Blueseed: Getting Around Visa Requirements for Fun and Profit


It isn't exactly a "new country" plan for libertarians, but kind of: Blueseed, a company spun off by former associates of the Seasteading Institute, is a step closer to a functional tech-company campus floating in international waters off of the coast of Silicon Valley as they announced last week some venture capital funding (in yet unspecified amounts). See Reason 24/7's report from earlier today.

I've previously written at Reason about their survey of 181 potential startup company users, which found:

Although the company very much front-and-centers visa issues (avoiding them) as a key part of its appeal, having "An alternative to having to get US work visas for my employees" was very important or critical for only 29.5 surveyed, though 44.6 said "An alternative to having to get US work visas for myself or other company founders" was very important or critical.

A whopping 88.3 listed as very important or critical this: "Living and working in an awesome startup- and technology- oriented space." Indeed, while government is an ever-present annoyance in many respects, there are some things in life more important than worrying about what government is, or is not, doing.

38.1 percent of the respondents said they would move to a Blueseed floating environment "immediately" if it met their needs; another 50.1 percent said they'd do so within a year.

Blueseed founder and CEO Max Marty told Reason in our May issue what would be so great about running your tech company offshore, for you and the world:

By building a workaround for America's antiquated and overly restrictive immigration requirements for foreign-born entrepreneurs, Blueseed will create a means by which global innovators can bring new companies and technologies to grow near Silicon Valley's fertile startup soil.

By helping incubate new and innovative companies off the Silicon Valley coast, Blueseed can help pull America out of its economic rut, since high-tech startups are one of our most efficient engines of economic growth. 

By facilitating a working space free of nationalistic restrictions, Blueseed will create a uniquely rich nexus of collaboration and innovation for minds and ideas from all over the world—a place where the phenomenon that science writer Matt Ridley's calls "ideas having sex" can freely flourish. Such areas have always been where human innovation is most rapid and fertile.

Blueseed says that it will cost around $1600 per person per month to live in their space, and promises a launch of late 2013/early 2014. Some points of legal interest from its FAQ:

You can legally earn an income working on your startup while on the Blueseed vessel regardless of your nationality, but you can't legally earn a paycheck while visiting the mainland, unless you have a US work visa or are a US permanent resident…..You can travel to the mainland using business/tourist visas (B1/B2), for up to 180 days/year (these are significantly easier to obtain than work-visas). US residents can travel to Blueseed at any time.

Hagbard Celines need, or need not, apply–it's totally up to them.

My Reason feature on the visionary roots of Blueseed (as I see it) in Seasteading. Reason.tv on Blueseed: