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EB-5 Immigrant Investors: Targeted Employment Area (TEA)

As an investor in the EB-5 visa program, you can cut your investment in half from $1 million to $500,000 if you make your investment in an area designated as a targeted employment area. If you have questions about the EB-5 immigrant visa and would like to consult with an attorney, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. We have over 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.

Why should I invest in a Targeted Employment Area?

Qualifying for the EB-5 immigrant investor visa normally requires a minimum $1 million USD capital investment in new commercial enterprise. There is an exception to the $1 million rule. If the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the required minimum amount drops to $500,000. The reason for this is because Congress reduced the EB-5 investment from $1 million to $500,000 in order to encourage investors to make investments that will create jobs in geographic areas with high unemployment or low population. The goal is to target those specific areas having the greatest need for jobs and to spur employment and economic growth in those areas.

What is a Targeted Employment Area?

There are two ways a particular geographical area can be defined as a targeted employment area. It can be either (1) a rural area, or (2) an urban area with an unemployment rate of 150% of the national average rate or higher. A “rural” area is defined as an area outside of a metropolitan statistical area, and outside of a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more. To determine whether an area is a “metropolitan statistical area,” it should be designated as such by the Office of Management and Budget.

How do I establish to the USCIS that my project is located in a TEA?

There are two methods you can use to establish that your project will be located in a targeted employment area. The first way is to gather and submit evidence to the USCIS that establishes the area is a TEA. The second way is to obtain a letter from an appropriate state agency, or other authorized entity, certifying that the area has already been designated as a TEA. Submitting a certified state letter to the USCIS rather than gathering all the evidence yourself is the better way to go, so if you are planning where to locate your new business, you can check with the state for locations that have already been designated as TEAs. Note that the regulation does not allow states to designate rural areas. If the location is not on the state’s list of designated TEA areas, you can still establish this by submitting your own population and unemployment evidence to the USCIS.

The EB-5 to investor visa category is extremely complicated, and a successful petition requires careful planning and attention to detail. If you would like further information about the EB-5 immigrant visa or any other immigration matter, please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.

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