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Bill Introduced To Help Immigrants With Start-Up Ventures

A bill creating The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 was introduced in Congress this year to allow an immigrant entrepreneur to obtain a two-year visa if he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to invest in the immigrant's startup venture.

Senators John Kerry, Richard Lugar and Mark Udall introduced the legislation to drive job creation and increase America's global competiveness.

"We want to establish a way for the smartest and most entrepreneurial individuals in the world to come to the United States and create jobs. Many are already here studying at our great universities," said Sen. Lugar. "Helping them stay to invest in their ideas and create jobs benefits all Americans."

SB 565 Provides Three Options for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 would give immigrant entrepreneurs three new options for entry to the U.S. or ways in which to remain here:

Option One: The immigrant entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for a new visa if they are sponsored by a qualified U.S. financial investor with a minimum investment of $100,000.

After two years, their business must have created five new jobs (non-family) and raised not less than $500,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $500,000 in revenue.

Option Two: is focused on those who are already in the U.S. on an unexpired H-1B visa or students 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 and:

  • Have annual income of greater than $30,000 or the possession of at least $60,000 in assets; and
  • Have a qualified U.S. investor agreeing to provide a minimum investment of $20,000. (numbers are approximate)

After two years, their business must have created three new jobs (non-family) and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital or generated not less than $100,000 in revenue.

Option Three: Immigrant entrepreneurs who live outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for the visa if they have a controlling interest in a foreign company that has generated at least $100,000 in revenue from sales in the U.S. during the most recent 12-month period.

After two years, their business must have created three new jobs (non-family) and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generated not less than $100,000 in revenue.

The visas used for this new category (EB-6) would be taken from the EB-5 investor visa category and would not increase overall the number of available U.S. visas. EB-5 has been somewhat underused, so the goal is to obtain better use of the investor type visa.

If you are an investor and are interested in investing in a business in the United States, an experienced immigration attorney with the May Law Group can help with your questions and the visa application process.

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