{3:42 minutes to read} Congress just extended the Regional Center Program. The only change in the law is an extension of the effective date for the program through September 30, 2016. Why is this significant?

— All indications are that this is the last window for investments at the $500,000 level.

Before Congress extended the program as-is, the consensus was that all regional center-based investment was going to rise to $750,000 or $800,000. So, for all investors who do not have the extra $250-300,000 to invest, this is the time to get locked in at that amount.

— There are still many regional center certifications pending. Those regional centers which are certified before September 30, 2016, will be able to bring in investors at $500,000.

— Many investors were waiting to see what would happen to the program – if it would be extended and, if so, at what amount the minimum investment would be set.

Now there should be a flood of new applications coming in, and with the annual cap at 10,000, this could trigger advanced retrogression or nationals from the People’s Republic of China. Our guess is that the cap will be met by mid-2016, especially because this might be the last chance to get in at the $500,000 investment.

— Nothing was done as far as defining some of the other pending issues, perhaps because of Congress’s inability to come to a consensus. These include:

— Imposing restrictions on manipulating designation of Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) by states in order to increase potential investment in projects which create jobs

There are two kinds of TEAs: high unemployment areas, defined as areas having unemployment of more than 150% the national average as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and rural areas, defined as areas outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area.

— Increasing regulatory filings, certifications, inspections and reports

— Charging a minimum annual fee on each regional center, since so many regional centers lie dormant

— Adjustment of the number of visas per year, despite the fact that the maximum number was met last year

— Developers will not have to change any documents, including offering memoranda, limited partnership agreements, etc., which means there will be continuity.

While the above factors will lead to a sharp uptick in applications being filed, the most important thing to keep in mind remains the same: always make sure you vet the investment you are making, to maximize your chances of having the conditions on your initial conditional green card removed.

The end goal is always to secure a permanent green card, and that cannot happen if the investment vehicle you have chosen does not create the requisite 10 full-time jobs.

Before you choose a project, always consult with an experienced attorney to help you throughout the investment and application processes. Your future is on the line!

For questions about EB-5 visas and investing, contact us any time at