4 Key Features of the New EB5AN TEA Qualification Map


Meta description: EB5 Affiliate Network has revamped its national targeted employment area map. Learn about the TEA qualification process and the new features available on the free EB5AN national TEA map.

4 Key Features of the New EB5AN TEA Qualification Map

EB5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN) has revamped its free EB-5 targeted employment area (TEA) map by adding features that make it even easier to see whether a project site falls within a potential TEA. What’s more, users can download a free EB-5 qualification report that’s suitable for submission to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

TEA qualification is important for EB-5 investors and developers alike. For investors, it can mean that the minimum investment amount decreases from $1.8 million to $900,000. For developers, EB-5 projects that qualify for the lower investment amount are more attractive to EB-5 investors, making it easier to attract the investment funds they need. Of course, the biggest winners are the American workers and communities that benefit from the economic upliftment derived from these investments and the jobs they create.

What Is a Targeted Unemployment Area?

Targeted unemployment areas (TEAs) are areas that will benefit most from job creation and EB-5 funds. A project site can qualify as a TEA based on its unemployment rate or whether it’s located in a rural area. A high-unemployment TEA has an unemployment rate that’s at least 1.5 times the national average, while a rural TEA falls outside a town or city with a population of 20,000 people or more and outside a metropolitan statistical area (MSA).

How Are TEAs Designated?

USCIS sets the requirements for and approves TEA designation. Thus, an EB-5 investor who wants to request TEA designation must submit a TEA qualification report as part of their Form I-526 petition pack. To determine TEA qualification, we can use four calculation methods approved by USCIS and based on valid, verifiable, and internally consistent data.

To determine whether a project qualifies as a rural TEA, we analyze population data captured in the most recent decennial U.S. census along with data that relates to geographical regions, published by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. In simple terms, these two types of data show where the project site is in relation to MSAs and city limits, and the population of the area.

Determining whether a project site qualifies as a high-unemployment TEA is slightly more complicated. These calculations involve either American Community Survey (ACS) or Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data—or both. USCIS accepts three calculation methods:

1. The ACS methodology, which depends on data published for the preceding five years, with updates released every December.

2. The county-level methodology, which depends on BLS data at the county level, with updates published every April.

3. The census-share methodology, which uses both ACS and BLS data.

A project site needs to qualify under only one calculation method—rural or one of the three high-unemployment methods—to qualify as a TEA.

This seems simple enough, but the correct data sets can be surprisingly difficult to find, and errors can creep into the calculations. Directly adjacent census tracts can also be combined to create a unique area that qualifies as a high-unemployment TEA if the weighted average unemployment rate across all tracts is 1.5 times or more that of the national average. Correctly identifying tracts to include can be time consuming, and, again, it’s easy to introduce errors.

The EB5AN national TEA map holds numerous benefits for users because it’s so simple to use. The map instantly shows whether a site address anywhere in the U.S. qualifies as a TEA—and it’s free to use. It includes several other features that save money and time.

The EB5AN TEA Map: 4 Important Features

While the EB5AN TEA map has historically been incredibly useful for quickly and accurately assessing whether a project site qualifies as a TEA, the revamped map includes four new features that further improve the user experience.

1. Free instant TEA qualification report

One of the most noteworthy new features is the ability to instantly download a TEA qualification report based on USCIS-approved data and calculation methods. The report includes the data and calculation methods used to assess TEA qualification, and it can be included in an I-526 application as is. In addition to saving time, users save money, as they don’t need to have a comprehensive TEA report prepared by an EB-5 practitioner.

2. TEA eligibility based on all USCIS-accepted calculation methods

When a user inputs the project site address, the EB5AN TEA map uses all four calculation methodologies to assess the site’s eligibility for TEA designation. The process is automatic and requires no additional input from the user. All calculations are based on the most recent data available.

3. Automatic census tract combination

The EB5AN TEA map automatically combines census tracts to show which tracts combined would qualify as a TEA, taking the guesswork out of tract combination.

4. Eligibility for immediate EB-5 regional center sponsorship

EB5AN owns and operates 14 USCIS-approved regional centers that cover more than 20 states. The TEA map shows whether a project site falls within the geographic scope of one of these regional centers. Approximately 95% of EB-5 projects were sponsored by regional centers in 2019, so this is by far the most popular form of EB-5 investment.

All the features of the EB5AN TEA map, including downloading TEA qualification reports, are 100% free. The map can be accessed through EB5AffiliateNetwork.com.

About The Author

Sam Silverman, Managing Partner of EB5AN: Sam has extensive real estate development, management, financing, and brokerage experience in Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Georgia, and internationally in the People’s Republic of China. Prior to EB5AN, Sam served as the director of corporate strategy and expansion for professional golfer Jack Nicklaus in the People’s Republic of China, living full time in Beijing. Sam was also previously employed by the Boston Consulting Group, one of the top management consulting and business strategy firms in the world, where he worked directly with Fortune 500 companies in the food service, media, manufacturing, hospitality, and real estate spaces in the U.S., Europe, and Middle East. Sam is also a Forbes 30 Under 30 National Winner for Social Entrepreneurship. Sam holds a B.A. Economics with a concentration in Mandarin Chinese from Yale University, a Certificate in Financial Accounting from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.