The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 has been introduced in the Senate for consideration. If passed, this legislation would allow more entrepreneurs to come to the U.S., or to remain here after completing university studies. One of the ways they could stay in the U.S. is if they have received an investment from a qualified U.S. investor (such as a venture capital fund). The goal of this legislation is to spur entrepreneurship that many in the industry feel has been stiffled by the existing visa requirements. This legislation was drafted with the cooperation of the National Venture Capital Association.
More detail regarding the Senate StartUp Visa bill is available here. Vivek Wadhwa has provided the best summary of the bills’ proposed key terms that I have found:
- Entrepreneurs living outside the U.S.—if a U.S. investor agrees to financially sponsor their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $100,000. Two years later, the startup must have created five new American jobs and either have raised over $500,000 in financing or be generating more than $500,000 in yearly revenue.
- Workers on an H-1B visa, or graduates from U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science—if they have an annual income of at least $30,000 or assets of at least $60,000 and have had a U.S. investor commit investment of at least $20,000 in their venture. Two years later, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised over $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.
- Foreign entrepreneurs whose business has generated at least $100,000 in sales from the U.S. Two years later, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised over $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.
Read more on his blog here.
Readers can track the status of the bill and read the full proposed text here. We will continue to monitor this bill as it is negotiated in Congress.