The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and is governed by federal laws and regulations. The EB-5 visa program allows qualified investors to become eligible for green cards for themselves and their dependent family members. To qualify, individuals must invest $1 million in a new commercial enterprise that creates 10 jobs.
The minimum qualifying investment within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is $500,000.
- A TEA is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. In order for the lower capital investment amount of $500,000 to apply, the new commercial enterprise into which the immigrant invests or the actual job creating entity must be principally doing business in the targeted employment area.
- A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more. The areas outside of metropolitan statistical areas that qualify as TEAs in Maryland are: Caroline County, Dorchester County, Garrett County, Kent County and Talbot County.
TEA Designation Requests
The Maryland Department of Commerce is the designated authority to certify areas that qualify as high unemployment areas in Maryland in accordance with 204.6(i). Commerce certifies geographic areas such as counties, Census designated places or census tracts in non-rural counties as areas of high unemployment if they have unemployment rates of at least 150 percent of the national unemployment rate. There is no provision that allows a state to designate a rural area.
We review application requests to certify TEAs under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and letters will be issued for areas that meet the TEA requirements.
Please review the steps below to determine if your proposed project is in a TEA and follow the instructions for requesting a certification letter.
- To identify the census tract number for the EB-5 project location click here.
- Determine if the proposed project is in a TEA. Click here for a list of qualifying census tracts in Maryland. To view a map of the census tracts eligible for TEA click here.
- Acceptable data for purposes of calculating unemployment include the most recent annual average unemployment rates published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Local Area Unemployment Statistics. For those areas not covered by BLS, U.S. Census Bureau data from the American Community Survey (ACS) is used jointly with the BLS data to estimate the unemployment rates for these smaller areas using the census-share method.
- A high unemployment TEA may be formed by combining two or more contiguous Census tracts. Contiguity is established if census tracts share borders. To the extent possible, the combined census tracts for TEAs should be within one metro area with no more than 20 census tracts in a TEA. The combined census tracts should be a uniform shape and the address should be centrally located.
- Please allow 30 days to process your request. We normally respond within 5-10 business days of receiving certification requests.