Ohio Department of Development

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List of Identified High Unemployment Areas

Included below are lists of qualifying census designated places, and cities and villages in MSAs or cities with a population of 20,000 or more in non-MSA counties. Persons interested in constructing an applicant-created High Unemployment Area can use the census tract-level data provided.

Choose a link below to view an EB-5 related file.


EB-5 Investor Visa Program

Under federal law, 10,000 immigrant visas per year are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise. This visa program is popularly called the EB-5 visa program.

Permanent resident status based on EB-5 eligibility is available to investors who have invested – or are actively in the process of investing – at least $1 million into a new commercial enterprise that they have established. A new commercial enterprise includes: the creation of an original business, the purchase of an existing business and restructuring or reorganizing the business to the extent that a new commercial enterprise results, or expanding upon an existing business. An applicant seeking status as an immigrant investor must demonstrate that his/her investment will benefit the United States economy and create full-time employment for no fewer than 10 qualified individuals, or maintain the number of existing employees in a "troubled business". If the investment in a new commercial enterprise is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the required investment is decreased to $500,000. A TEA is either a "High Unemployment Area" that has experienced an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the national average rate or a "rural area".

Applicants to the EB-5 visa program must demonstrate that they meet all requirements of the program prior to filing with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. If it is determined that the investment criteria is met and properly documented, an investor may be granted conditional permanent residence status for a period of two years. At the end of the conditional period a permanent green card may be issued. An investor may apply for U.S. citizenship five years after the initial grant of conditional permanent residence.

The EB-5 Visa Program is a Federal Government Program

The EB-5 visa program is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and is therefore governed by federal laws and regulations. It is not a program administered by a state agency, and is therefore not governed by Ohio State law.

For more detailed information about the EB-5 visa program, its laws and administration please visit www.uscis.gov.

State Involvement in the EB-5 Visa Program

Although the EB-5 program technically falls under the purview of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the State of Ohio does play a role in the identification and designation of TEAs based upon High Unemployment Areas. Upon the request of the applicant or an alternative representative body, the State of Ohio may determine that a county, city, village, or Census Designated Place (CDP) within a metropolitan statistical area, or a city with a population of 20,000 or more in a non-metropolitan county is a TEA. In order to make such a determination, the county, city, village, or CDP in question must experience an average unemployment rate of 150 percent of the national average. Additionally, the state has the power to designate applicant-created areas based on census tracts in metropolitan statistical areas and cities with a population of 20,000 or more in non-metropolitan counties.

Ohio EB-5 Target Employment Areas

Finding or Requesting a High Unemployment Area (HUA or TEA) Certification or Designation

The Ohio Development Services Agency is the State of Ohio agency that calculates sub-county unemployment rates and designate counties, census designated places (CDP), and cities or towns that meet the "High Unemployment Area" definition and therefore qualify for the $500,000 minimum investment threshold as non-rural Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) for EB-5 program purposes.

The State of Ohio updates the employment data, generally in March, with the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimate adjusted to the most recent annual county-level employment data provided by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). The Ohio Development Services Agency is currently using the 2018 employment data from the ODJFS and the 2017 ACS 5-year estimates posted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Ohio Development Services Agency may provide certifications for applicants that are making an investment in a business venture that falls into an area that qualifies as a TEA. To get qualified as a TEA the area must have an estimated unemployment rate that was equal to or greater than 150 percent of the 2018 national unemployment rate. In 2018 150 percent of the 3.9 percent national unemployment rate was 5.85 percent.

At the discretion of the Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, this office may provide High Unemployment Area designations for applicants who can prove that the proposed new business is situated in a portion of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or city that is otherwise not a qualifying area as a whole. Requesters for such special designation must prove that the smaller geographic area or political subdivision still has a qualifying unemployment rate (based on contiguous census tract unemployment data) and that the proposed new business will have a material effect on unemployment in the carved out area.

Petitioners should consider the following prior to and in submitting a request:

  • Step 1 - A specific address for the proposed investment will be needed to determine whether or not the new business is situated in a qualifying area. However, if a specific address is not yet available, a general description of the location or close area will suffice to tie the request to a qualifying area within a MSA, county, CDP, or city. (Skip to Step 2). The following link will help to determine the MSA, county, CDP, city, or even census tract number for a specific location: U.S. Census Link
  • Step 2 - Verify that the designated census tracts combined qualifies as a High Unemployment Area (has an unemployment rate equal to or exceeding 150 percent of the national unemployment average) using the statistical analysis performed in one of the following links: