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When do TEA letters expire?

I was informed recently that TEA letters are no longer valid for a year from the date of issuance regardless of change in census data, but that you must reapply for a new certification letter based on the updated census data on April 30, 2016. For example, a letter dated April 15, 2016 would only be valid for two weeks. Is this correct? When do TEA letters for EB-5 expire?

Answers

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    TEA letters expire on or around April 30 each year, when new data is published.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Each state determines the TEAs in their state, but USCIS requires that any area be reviewed yearly. I believe a letter dated on April 15, 2016 would be valid until April 14, 2017. The important thing is to have your TEA valid at the time of the filing of the investor's application.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    TEA letters based upon old data should be updated. For example, a TEA letter issued in 2016 based upon 2014 data should be updated as soon as the 2015 data is available. Otherwise, there is a risk that USCIS will not accept the TEA letter because the data is outdated.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Normally, the TEA letters issued by the state are good for one year. Since the census is taken every five years and the economic picture of an area could change more frequently than that, there is really no true way to base the TEA on purely the census data. Thus, the state agencies issue the TEA annually.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, the April 16, 2016 TEA letter, if using 2014 unemployment rate data, expired on April 30, 2016. TEA letters expire when new data is published, which is published April 30 every year. Since 2015 data has just been published, TEA letters using 2014 data are expired. They will need to request a new TEA letter with 2015 data.

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    Daniel B Lundy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    TEA letters have never had a one-year validity period (unless you are lucky enough to have had it issued on the day the new data came out, and the new data came out on the same day the following year). Although the states can draw the TEA district, the unemployment calculations are governed by USCIS protocols, which call for using the most recent data. So even if the state says the numbers are valid for one year, it is USCIS that decides the validity of the data, not the state. There may have been an exception in California for a time, because California refused to issue new letters during most of the one-year period. However, we have always advised our clients to get updated TEA letters whenever the state publishes new unemployment data for the year (April in most states, July 1 in the State of Washington). There is simply no reason to take the risk that USCIS will not accept the TEA certification if you can get an updated letter.

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