It looks like the startup founder visa, a concept that has a lot of backing from the startup and venture community, might actually become a reality: Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar (a Democrat and a Republican, respectively) today introduced the Startup Visa Act, which reflects many of the ideas pushed by the movement’s advocates.

The idea is to create an alternative to existing visa programs like the H-1B, a temporary visa for immigrants working in high-tech or other specialized fields. The H-1B visa, in particular, has been in extremely high demand in past years, but the program has also been somewhat controversial because of competition with US workers. A special founder visa would prioritize bringing entrepreneurs into the country, keeping the United States competitive as a hub of global startup activity. A startup visa should also avoid some of the controversy of other visa programs, since a startup founder is ostensibly creating jobs, not competing for them.

Specifically, Kerry and Lugar propose creating a visa for startup entrepreneurs who have raised at least $100,000 per founder and $250,000 per company from US investors. In the two years after receiving a visa, those entrepreneurs are required to either create five jobs for employees who aren’t immediate family members, raise $1 million in financing, or generate $1 million in revenue.

I’ve embedded the text of the proposed act below.

Startup Visa Act Final Final 1



VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member