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How does a business qualify for the $500,000 EB-5 investment?

I am currently working in the United States on an H-1B visa. I want to invest $500,000, start a tech company, and apply for EB-5. The target customers and operations will be in a major U.S. city, but I plan to register the company in a different location. What must be located in a TEA to qualify for the $500,000 investment? Should my company be located in the TEA, or my customers, or the jobs my company creates?

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The personal investment in the new commercial enterprise and the job creating entity in a direct investment, have to be located where there is the business activity and the jobs are created.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    According the USCIS EB-5 policy memo issued on May 30, 2013, the new commercial enterprise (NCE) must be "principally doing business" in a TEA. The policy memo provides some guidance by listing factors to be considered when determining "principally doing business." Those factors include: (1) the location of jobs created by the NCE, (2) the location of the expenditure of capital related to job creation, (3) where the NCE conducts its day-to-day business operation, (4) where the NCE maintains its assets used in the creation of jobs. Therefore, it is more likely that your NCE will be considered to be principally doing business where the jobs are created, expenditures made, and assets maintained, not where the customers are.

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A project outside a TEA requires an investment of at least $1 million. Regional centers can fund projects in TEAs and other areas. A TEA is defined as either a high unemployment area (150 percent above the national rate) or a rural area (outside a town of 20,000 and outside a metropolitan statistical area).

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    For a direct EB-5 investment, the business itself must be located in the TEA. It follows that the employees will likely be from that immediate area or somewhere adjacent. Please remember that you have to hire 10 employees directly, and please retain EB-5 immigration counsel to assist you.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Short answer: the jobs.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This is a very good question, but not an easy one to answer as it may differ on how USCIS views your business plan to ascertain where you are primarily doing business and where those jobs will be located. Please note that because this will be a direct EB-5 case, the jobs you create must be 10+ permanent jobs that your business will hire, documented by I-9s and W-2s, etc. You cannot count jobs that may be created at your customer's business because your tech service increased their proficiency so much that they could hire more, for example. Factors to be considered in making a USCIS determination may include, but are not limited to, (1) the location of any jobs directly created by the new commercial enterprise; (2) the location of any expenditure of capital related to the creation of jobs; (3) where the new commercial enterprise conducts its day-to-day operation; and (4) where the new commercial enterprise maintains its assets that are utilized in the creation of jobs. Matter of Izummi, 22 I&N Dec. at 174.

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    Roberto Ortiz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The business must be located in the TEA in order to qualify for the $500,000 investment. Further, you have to be able to create 10 direct full-time employees within two years in order to qualify.

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