EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
Governed by the federal government and administered by U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS), the EB-5 Program provides a pathway to U.S. citizenship for foreign individuals and their dependent family members through investment in the United States. To be eligible for a visa and permanent resident status, individuals must invest a minimum of $500,000 or $1 million in a new commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 jobs for a minimum of two years.
For complete information about the program, please visit the USCIS EB-5 website.
Targeted Employment Areas
The Program reduces the $1 million minimum investment requirement to $500,000 if an investor’s new commercial enterprise is located within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). By law, a TEA is either an individual census tract/ block group or a set of contiguous census tracts/ block groups with an average unemployment rate of 150% of the national average rate.
USCIS maintains ultimate approval authority for TEA requests, and thus state and local designation is not required. However, USCIS has afforded designation power to an authorized body of the government of the state, pursuant to 8 CFR §204.6(j)(6)(ii)(B). In 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry delegated TEA designation authority to mayors of Texas cities or towns which have a population of 20,000, or more or which lie within a metropolitan statistical area.
TEA Designation Requests in San Antonio
For developers and regional centers seeking a TEA designation letter, the City of San Antonio has a formal, project based process to better manage and administer its TEA designation authority. This process holds true for both TEA designation requests that average contiguous block groups and Census tracts and TEA requests for a single Census tract or block group. The City asks that TEA designation requests for more than one Census tract be reasonable and average as few contiguous Census tracts as possible. The City emphasizes the importance of the SA Tomorrow vision goals when considering projects, and projects should align with the City’s current economic development policies.
Those seeking a TEA designation must provide the following to the City of San Antonio’s Economic Development Department:
- List and description of Regional Center, company, and any other partners for the given project.
- Names and contact info for principals of the regional center and/or developer
- Detailed project description, including maps.
- May utilize Census Tracts or Block Groups:
- If using tracts, may utilize no more than 12 contiguous tracts.
- If using block groups, may utilize no more than 24 contiguous blocks.
- All Census tracts and block groups must be within the San Antonio city limits. Census tracts or block groups included in a TEA request that are wholly outside the San Antonio city limits and/or within another city’s boundary will be recommended to Bexar County for approval.
- Contiguous block groups must share a boundary. Point-to-point contiguity will not be approved.
- A Census tract unemployment analysis utilizing the Census-share method and the latest data from an approved USCIS source, which include:
- U.S. Census Bureau data (including data from the American Community Survey)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics data (including data from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics.)
- Regional Centers must be in good standing and may not have a demonstrated history of fraud, impropriety or accusations of fraud or impropriety.
- Project company, developer, and/or principals may not have any outstanding tax obligations to the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, or any other local taxing jurisdiction.
NOTE: TEA designation approval letters will not be considered an endorsement of the project in any way, shape, or form, and will be addressed to the company as confirmation of it or its consultant’s initial TEA analysis only.
Please submit questions and any requests for additional information through our online form.