Like Countable?

Install the App

senate Bill S. 189

Should The U.S. Create Special Visas For Foreign Entrepreneurs?

Argument in favor

Immigrants have higher rates of business creation and ownership, and encouraging more foreign entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. would help accelerate the U.S. economic recovery.

Argument opposed

Immigrants should have to go through the existing immigration channels just like everyone else — the U.S. shouldn't be making special exceptions for immigrants, no matter how skilled they are.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 30th, 2013

What is Senate Bill S. 189?

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish an employment-based, conditional immigrant visa known as the StartUp visa. It would be made available to a sponsored foreign entrepreneur who:

  • Has met the required amounts of financial backing (at least $100,000) from a qualifying investor, government entity, or venture capitalist;

  • Has commercial activities that can generate the required levels of employment, revenue (at least $500,000), or capital investment (at least $500,000) over a two year period.

The Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) would be directed to terminate the legal status of a sponsored entrepreneur (and their foreign spouse and children) if the entrepreneur has failed to meet investment, job creation, capital investment, or revenue requirements within three years.

Provisions could be made available for prospective entrepreneurs who have an unexpired H-1B visa, or have received a graduate degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, math) from an accredited U.S. university to receive a StartUp visa.

Also, entrepreneurs who can demonstrate that they have an income greater than 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or have assets exceeding two years of income at 250 percent of the federal poverty level could qualify. Other ways to satisfy the StartUp visa requirements would be raising $20,000 in qualified investment for a company that has generated $100,000 in revenue, that would create three new full-time jobs.


Undocumented entrepreneurs, their families, prospective employees, investors, the DHS, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 189

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information


The Small Business Administration (SBA) conducted a 2007 survey finding that roughly one out of every ten immigrants owns a business. In terms of the numbers from this study, of every 100,000 immigrants, 620 started a business every month. The SBA study also noted that about 20 percent of immigrant-owned businesses start with $50,000 or more in start-up capital, while the same can only be said of 16.9 percent of non-immigrant-owned businesses.

A study done by the Kauffman Foundation on the impact of creating a startup visa projected that such a measure could add (conservatively) 500,000 to 1.6 million jobs to the U.S. economy over the next 10 years, while boosting GDP by 1.5 percent. The Kauffman Foundation has advocated for passing a startup visa as stand-alone legislation rather than including it in a comprehensive immigration reform package due to its perceived economic benefits.


Co-Sponsoring Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Mark Udall (D-CO) in the Daily Kos (Previous Bill Version) 

CNN Money

Immigration Policy Center

Business Insider

The Hill (Context)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user USDAgov


StartUp Visa Act of 2013

Official Title

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.