The Startup Visa Act
The Startup Visa Act of 2011 was introduced in Congress in 2011 but did not pass. The goal of this visa was to provide a visa to entrepreneurs who have generated outside funding from investors to start a business in the United States. The proposed visa would have been an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act and carried two requirements. First, the entrepreneur must demonstrate a certain amount of financial backing and show that their commercial activities will generate certain levels of employment, capital or investment. While the startup visa could have been a good option for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the US, the bill was never enacted. The Startup Visa was introduced in Congress again in 2013 and the bill is still currently under review.
Many have been advocating for immigration reform and many are in support of a startup visa. Some hope appeared to be on the horizon with Obama’s executive action on immigration reform. While the executive action proposed significant changes to immigration reform and specifically to entrepreneurs, a startup visa could further benefit the US economy. A startup visa would encourage entrepreneurs to build companies on US soil and promote growth of the economy.
Obama Executive Action on Immigration Reform
Obama proposed some new options for entrepreneurs in the executive action announced last November. These new proposals include the national interest waiver and parole status for an immigrant who would offer a significant public benefit. These programs require the entrepreneur to demonstrate substantial financial backing or show a promise of innovation and job creation through new technology. We discussed the parole program in a more in-depth post. To read this post, click here.
Other Resources Offered to Entrepreneurs by Obama Administration
Obama, an active proponent of immigration reform and immigrant entrepreneurs, has introduced other resources to assist entrepreneurs that entrepreneurs can use in the meantime to assist with researching visa options. The Obama Administration created the Entrepreneur Pathways, which is a resource to help entrepreneurs easily navigate the US visa system. The resource explains which visas may be available to the applicant and what is required to apply.
With Obama’s executive action for immigration reform that proposed additional options for entrepreneurs there could be hope for a new startup visa. With the emergence of many start up companies making it big in the US, this could put additional pressure on Congress to pass a startup visa.
Other Options for Entrepreneurs
In the meantime there are other business visa options available to utilize while the startup is not yet available. Talking to an attorney about other options that may be available can be a good start to figure out options, requirements that must be met and determining filing deadlines. The Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal has experience helping many apply for various types of visas.