The U.S. Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5) has been extended through December 9, 2016, following the recent signing of a continuing resolution to fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown. The EB-5 Program provides a green card to foreign investors who invest a minimum of $1 million, or $500,000 in targeted employment areas in job-creating companies and real estate projects.

The resolution gives Congress more time to debate comprehensive reform of the EB-5 Program, although reform before December 9 is unlikely. One potential change that could occur via a "mini" legislative bill before December 9 is an increase to the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $800,000. The increase is one of the less contentious reform measures across myriad legislative proposals pending, which have been hotly debated. Fundamental elements of the EB-5 Program undergo extensive potential amendment with each new legislative proposal, which may explain the inability of Congress to achieve a compromise on a bill. We discussed developments to the EB-5 program in June, October, and December of last year.

While a mini legislative bill is possible before December 9, most practitioners suspect that Congress will defer any changes until after the election when it reconvenes in January, which is more good news for this popular program. The extension without changes means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to accept and process I-924, I-526, and I-829 petitions for now. Ballard Spahr's EB-5 Group encourages interested participants to contact their congressional representatives to show their support for the EB-5 Program and encourage meaningful reform. Ballard Spahr will continue to work side-by-side with the EB-5 industry leaders.

Ballard Spahr's EB-5 Group brings together attorneys experienced in securities, private equity, business and finance, real estate, tax credits, and corporate law to assist clients with utilizing the EB-5 Program to accomplish their goals. The EB-5 Program has led to nearly $15 billion of foreign investment in the United States and more than 220,000 jobs.

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