Startup Visa for Entrepreneurs
Obama’s New Immigration Proposal – Startup Visa for Entrepreneurs
Nearing the end of his presidency, President Obama and his administration has proposed a startup rule, now in a formal comment period within the Department of Homeland Security. The new visa, quickly becoming known as the “Startup Visa”, would target immigrant business owners and give them a new option for staying in the country to grow their business.
If the visa proposal is approved, it would allow non-native business owners who found companies in the U.S. to stay in the country for an initial period of two years to build their startups. To qualify, entrepreneurs must have at least a 15% ownership stake in a startup where they have a central role in operations, and have raised either $345,000 from private investors, or $100,000 from government grants or other sources. The USCIS has quoted that “upwards to 2,100 entrepreneurs could be eligible to stay annually.”
It is important to note however that the above criteria only grants an applicant two years of stay. After the initial two year window, entrepreneurs can stay an additional three years if they meet a new set of criteria, including double-digit annual revenue growth, revenues of at least $500,000, and the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs. This is where the problem lies, as many qualified entrepreneurs may not meet these new demanding criteria. Numerous startups are able to grow without taking on additional investment money, and plenty are able to do quite well operating with just a handful of employees.
This visa is imperfect, as are all visa options within the United States. However, as late as this visa option arrives at our doorstep, it is important to be grateful for the brand new opportunity it will grant to countless foreign entrepreneurs that have had their eyes set on moving to the United States to grow their business but were held back due to lacking visa options. Imperfections aside, this proposal will make it easier for non-native entrepreneurs to operate, which would benefit both the visa holder and the United States.
Buda Law Group urges parties who are considering this new entrepreneur visa to call us with any questions or concerns.
John B. Buda, Esq.
1201 W. Huntington Dr. Suite 209
Arcadia, CA 91007