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Where can I find information about TEA designation for an EB-5 project?

I want to purchase a business in Apache County, Arizona and use it as a direct EB-5 investment but I am not sure if the location of this business is in a TEA. I tried to look for the TEA designation information online but could not find it on USCIS’ website. Where can I find this information? What are the requirements for an area to get TEA designation?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Each state has a designated state agency that can provide you a letter designating whether your direct EB-5 new commercial enterprise is located in TEA. USCIS does not currently handle TEA designations.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    At present, each state has a designated state agency (i.e., economic development office of the department of state) that is authorized to issue TEA designation letters. In order for you to qualify, USCIS requires this TEA designation letter from the state.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you send me the address and ZIP code, I can check to see if it's eligible.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    In general, the requirement for TEA designation is that the project should be in a rural area or high unemployment area. Rural areas are defined to be locations not within metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or not within any municipality that has a population of 20,000 or greater, as defined in the most recent U.S. census. If your project does not qualify through this "rural area" route, you could try the high unemployment area route. The area would then have to be within an MSA that has experienced an unemployment rate of 150 percent of the national average. USCIS does not have jurisdiction on whether an area is TEA or not. Typically, the state agencies of the state you are interested to have your project reside have this designation authority. If you work with an experienced economist, I am sure that they will recommend to you the best course of action to take.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Contact the sponsoring regional center or project. They should be able to provide you with a current letter showing whether it qualifies as a TEA or not.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Each state takes care of this some are online.

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS does not administer TEA designations. However, I recommend you begin working with an immigration lawyer who can guide you through this process and engage an economist. I pasted text from Arizona's state website regarding TEA. "On October 6, 2009, Governor Janice K. Brewer delegated the authority to the Arizona Commerce Authority formerly known as the Arizona Department of Commerce to certify high unemployment areas that meet the qualifications for the Immigration Investor Program administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations section 204.6(e) defines a "high unemployment area" as one that is a particular geographic or political subdivision located within a metropolitan statistical area or within a city or town having a population of 20,000 or more within the state and has experienced an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average. The national average unemployment rate for 2014, as calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 6.2 percent. The ACA is certifying high unemployment areas or Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) that qualify under the standards set by USCIS. This certification lowers the minimum investment to $500,000.00 with an employment creation of 10 jobs and allows for multiple investors."

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    Robert West

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The program expired and we do not know what, if any, changes will occur.

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    Mark Davies

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You will absolutely need an experienced attorney from a firm that can cover both corporate and EB-5 aspects for a successful case here. TEA determination is not a straightforward issue and they cannot just be looked up on a map. Each project requires a TEA determination and the complexity of that determination depends on a lot of factors. USCIS has denied cases where the business is in a TEA where the impact falls outside of that TEA. I suggest you retain your law firm and ask them to guide you through this determination.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The folks at the EB5 Affiliate Network have a free TEA map. But I would double check to make sure it is up to date.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you cannot find any information about whether or not your project in Apache County, Arizona, is in a qualifying TEA, you can always determine who has the authority to make that determination. Either the chief county official or mayor of the appropriate town and ask the designated entity within the government whether or not your project is located in a TEA. To be in a TEA, you must be in a rural area as that is defined or in a high-unemployment area, which is one and a half times the national average.

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