What Is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)

If you want to immigrate to the United States, consider investing in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). It eases the process of acquiring an EB5 green card by allowing you invest $800,000, a lower amount than the typical requirement of $1.05 million. It also makes it easier to create the minimum job openings (10) directed by the EB-5 investment program.

TEA investments are directed toward rural areas or sectors with high unemployment rates. Below is a definition of TEA, its project investment types, and the evidence required for your business location to qualify as a TEA.

Targeted Employment Areas

According to EB-5 regulations, TEAs are rural areas or areas that exhibit a high unemployment rate at the time of the investment. The United States Congress designated these areas as ones that would qualify for the lower investment amount. This policy is intended to attract foreign investors and to create greater infrastructure and employment opportunities in these areas.

Types of TEAs

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) classifies TEAs into two major categories:

Rural Areas

These are areas that are not in direct proximity to any metropolitan statistical area. They are not near a town or city boundary (based on the latest decennial census). For your project area to qualify as a TEA, it cannot be near or inside a large town, and the area should have a population of less than 20,000 residents.

Area of High Unemployment

These are locations experiencing high unemployment, or a rate of at least 150% of the U.S average unemployment rate. This rate must be verifiable at the time of filing for Form I-526.

Suppose your business is located in a metropolitan economy. In that case, it is classified as a high unemployment TEA (regions with dense populations in their center). Consult with the U.S Office of Management and Budget to determine the TEAs that fall under a metropolitan statistical area. Officials may issue a letter with these areas, which you may then use as proof of meeting TEA qualifications.

TEA Documentation

Suppose you invest in a rural or high unemployment TEA. In that case, you should include evidence of the business location in the I-526 petition. The USCIS uses this data to determine whether the location qualifies as a rural or high unemployment area. An experienced regional center provides relevant documentation for rural TEAs. This helps you win the petition and acquire a green card.

Some verifiable, reliable evidence to prove your project area qualifies as a TEA could include:

  • The location of your business
  • A map demonstrating census tracts for the area hosting your business
  • The direct source of unemployment statistics for the TEA
  • Proof of the calculated weighted unemployment rate for the TEA

To prove your investment site qualifies as a TEA, refer to any of the following resources:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • American Factfinder
  • American Community Survey

If your EB-5 investment amount is $1.05 million, you will not have to provide evidence for TEA qualification. The amount is adequate to run a direct investment without relying on intermediaries.

Reasons To Invest in TEAs

Targeted Employment Areas encourage investors to boost local economies and provide job opportunities in rural areas and sites with high unemployment. Congress lowered the TEA investment from $1.05 million to $800,000. This helps you meet your dream of immigration through a foreign investment at a lower cost.

To qualify for a green card through the EB5 program, your enterprise should create a minimum of 10 jobs within the first two years of operation. Investing in TEAs makes it easy for you to meet this requirement, as the targeted areas have high unemployment rates.

Qualify for Your EB5 Green Card

Investing in TEAs helps you qualify for an EB5 green card. With a TEA investment, you can start filling out your Form I-526. You can choose a preferred location for your project if you understand the types of TEAs and associated qualification requirements. If you have any questions about areas or projects that qualify, contact a regional center. These are government-approved establishments, designated to help facilitate the EB5 investment process. Regional centers can also help you navigate the documentation requirements, making the process smooth and simple.

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