The comprehensive immigration reform bill 2013 finally provides the long and anxiously awaited Startup Visa Act provisions. Titled – Investing in New Venture, Entrepreneurial Startups and Technologies, the provisions include a non-immigrant visa category and an immigrant visa category.
A qualified entrepreneur can apply for this visa. A qualified entrepreneur means:
- Has significant ownership in a US business
- Is employed in a senior executive position
- Submits a business plan to the USCIS, and
- Had a substantial role in the founding or early stage growth and development of such US business entity.
Invest Non-Immigrant Visa:
- Initial admission for 3 years
- May be renewed for an additional 3 years, if during the most recent 3 year period alien did the following:
- Created at least 3 full-time jobs AND received $250,000 qualified investment.
- Created at least 3full-time jobs AND during the 2 year period ending on the date extension applied for generated at least $200,000 annual revenue.
- May obtain a renewal for up to 2 one-year periods for a waiver from the above if the alien has made substantial progress and that such renewal is economically beneficial to the US.
Invest Immigrant Visa: There are 2 types:
- Must be qualified entrepreneur
- Maintained valid non-immigrant status in the US for at least 2 years.
- During the 3-year period ending on the date extension filed alien has
- Significant ownership in a US business entity that has created at least 5 full-time jobs AND has received $500,000 qualified investment in the alien’s business.
- Has significant ownership in US business that created at least 5 full-time jobs AND generated at least $750,000 annual revenue during the last 2 year period. AND, no more than 2 other aliens have received non-immigrant invest visa status on the basis of alien’s ownership of such business.
- Must be qualified entrepreneur
- Maintained valid non-immigrant status in the US for at least 3 years prior to filing for such status.
- Holds an advanced STEM degree, AND
- During the 3-year period ending on the date the alien files petition under this section:
- Alien has significant ownership in US business that created at least 4 full-time jobs. AND received qualified investment of at least $500,000
- Alien has significant ownership in US business that created at least 3 full-time jobs. AND during the 2-year period ending on such date generated at least $500,000.
At first reading, these provisions seem reasonable to me and I think will greatly benefit the US economy. It does not restrict the type of business entity/industry. There is no specified percentage of ownership in business. There are definitions of certain terms and other important smaller details. I will include them soon.
However, the Invest Non-Immigrant visa should be amended to dual intent visa. It appears that Non-immigrant Invest visa is 6 years (or 5 if they need a waiver) maximum. I would hope and guess that the intent of the senators might have been to have these people apply for the Invest Immigrant visa in due course (perhaps akin to L1A to EB1(3) multinational transfers).
Entrepreneurs get 10 points in merit-based assessemnt if they have at least 2 employees in zone 4 or 5. Job zones are based on the ONET determination of how much preparation is required. Zone 5 requires the most preparation and 1 requires little/none. So, this would mean for entrepreneur to get 10 points, the jobs have to be what we currently call specialty occupations (H1b term).
As I read more and understand more, I will update this article. In the interim, the above provisions sum up a great addition to immigration reform.
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