What is EB-5?
EB-5 is an opportunity for immigrants to invest in the United States in exchange for green card eligibility for themselves and qualifying family members. To qualify for EB-5, a foreign national must invest a minimum of $1 million (or $500,000 within a targeted employment area (TEA)) in an American business that creates at least ten new American jobs.
The program has other provisions, such as maintaining the investment throughout the EB-5 conditional permanent residency period, increasing regional productivity and other requirements.
The program is divided into two distinct phases:
- In the first phase the immigrant investor is granted a conditional visa.
- After two years, the conditions on the visa are removed and the visa is made permanent if the investor has: 1. proven the creation of 10 new American jobs; 2. maintained the required amount of investment and; 3. met the residency time requirements.
What is TEA?
An area is designated as a TEA (target employment area) if it is statistically proven to be 150 percent of the U.S. national unemployment rate or it is a rural area in the United States. To qualify for EB-5, an immigrant needs to invest a minimum of $500,000 in a TEA-designated 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 according to the decennial census.
The Cabinet for Economic Development is the agency designated by the Governor to determine TEA designation. A list of current TEA districts in Kentucky can be found here.
Creating Aggregate TEAs
If a particular area does not meet the TEA requirement, that location may become eligible when combined with surrounding areas, as long as the average unemployment level of the combined areas is 150 percent of the national unemployment rate. Approval for aggregation is at the discretion of the Cabinet for Economic Development and individual retail stores and restaurants will be eligible only in rare cases. Applicants are encouraged to submit informal aggregation proposals for discussion prior to pursuing the steps below.
To create an aggregate area:
- Use the table here.
- Obtain a letter or other documentation of local support from all local government entities in which the project is located.
- Submit any aggregate proposals to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development for approval.
If a particular area does not meet the TEA requirement, that location may become eligible when combined with surrounding areas, as long as the average unemployment level of the combined areas is 150 percent of the national unemployment rate. Approval for aggregation is at the discretion of the Cabinet for Economic Development and individual retail stores and restaurants will be eligible only in rare cases.
Contact: Caroline Boeh Baesler
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
How to apply for EB-5
You must either establish or work through an existing Immigrant Investor Regional Center. Find a list of locations and further instructions on the federal process here.
Questions about TEA designation?
Contact Caroline Boeh Baesler with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development at Caroline.Baesler@ky.gov.
Questions about obtaining an EB 5 Visa or about funding your project with EB 5 investment dollars?
Contact USCIS or an approved Regional Center or visit the USCIS EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program website.