The minimum amount of capital required for the EB-5 visa program may be decreased from $1,000,000 to $500,000 if the investment is made in a commercial entity that is located in a targeted employment area (TEA).
The EB-5 project must either be in a rural area or in an area that has high unemployment in order to qualify for TEA designation.
High unemployment areas are geographic locations with an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national unemployment rate at the time of the EB-5 investment.
Rural areas are geographic regions that are on the outskirts of a city with a population of 20,000 or more as determined by the U.S. census.
A rural area can also be outside a geographic region that the U.S. Office of Management and Budget has designated as Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
How to get a TEA designation
The EB-5 visa applicant must provide sufficient evidence that their project is located within a rural or high unemployment area.
There are several forms of evidence that can be used to prove that the EB-5 investment will be administered within a TEA.
Some tips for acquiring sufficient TEA designation evidence include:
- Contacting the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) office to obtain published technical bulletins.
- Getting a letter from a state government body to provide rural area or high unemployment area evidence.
- Providing other statistical documentation.
TEA designation can be pursued in one of two ways:
- TEA designation through USCIS: Requires the applicant to submit a letter with evidence (examples given above).
- TEA designation by a state government: The applicant has to submit a letter from an authorized state government body stating that the location of the new commercial enterprise has been designated a high unemployment or rural area.
Some states provide a certified list of TEAs, nevertheless EB-5 visas are still issued on an individual basis.
As explained before, all visas are issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), but this agency does not have the infrastructure to monitor all the applications for EB-5 on a TEA-basis, so they generally rely on the states for that.
Anyway, all this process is handled by immigration attorneys, the above is for informational purposes only, and is a very brief description of a complex area of law.
Next we are going to deal with the EB-5 Pilot Program, which, in our opinion, is the most interesting of them all.