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How to get TEA designation in California city?

I am with a large California development company. We learned about the EB-5 program and are now in the early stages of researching whether we may raise investor capital to fund a piece of our projects capital stack. If so, we would like to hire a legal advisory team to provide offering documents and advise on marketing the offering abroad to raise the requisite capital. The project will be in a small city in Santa Barbara County with a population of five thousand residents per the Census. The city is not designated a TEA by the CA state government to our knowledge. The city is not listed as one of the four cities in Santa Barbara county in California's List of Designated Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Counties and Cities. Based on the city's census tract, the city is not a designated high unemployment census tract using CA's list of 2012 unemployment data. The city's census tract is not directly bordering another city’s census tract per the 2010 census tract map of Santa Barbara County on census.gov. Would it be possible to receive a TEA designation in this small city and how would this be done? Would GO Biz designate it as a TEA via a Special TEA application if we combine adjacent census tracts and calculate the average unemployment rate of the combined tracts and if so how many tracts? Does the population of the city (5000) qualify the city under the rural area criteria?

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    Reza Rahbaran

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is essential to retain an EB-5 attorney. An EB-5 attorney will know if the geographical area you are interested in is in a targeted employment area. If it is not in a TEA, the attorney can assist you in obtaining TEA designation from the state of California. Further, the attorney may introduce you to intermediaries who have sourced foreign investors.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is quite obvious you are analyzing the EB-5 rules and policies as they relate to TEA's correctly and effectively. To have a marketable EB-5 project the NCE/JCE has to be in a TEA so the minimum investment requirement is USD $500,000.00. By retaining an experienced EB-5 attorney and law firm such as ours we would make sure the desired geographical area is a TEA and this can be achieved by combining contiguous census tracts. We would proceed by obtaining a written designation by the state of California. We continue to represent some of the largest development companies in the U.S. for EB-5 purposes. The first step will be to introduce you to credible intermediaries who have a successful history of sourcing the foreign national investors. The goal is for you to enter into an agreement with the intermediary to provide your project with the required EB-5 funding then we can assist you in preparing the EB-5 compliant documentation.

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    Rohit Kapuria

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    California is somewhat unique because it prefers to have fixed TEAs. However, over the last year, it has signaled some flexibility in designating proposed TEAs. That being said, there is no guarantee that Go-Biz would accept a proposal. Census tract aggregation (what you suggest) is the accepted model in the EB-5 world and works in most states. There is, however, no magic number in counting census tracts. I have seen one state approve a TEA analysis using 300 census tracts (doubt Go-Biz would be as accepting). On a separate note, I am also curious about whether you are pursuing a direct EB-5 deal or a regional center deal. If you are interested, our firm would be happy to offer you a complimentary consultation to discuss your EB-5 questions.

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