Immigration reform is needed to help foreign entrepreneurs develop startup companies in the United States. Currently, there is not a specific nonimmigrant nor immigrant visa category that is devised to allow foreign entrepreneurs to develop startup companies in the United States.  The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” or S.744 drafted  by the “Gang of Eight,” including Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ)  is a broad-based proposal for reforming the U.S. immigration system and it includes provisions to include a new nonimmigrant “X” visa and the Investing in New Venture, Entrepreneurial Startups and Technologies (INVEST) immigrant visa for foreign entrepreneurs. The bill  has passed the Senate and is now being reviewed by the House of Representatives. The bill addresses all aspects of the immigration process from border and enforcement issues to legal immigration reforms. It also makes changes to the family and employment-based visa categories for immigrants, provides critical due-process protections, increases the availability of nonimmigrant workers to supplement all sectors of the workforce, and provides legal status to 11 million undocumented immigrants within the United States.

The new investor and entrepreneur visas that will be implemented if the bill passes the House of Representatives in its current form will create jobs and attract additional investment in the United States.  The X visa, which is for entrepreneurs whose businesses have attracted at least $100,000 in investment from a qualified venture capitalist, a qualified super angel investor, a qualified government entity, or other qualified source, and  have created no fewer than three jobs during a two-year period prior to the application and generated $250,000 in annual revenue. The X visa will be a temporary nonimmigrant visa that is granted for three years. The bill also creates an EB-6 immigrant investor visa that leads to lawful permanent residence. The EB-6 visa is for entrepreneurs who have a significant ownership in a U.S. business and have had a significant role in the start-up of the business. The business must have created at least five jobs and must have received at least $500,000 in venture capital or investment, or created five jobs and generated $750,000 in annual revenues in the prior two years. There will only be 10,000 INVEST visas available per year.

The bills passage would lead to substantial technological innovation, job creation, and economic development within the United States. Prior to the bills passage, foreign entrepreneurs do have potential pathways to obtain a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa. Depending on the circumstances of the foreign entrepreneur, nonimmigrant visa options include: 1.) B-1 Business Investor Visa, 2.) F-1/Optional Practical Training Visa, 3.) 0-1A Extraordinary Ability and Achievement Visa, 4.) E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, and  5.) the L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa.  Immigrant visa options include: 1.) EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa, 2.) EB-2 Classification and National Interest Waiver Visa, 3.) EB-2 Advanced Degree Professional Visa, and 4.) EB-2 Exceptional Ability Visa. For more information on family-based or employment-based immigration matters, call Subhan Law Office, LLC today at 1-414-223-5718 or toll free at 1-855-946-6848.