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Does a TEA EB-5 Investment have to be in a single TEA?

Hello! I am hoping to obtain a green card through the direct investment route in a Targeted Unemployment Area. Planning to use a single commercial entity to invest in multiple small franchised businesses. Is that allowed? Further, can I use 2 to 3 different TEA''s or only a single TEA? What if my investments location''s TEA designation is removed after initial approval from USCIS? Thank you for your help!

Answers

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    Lei Jiang

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As long as it is in TEA, it is ok. Also, as long as TEA designation is valid when you file I-526, it is ok. You will not be affected by later change of TEA designation.

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    Roberto Ortiz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You need to make sure that you make your investment in a TEA in order to be $500,000.00. You cannot use more than one. If the TEA designation is removed after your I-526 is approved, your I-829 will not be denied because of this.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Investments into franchise type of commercial activity is permitted. Investments in multiple TEAs are also not prohibited as long as TEA designations exist at the time of I-526 petition filing/investment of funds to take advantage of the reduced investment amount per investor.

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    Reza Rahbaran

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    At the time of filing your I-526 you may invest in one or more TEAs through a single commercial entity. As long as the total investment capital is invested prior to a removal of the TEA designation, then it is immaterial if at the time of your I-829 the investment is no longer in a TEA.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Investments into franchises are allowed. Investments into multiple businesses under a single New Commercial Enterprise are allowed. There is nothing in the law or regulations that explicitly requires the investment or investments to occur in a single TEA. That said, beware. This is not the typical arrangement that USCIS is used to seeing. I have never heard of USCIS approving such an arrangement. Be prepared, therefore, for Requests for Evidence from the USCIS. Make sure you have airtight state TEA designation letters and proof that all of the investment funds are going to be placed into the NCE enterprise, with all locations clearly identified as within one or more of the TEAs. There is always a risk when you try something new.

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    Mark Kowalewski

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    My interpretation of the following pertinent regulation is that the entire investment must be in a single TEA. The amount of capital necessary to make a qualifying investment in a targeted employment area within the United States is five hundred thousand United States dollars ($500,000). I would be interested to learn if any of my colleagues has a different opinion on this. Also, post filing change to TEA will not affect your subsequent I-829.

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    Rachel Lew

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Standard individual EB-5 program petitions are subject to greater scrutiny by USCIS. A multiple TEA arrangement is problematic as TEA certifications from the state depend on investor''s methodology of using unemployment rates for the city where the commercial enterprise is located at, or by using the census tract methodology. Because unemployment rate data changes every year, the data used in determination of TEA qualification depends on the specific location of the commercial enterprise. For example, a designated TEA area can potentially be riskier simply due to the economy of the area and the potentially higher crime rate, due to geographic isolation, inadequate infrastructure, or an insufficient supply of qualified workers in the case of a rural area. As such, an investor''s chosen TEA may lose it''s state certification of TEA at the time of removal of condition. Therefore, a multiple TEA arrangement is not workable in theory or in practice. You should consult with an immigration lawyer who specializes in the practice of standard individual EB-5 program. Statistics have shown that 95% of the current I-526 petitions are based on regional center filings, and standard individual EB-5 filings constitute about 5% of the total EB-5 filings.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In a direct EB-5, the business activity can be located in a TEA. For each franchise business activity there may be a different TEA. The TEA has to exist before the I-526 petition is filed. After the I-526 petition is filed for one investor, the TEA has to exist before subsequent investors file their I-526 petitions if the investor wants to take advantage of the $500,000.00 investment requirement.

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