I plan to establish my own business in a rural area of Montana but I am not sure if the location could be classified as a TEA. How can I provide proof for the fact that the enterprise is established in a targeted employment area? Do I have to establish the business before filing the I-526?
You should retain an immigration attorney who is experienced with EB-5 to handle this case. Yes, you must establish the entity before you file the I-526 petition.
You can generally get a TEA letter from the state, but you are seeking a rural designation, which is different and relates to population and being outside an MSA.
The designation of an area as targeted employment area (TEA) is usually set up and defined by each state department of economic development or planning. Advisably, work with an EB-5 attorney to address this question and other related issues, including setting up a business you can use for EB-5 operation.
Each state has a designated official body that provides certification as to whether or not a specific area is designated as a TEA. A rural area is defined as having a population of less that 20,000 per census data. Business must be established prior to filing an I-526 petition and the petition must be accompanied by applicable business records, licenses, lawful source of funds evidence and a comprehensive five-year business plan that is EB-5-compliant, among other things. You should hire an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney who would help you with the process.
You do not necessarily have to establish the business before filing your EB-5 investor petition on Form I-526. You can have a detailed business plan that would demonstrate your plans and ability to establish the business. In terms of whether or not it is located in a TEA, that would not be up to you. You would have to get a ruling from the governor of the state of Montana, who presumably will have delegated that authority to an appropriate state agency or, in some cases, to the mayor and/or county official where your property is located. They too would typically have delegated this authority to their economic development office, so you would need to determine the appropriate party that makes those determinations and then it would determine whether or not your business is located in a TEA. In a rural area, a TEA is normally outside of any metropolitan statistical area or an incorporated area larger than 20,000.
Each state designates its own TEAs, so contact your state rep.
There are some Internet sites that will tell you when you put in the address. Have your EB-5 lawyer do this for you. Also, nearly every state has one person in state government at the capital assigned to write letters confirming that an area is a TEA area. Most EB-5 lawyers have a list of those persons they can refer to.
Working with an immigration attorney, reach out to the appropriate state agency that designates TEAs and see if your address, or a combined geographical area, is a TEA.
Each state designates an agency that is authorized to determine TEA for EB-5 businesses. You will need to obtain a letter from them. You do not need to have the business established, but you will need to have an exact business address where you plan to locate your in order for you to obtain this.
The definition of a rural area for TEA is having less than 20,000 population per the last census data. Each state had a designated agency that could attest to the TEA with a letter.
You can provide a letter from an authorized body of the government of Montana certifying that the project is located within a TEA. Additionally, you will need to establish the business before filing the I-526.
To qualify as a TEA, the investor must secure a valid TEA designation letter issued by the investment destination state or regional authority. This is submitted with the initial EB-5 application. It is best that you consult with immigration counsel before proceeding.
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