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What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?

If you’re looking to immigrate to the United States through the EB-5 Program and are wondering what a targeted employment area (TEA) is, we are here to help. In the sections below we’re going to go over the types of TEAs and the qualifications of each. If you don’t know what a TEA is, read on to find out why it’s important when going through the EB-5 Visa Program.

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TEAs allow you to invest with only $900,000.

What are TEAs and Why Do They Matter?

TEAs are important because they accomplish two things. First, they allow an investor to start their EB5 Visa Program journey with $900,000 instead of the usual $1,800,000 dollars. Second, it helps the targeted employment area’s economy by creating jobs and tax revenue that the area wouldn’t normally generate on its own.

Most investors wanting to immigrate to the U.S. through the EB 5 visa program usually have to invest $1,800,000 dollars. However, it is possible to immigrate to the U.S. through the EB 5 program with only an investment of $900,000 dollars. The reason investors are able to do this is that the project is located within a targeted employment area, or TEA.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recognizes two types of TEAs:

  • High Unemployment Areas
  • Rural Areas

Each type has their own set of qualifications that will be reviewed below.

Population alone does not make the region a high unemployment area.

High Unemployment Areas

To qualify for a high unemployment area the Regional Center must prove that:

  • The project is in a metropolitan statistical area
  • the area is experiencing an unemployment rate that’s 150% higher than the national average

Metropolitan statistical areas are defined as regions of the United States with a dense population at its center. An MSAs economy is usually based on the businesses located within in it. Two good examples of MSAs are large cities like New Your City in New York and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.  The U.S. Office of Management and Budget usually designates what is or isn’t an MSA.

As we stated above, population alone does not make the region a high unemployment area.

The other important factor to consider is if the unemployment rate of the desired investment area is 150% of the national average. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the national unemployment average as 4% as of June 2018. That means the high unemployment area should have an average unemployment rate of 6% to be considered a TEA.

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There are a few websites to determine if the project is in a TEA or not.

Rural Areas

Rural areas are TEAs that:

  • are not located within a metropolitan statistical area
  • the recent decennial census shows the population is less than 20,000

This means that your Regional Center project can’t be located inside (or near) a large city and can’t have a population of more than 20,000 people.

Useful Websites

To help determine if a Regional Center project is in a TEA you can check out the American FactFinder and The Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s important to note that your Regional Center will provide you with all of the project details including if the project is located in a TEA or not.

Invest in Your Immigration Future with Houston EB5 Today!

Houston EB5 is a subsidiary of DC Partners, an award-winning real estate development and investment firm with the financial strength and expertise to complete assets of all sizes and types. Houston EB5 was founded in 2010 to help international investors gain permanent United States residency in return for making a qualified real estate investment.

Our current opportunity project, Thompson San Antonio, is available for EB5 investment. Contact us to get you started on your journey to United States citizenship. The deadline to get started in the EB5 program is September 30. If you’re interested in investing in your immigration future, call 1-281-326-9349 or contact us online at

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What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)? |Houston EB5 – Houston, TX