Startup Visa May Become a Reality

Law Firm Newswire



Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 30, 2016 – It appears that before he leaves office President Obama may yet create a startup visa for immigrant entrepreneurs wanting to launch a business in the United States. The International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) may be put into place soon.

According to the White House, the IER would likely be put in place after a 45-day comment period. Choosing to push a “rule” through works around Congress holding immigration legislation up by stalling it until it dies on the floor. It appears the IER is to be linked to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The IER proposes to allow foreign startup entrepreneurs who successfully raised money from American investors to come to the United Sates for two to five years or longer if they meet all the requirements.

The rule would allow the government to permit temporary entry into the United States for at least two reasons, one of which is the most salient reason for creating IER, “significant public benefit.” Immigrants have founded 25 percent of high-tech startups in the United States and over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies.

One possible drawback relating to this proposed rule would be the no cap on the number of people admitted into the United States. However, there would be significant restrictions to those applying.

“It could be and is now being argued that foreign nationals creating jobs and contributing to the economic benefit of the country are indeed providing a significant public benefit,” pointed out respected Houston immigration attorney, Annie Banerjee. Or, in the words of USCIS director Leon Rodriguez, “The rule advances a significant public benefit in that it promotes those enterprises that demonstrate a potential for rapid business growth, job creation, and innovation.”

According to the latest information, there would be two levels of admission for entrepreneurs.

Level 1: grants entry to the United States for two years. The decision may be rescinded anytime.
Level 2: allows admission for another three years

To qualify for Level 1, applicants must:
* own at least 50 percent of their business
* have raised at least $345,000 from noted U.S. investors with a track record, or
* have raised at least $100,000 from local, state or federal government agencies

To qualify for Level 2, applicants must:
* continue to run their enterprises in the United States
* keep at least 10 percent ownership, and
* either raise at least $500,000 from U.S. investors, or
* generate $500,000 yearly revenue with 20 percent growth each year, or
* prove they have created at least 10 full-time jobs in the five year period

“This is an interesting concept,” said Banerjee, “and it may mean that entrepreneurs wanting to remain in the U.S. could, after the five years are up, apply for other visas, such as the employment based EB-2 visa.”

Learn more at Law Offices of Annie Banerjee 131 Brooks Street, Suite #300 Sugar Land, Texas 77478 Phone: (281) 242-9139