.

The new legislation expands on an earlier bill by allowing H-1B visa holders and entrepreneurs living outside the United States with a market presence in the country to take advantage of the startup visa.

"Every job-creating American business started as an idea in the mind of an entrepreneur. We need to keep and bring more of those ideas to our shores where they can put Americans to work. Global competition for talent and investment grows more intense daily and the United States must step up or be left behind," said Senator John Kerry, co-author of the bill.

"Creating a new magnet for innovations and innovators to come to the United States and create jobs here will offer our economy a double shot in the arm – robust job creation at home and reaffirmation that we're the world's best place to do business," he added.

The startup visa would grant three options to people looking to enter the United States or lengthen their stay. Below is the text directly from the Senator John Kerry's press release:

Option One: Immigrant entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for a StartUp Visa if a qualified U.S. investor agrees to financially sponsor their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $100,000. After two years, their business must have created 5 new jobs and raised not less than $500,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $500,000 in revenue.

Option Two: Immigrant entrepreneurs currently in the U.S. on an unexpired H-1B visa; OR immigrant entrepreneurs currently in the U.S. who have completed a graduate level degree in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science, or other relevant academic discipline from an accredited United States college, university, or other institution of higher education would be eligible for a StartUp Visa if;

They demonstrate annual income of not less than roughly $30,000 or the possession of assets of not less than roughly $60,000; and

Have proven that a qualified U.S. investor agrees to financially back their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $20,000.

After two years, their business must have created 3 new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.

Option Three: Immigrant entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for a StartUp Visa if they have controlling interest of a company in a foreign country that has generated, during the most recent 12-month period, not less than $100,000 in revenue from sales in the U.S.

After two years, their business must have created 3 new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.