What is a TEA?
A TEA, or targeted employment area, is an area that qualifies for a lower investment threshold under the EB-5 visa program. The minimum investment contribution is $500,000 for a project in a TEA, where projects outside of TEAs have a minimum threshold of $1 million.
A TEA is one of two kinds of particular areas: either a rural area with a population of under 20,000 people, or an area with an unusually high unemployment rate that is at least 150% greater than the national average.
A rural TEA for EB-5 investment is an area that's not located in a metropolitan statistical area – in other words, it's not close to a larger urban area. The rural TEA also has a population of under 20,000 people. A rural designation doesn't mandate particular types of commercial enterprises or change the minimum employment requirement of an EB-5 program or application.
Proof of TEA Eligibility
In order to qualify for the reduced investment threshold, an EB-5 applicant has to have a valid TEA designation letter issued by the destination state or regional authority. The EB-5 investor should show that he or she had a valid TEA letter when paperwork was sent to USCIS or when the investment was made.
In order to be valid, TEA letters have to be current. That means they have to be based on current unemployment information. So, in order to be valid, a TEA letter needs to reflect the most currently available unemployment statistics, typically the previous year's unemployment figures.
Does Employee Jurisdiction Affect TEA Status?
In general, to be approved as an EB-5 project in the targeted employment area, the new business has to be mainly functioning within the TEA. That means the business needs to be headquartered within that geographic area. Employees can perform work outside of the area, but there must be a central location in the TEA that's characterized as the main business location.
Understanding these rules and requirements can help an EB-5 applicant make his or her way through the process of successfully securing an EB-5 Visa. Ask professional attorneys or others close to the process about the right way to address any of these requirements and work through an EB-5 application to a successful conclusion.