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[HOT] [Q] When does investor have to show TEA requirement has been met?

According to USCIS, at the time of filing (not at the time of investment) I-526 petition. Even if TEA designation changes in future, it's OK, as long as this initial requirement has been met.

Note USCIS later clarified the controlling time as either the filing date or time of investment, whichever is earlier. Where an escrow mechanism is used, the controlling point of time is when I-526 petition is filed, but if no escrow is used, it's time of capital investment. See Dec 11, 2009 Policy Memo, pages 16 to 17.

The above position seems to have changed, as USCIS stated most recently during the January 23, 2012 Q & A meeting the following:


Q: Please clarify whether a TEA exists only for a specific application, allowing geography to change to meet investment need or if a TEA in a metropolitan area is set for a period of time (one year from approval) making the TEA community sensitive.

A: The following is taken directly from the December 11, 2009 policy memo, Adjudication of EB-5 Regional Center Proposals and Affiliated Form I-526 and Form I-829 Petitions:
“If the regional center proposal bases its predictions regarding the number of direct or indirect jobs that will be created through EB-5 investments in the regional center, in whole or in part, by offering investment opportunities to EB-5 investors with the reduced $500,000 threshold, then the Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), Rural Areas (areas with populations under 20,000 people) and areas of high unemployment (areas with unemployment rates 150% or more of the national rate), should be identified.

Note: An alien filing a regional center affiliated Form I-526 must still establish that the investment will be made in a TEA within the regional center at the time of filing of the alien’s Form I-526 petition, or at the time of the investment, whichever occurs first, to qualify for the reduced $500,000 capital investment threshold.” Therefore, the current policy is Form I-526 specific; i.e., each alien investor must demonstrate that his/her investment has been made or is in the process of being made within an area of high unemployment as part of the Form I-526 process.