A bill to establish an employment-based immigrant visa for alien entrepreneurs who have received significant capital from investors to establish a business in the United States. Read More


This bill was introduced on Mar 14, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.


Date Introduced
Mar 14, 2011


Bill Text


To establish an employment-based immigrant visa for alien entrepreneurs who have received significant capital from investors to establish a business in the United States.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the ``StartUp Visa Act of 2011''.


(a) In General.--Section 203(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 203(b)) is amended-- (1) by redesignating paragraph (6) as paragraph (7); and (2) by inserting after paragraph (5) the following: ``(6) Sponsored entrepreneurs.-- ``(A) In general.--StartUp visas shall be made available, from the number of visas allocated under paragraph (5), to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs-- ``(i)(I) who have proven that a qualified venture capitalist, a qualified super angel investor, or a qualified government entity, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security, has invested not less than $100,000 on behalf of each such entrepreneur; and ``(II) whose commercial activities will, during the 2-year period beginning on the date on which the visa is issued under this subparagraph-- ``(aa) create not fewer than 5 new full-time jobs in the United States employing people other than the immigrant's spouse, sons, or daughters; ``(bb) raise not less than $500,000 in capital investment in furtherance of a commercial entity based in the United States; or ``(cc) generate not less than $500,000 in revenue; ``(ii)(I) who-- ``(aa) hold an unexpired H1-B visa; or ``(bb) have completed a graduate level degree...

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State: CA

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District: 1st

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Organizations Supporting

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Dear Senators Kerry, Lugar and Udall; On behalf of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), I am writing to applaud your leadership in introducing S. 565, the “StartUp Visa Act” and to offer our endorsement of this legislation. TIA is a leading trade association for the information and communications technology industry, with over 500 member companies that manufacture or supply the products and services used in global communications. Our member companies have long supported legislation to update our nation’s system for awarding visas to foreign workers. Your legislation provides a thoughtful and innovative way to accomplish what should be a universal goal of attracting the best and brightest minds in the world and enabling them to do business in the U.S. The United States has a long history of innovative entrepreneurs who have changed the world. It should be U.S. policy to attract and enable to the next generation of entrepreneurs to start their companies here and your legislation provides an important tool to make this a reality. Again, on behalf of our companies, TIA appreciates your strong bipartisan commitment to and leadership on this legislation and we look forward to working with you to enact this legislation this year.

The arts and creative industries have long benefited from the contributions of foreign-born artists and other creative professionals. While this bill is not without its flaws (especially related to the investment requirements), we believe it makes an important statement that the US can be a fertile ground for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.

Fractured Atlas 4 years ago

Foreign-born entrepreneurs in the U.S. are increasingly active in creating jobs for Americans in the U.S. Fast-growing companies have long been the main source of new jobs and innovation in the United States. Companies such as Google, Pfizer, Intel, Yahoo, DuPont, eBay and Procter & Gamble are all former start-ups founded by immigrants. Foreign-born residents made up just 12.5% of the U.S. population in 2008, while nearly 40% of technology company founders and 52% of founders of companies in Silicon Valley are foreign-born. However, U.S. immigration policies are forcing foreign-born startup founders with venture capital and employees out of the country, effectively sending thousands of high paying knowledge jobs overseas for no reason. The StartUp Visa Act spotlights entrepreneurs who are already integrated into American business or research culture (since they are lawfully present, working for a U.S. organization or conducting graduate research here). The StartUp Visa Act will create jobs and increase America’s global competitiveness. We urge lawmakers to support S. 565/H.R. 1114.

NVCA is pleased to report that a new bi-partisan bill has been introduced in the Senate that is aimed at bringing and keeping the best and brightest entrepreneurs from around the world here in the United States. Introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Mark Udall (D-CO), the StartUp Visa Act of 2011 will permit entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. or to remain here after completing university studies if they meet certain criteria, including receiving investment in their businesses from a qualified U.S. investor. This would include venture capital dollars.

Organizations Opposing

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While I am fond of Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), and Mark Udall (D-CO), all valuable members of the Senate, there is an air of unreality about the immigrant entrepreneur bill that they have introduced. The twin premises behind the legislation, which I question, are that innovative potential immigrants who want to come to the U.S. are not coming because of the current laws, and that this legislative proposal will take care of that alleged problem. David North's blog post at

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Bill Summary

A bill to establish an employment-based immigrant visa for alien entrepreneurs who have received significant capital from investors to establish a business in the United States.

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