Targeted Employment Area’s are where the investment needs to only be $500,000, not $1,000,000. A new commercial enterprise based upon a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is either a rural area or an area of high unemployment at the time of the capital investment or at the time of filing the I-526, whichever occurs first. The investor may directly provide evidence of TEA eligibility or seek assistance from the state government. Only an “agency, board, or other appropriate governmental body of the state,” and not a local or municipal government, may designate a TEA. If the project is in a TEA then the investment amount may be a minimum of $500,000 instead of $1 million. If a regional center wishes to have the minimum investment of $500,000, it too must be located in a TEA. Each investor must establish the TEA and if one investor was approved but the TEA ceased being a TEA before the second investment made his investment, the second investor would be ineligible. USCIS however will not deny an I-829 if the TEA has ceased after the approval of Conditional Residency status.
Rural Area Defined—An area that is outside a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and outside of a city or town having a population of 20,000 or more based on the most recent national census.
High Unemployment Area Defined—An area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average. Look to most recent information from federal or state government including the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Local Area Unemployment Statistics) or a state designation. However, if it is a state designation, the state must notify USCIS of the agency, board, or other appropriate governmental body of the state which shall be delegated the authority to certify the area. “Evidence of such a designation, including a description of the boundaries of the geographic or political subdivision and the method or methods by which the unemployment statistics were obtained, may be submitted in support of the Form I-526 in lieu of other documentary evidence.