What is an EB-5 Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?

The EB-5 Visa is one of the most efficient ways to secure a U.S. Green Card.

But at a cost of $1,050,000, the price of entry can be high. However, there is a way to secure an EB-5 Visa for a much lower cost.

TEAs, or targeted employment areas, play a crucial role in the EB-5 Visa. Investing in these designated areas can reduce the amount needed to qualify for the program by nearly 24%.

This guide looks at EB-5 targeted employment areas. We look at what they are and the benefits they offer investors.

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What is the EB-5 Visa?

Established in 1990, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was designed to stimulate economic growth through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.

The EB-5 program is run by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Each year, the U.S. issues a maximum of 10,000 EB-5 Visas.

The program allows foreign nationals to become U.S. residents by:

Making a qualifying investment in an EB-5 project

Satisfying the job creation requirement of 10 full-time positions

Those with resident status can live, work and study anywhere in the U.S. The program also offers a range of additional benefits.

What is an EB-5 targeted employment area (TEA)?

A targeted employment area (TEA) is a specific geographic area that has either an average unemployment rate above the national average or is in a rural area.

These areas are crucial in the EB-5 program because they allow investors to qualify for a reduced minimum investment amount. They also drive direct EB-5 investments into areas that need it most.

Qualifying for EB-5 TEA designation

TEA status is based on two main criteria:

Job creation requirements

A high unemployment area can qualify as a TEA. To qualify as a TEA based on high unemployment, an area must have an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average.

Rural areas

Rural areas can also qualify for TEA status. EB-5 regulations define rural areas as those that are not within a metropolitan statistical area and have a population of fewer than 20,000 people.

The benefits of targeted employment area investments

EB-5 targeted employment areas offer several benefits to investors. Below is a breakdown of some of the key benefits.

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Reduced investment amount

Under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA), investing in a TEA significantly reduces the cost of the EB-5 Visa.

For non-TEA projects, the minimum capital investment amount is $1,050,000. However, for projects in a TEA, the price is reduced by nearly 24% to $800,000. A lower investment amount opens up the EB-5 Visa to a wider pool of potential investors.

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Faster processing times

The EB-5 process takes around 12 months on average, but the timeline can vary.

Priority processing is available for targeted employment area investments as part of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act. This means I-526 petitions are processed faster, adding further value to EB-5 TEA investments.

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Reserved EB-5 Visas

There are a total of 10,000 EB-5 Visas available each year. However, the USCIS sets aside 32% of the total EB-5 quota for three investment categories:

  • Rural TEAs – 20%
  • High unemployment TEAs – 10%
  • Infrastructure projects – 2%

Navigating the EB-5 Visa Program with Holborn Assets

Targeted employment area investments are a crucial part of the EB-5 program.

They can lower the barrier to entry and help speed up the process. They also allow you to invest in projects that contribute to economic development in underserved areas.

Download our factsheet to learn more about TEAs and the EB-5 program. Alternatively, speak to one of our specialists.

Holborn Pass is an international leader in investor visas. We provide a bespoke, end-to-end service and expert advice to help you secure your EB-5 Visa.

We are part of the wider Holborn Assets Group, a leading, award-winning financial advisory company with over $2 billion in assets under management (AUM).

Our team have successfully helped hundreds of individuals and families secure golden visas. Book a consultation with one of our advisers to learn how we can assist you.

Frequently asked questions

A TEA is simply a designated area. A TEA is usually defined as a rural area or one with high unemployment. TEAs provide specific benefits for investors, including reducing the minimum investment threshold. This makes it more accessible for investors seeking permanent residency in the United States.

In most cases, a TEA is an area where:

  • The average rate of unemployment is at least 150% higher than the national average or;
  • A rural area based on criteria as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

The minimum investment thresholds are lower for those who invest in a TEA. While the minimum qualifying investment is usually $1,050,000, it is reduced to $800,000 in a TEA. This reduced threshold aims to provide a financial boost in areas that need economic development.

Certain areas within metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) can still qualify as TEAs. For this to happen, they must meet the criteria set by the state authority responsible for designating TEAs.

Our team of specialists can help EB-5 investors verify if a project qualifies for TEA status. Alternatively, you can contact a regional center for details on EB-5 projects eligible for TEA status.

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