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Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5)

Certifying High Unemployment Targeted Employment Areas

The EB-5 program is administered by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and allows foreign investors to obtain a visa if certain investment and job creation requirements are met. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) identifies and certifies Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) for purposes of the EB-5 program.

  • EB-5 projects in a TEA have a minimum qualifying investment of $500,000. For all other projects, the minimum qualifying investment is $1 million.
  • 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.
  • A rural area is not within either a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more. IEDA does not provide certification for rural TEAs.
  • Official TEA designation will be in the form of a signed letter from IEDA. Preliminary responses given for inquiries, verbally or via email, are offered for planning purposes only.
  • TEAs are subject to change annually based on the annual release of unemployment data. Recertification may be required.
  • Although IEDA, representing the state of Iowa, certifies that an area qualifies as a high unemployment area, USCIS makes the final determination that an area is a TEA.

To request certification of a TEA, provide a project address to the program contact listed on this page.

IEDA no longer maintains an EB-5 regional center as of April 2018. A list of approved regional centers can be found at the USCIS website.

Program Contact(s)

Lisa Connell

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