For today’s investors, it is almost essential that the location of an EB-5 project be designated as a targeted employment area (TEA). TEA designation allows an EB-5 investment of only $900,000, whereas a project not located in a TEA requires a $1.8 million investment.
EB5AN has a free, comprehensive TEA map to help you determine if your EB-5 project is located in a TEA. Simply type in the project’s address and the map will tell you if the project qualifies for the lower EB-5 investment amount of $900,000.
There are two ways for an EB-5 project location to become officially designated as a TEA: (1) The project is located in an area with unemployment at least 50% higher than the national average, or (2) the project is located in a rural area.
To qualify as a high unemployment TEA, an EB-5 project must be in an area with an unemployment rate at least 1.5 times the national average unemployment rate.
To qualify as a rural TEA, an EB-5 project must be located outside of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA), as determined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, as well as be outside any town or city of more than 20,000 residents. Population is determined by the most recent 10-year U.S. Census.
USCIS determines TEA designation as a part of each EB-5 investor’s I-526 application and during the I-924 project exemplar process for TEA projects seeking preapproval from USCIS. Each applicant or project sponsor must show sufficient third-party evidence that an EB-5 project’s location qualifies as a TEA. Acceptable forms of documentation include geographic and population data from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, current unemployment data and statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), or other third-party statistical documentation on local population and unemployment.