The Startup Visa Act of 2011

Today Senators Kerry (D-MA), Lugar (R-IN) and Udall (D-CO) unveiled the Startup Visa Act of 2011. This is an updated version of the Startup Visa bill from last year that is aimed at making it much easier for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a company in the US to get a visa. Today, this process is incredibly difficult and has been stifling the creation of new companies and the corresponding job creation that these companies provide.

The Startup Visa Act of 2011 has several significant improvements over last years bill.

- Lowered, More Realistic Thresholds: The minimum investment has be lowered to $100,000. This is more in line with a larger number of startup companies.

- Broadened Qualifications to Include H-1B or Students with Advanced Degrees: Entrepreneurs already in the US on an unexpired H-1B or those who have completed a graduate level degree in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science are eligible to apply as long as they have either an annual income of $30,000 or assets of at least $60,000 and a qualified US investor has agreed to invest at least $20,000. This opens up the Startup Visa to students after they graduate, which is a huge thing.

- Entrepreneurs Who Want to Relocate: Entrepreneurs who’s companies are based outside the US can now relocate as long as their businesses have generated at least $100,000 in sales in the US.

I’m particularly excited about the broadened qualifications. I think every student that graduates with an advanced STEM or computer science degree should have a green card stapled to his or her diploma. It makes no sense to me that we’d make it difficult for the best and the brightest to stay in the US if they want. While this doesn’t go that far, at least it’s now easy for them to stay in the US and start a company if they want.

If you are a supporter of the Startup Visa, go to the Startup Visa web site and send a message to Congress about this right now!

  • Craig Montuori
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=746800077 T .S Vineet Devaiah

    This is great Brad.. thanks for all the help

  • http://twitter.com/brendanbaker brendanbaker

    100% Awesome. Thanks for pushing this.

  • David Andujo

    Whit or without Startup Visa I’ll start my internet company in US this year (http://about.me/andujo)

  • Rajkris

    Hope this passes. I almost made up mu mind to return to india and start a company there. I will wait to see if this bill passes. If it does i will start my company here.

  • Anonymous

    Well done Brad. Lovely stewardship – this has evolved into a truly impressive bill. No we need to get it through both houses!

  • http://www.stefanobernardi.com/about stefanobernardi

    This could not have been at a better time, I will be moving to SF this summer and am thus forced to get an H1B visa if I want to stay. I really would not want to wait 6y to get a green card (and not even be sure about it) to start my company in the States.
    Thanks for supporting this Brad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jkuria1 Jasper Kuria

    Yep. Thanks for the good work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jkuria1 Jasper Kuria

    Yep, thanks for the good work! Much more reasonable requirements!

  • natekronn

    The US is still the best place for starting a new company, and the Startup Visa is simply a necessity in my opinion. It is getting progressively easier for foreigners to start a company in other countries (UK, Germany, Hong Kong – all have excellent laws in this regard, and even American citizens are starting to favor them instead of their home country), and with the age of the Internet and rapid globalization, they are able to sell anything worldwide, including the US (so all the revenue goes outside the country!).
    That is not acceptable for any country, much less one that prides itself on being number 1 in almost everything,

  • http://twitter.com/suyogmody Suyog Mody

    Awesome stuff. Really loving the energy you have put into this.

  • http://pupeno.com J. Pablo Fernández

    You’ll get so many companies you won’t know what to do with the jobs.

  • http://twitter.com/v4vectors Vector Graphics

    visa act

  • Steve Jones

    Glad to see the 2011 Act is off the ground. Good work Brad, and colleagues.

  • http://virginstartup.wordpress.com Brandon Giam

    Awesome to have someone as reputable like you pushing for this. Thanks.

  • http://www.enterthegroup.com Sal Pellettieri

    Wonderful news! As someone who has studied in the US and came back later for work I know it can be such a pain to get a work visa. It shouldn’t be so hard for educated people with work experience to live in the USA. This is a great step forward.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fcuencamargalef Fernando Cuenca

    Good news

  • http://blog.dinogane.com/ Dinesh (Dino) Ganesarajah

    Congrats Brad. This is great news.

  • http://www.hollman-alu.nl Aluminium Kozijnen

    Excellent news.. Congrats Brad..
    Aluminium Kozijnen

  • Goodlucksuccess

    I think this “start-up visa” may NOT work because it is extremely difficult to find any US investors to invest $100,000 that kind of big sum of money to the start-up company during this tough economic recession time.

    If investment is needed for green cards, I do believe this $100,000 should be PERSONALLY invested by US international students (instead of finding any US investors) who have advanced degrees without considering whether those graduates are in H-1B status or return to their home countries or not.

    Another option is that to allow those “WEALTHY” graduates who are affordable to give $100,000 for immigration plus paying additional immigration visa fees and put additional money for inflow of cash deposit in bank. If accumulating many $100,000 per graduate, it will help to relieve the national debt.

    Or another option is to simply give “green cards” to those graduates (in Science and Medicine academic major) regardless of whether those graduates are in H-1B status or have already back home or not. And once those US foreign graduates immigrate to US, they will set up companies on their own to hire 1-5 persons for job creations. With inflow of cash , tax payment and immigration visa fees, national debt will be relieved. Also, those graduates will invite friends or relatives to visit US and it will indirectly uplift the sales in airline tickets, hotel reservations, business in shopping malls and restaurants. These will indirectly promote tourism and tourist visa fees for uplifting the poor economy.

    Remember all those graduates need to have free criminal background check before immigration visas are issued.

    • natekronn

      Yeah, I don’t really understand why the Startup visa wouldn’t allow foreigners to start the company with their own funds. I believe it has to do with the fact that they’ll have “too much” control or something, and American citizens/investors need to have at least some involvement (this doesn’t seem to affect the UK or Hong Kong, which allow companies to be funded and operated by foreigners, even if they’re outside the country – just pay the taxes, follow the law and you’re good). Either that or they’re afraid they would have to abandon the EB-5 visa for investors, which has a $500,000 or $1mln limit and does not allow the investors to operate their companies.

      Having said that, I think there are more than enough investors in the US that would invest $100,000 (or more) – it’s not that much if the business is viable.

  • Pratik B

    This is awesome ! Thanks Brad for getting this to this stage. I plan to do my MS in mgmt in US and want to explore entrepreneurial opps in US. This will of great help.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDXA5ZXX4ZS6FOHKHEFHSTVLCA Nick D

    time to write and get this thing SHUT DOWN. Just another excuse for some one to overstay their visa expiration. Exit and return LEGALLY. Just another way to steal more american jobs.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Nick – I don’t think you understand the goal here or how entrepreneurship
      works. These immigrants will be starting new high growth companies (where
      companies previously didn’t exist). As a result, they will be CREATING new
      jobs, not taking jobs.

  • Chirag

    This is extremely good n encouraging news for qualified investors and capable students to come / stay back in the US, the land of opportunity , and contribute towards their economic growth and prosperity and of this great nation .

  • Bhushan

    Why only STEM graduates? I think graduates with any major either marketing, business, accounting, management etc should be given green card if they can start a company and hire people. I dont think there should be discrimination on the basis of majors of degree.