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Non-citizens and immigrants can get home loans

Can a foreign citizen or immigrant get a home loan (mortgage) in the U.S.?

Is it possible to get a home loan as a foreign citizen or immigrant?  The short answer is yes, typically with a little more in the way of documentation.

The information we are providing today is with respect to “conforming loans. ” You can think of these as standard loans. Conforming loans are ones that meet the guidelines published by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Look up the limit in your area here.

People often refer to home loans as “mortgages.” In fact, that terminology is slightly inaccurate. The mortgage is actually the security interest in the property that is given to the entity issuing the home loan.

In general, the fact that someone is not a U.S. Citizen doesn’t exclude them from getting a loan.  As with any loan, the underwriter will be looking to establish the ability to repay. As part of that process, they will want to see a likely hood of employment to continue to be strong.  So, in general, temporary residents holding visa statuses such as B-1, B-2, F-1, H-3 and J-1 will not be eligible, since the underwriter will not be able to establish a continuance of employment.

When a borrower is not a permanent resident or U.S. Citizen it will be required that following items are met:

  • Borrower has a valid SSN verified with tax transcripts; and
  • Borrower is eligible to work in the United States, as evidenced by and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the USCIS; or valid acceptable Visa, and
  • Borrower to satisfies the same requirements, terms, conditions, requirements and restrictions as those set forth for U.S. Citizens

In general, the lending environment has become very detailed with respect to each individual.  The information above is a generalization and my recommendation would be to work with a loan officer who has experience helping non-citizens achieve home ownership.  A borrower should be prepared to be asked a lot of questions with respect to employment and residency status. In addition, expect to provide a large amount of documentation.  The more information the loan officer has about a specific case and situation will only help empower them as they work to get a borrower’s loan approved.

If the EAD or visa is set to expire in the near future one can expect additional documentation to be needed often including verification from the employer that sponsorship will continue. But if the individual will in fact be able to continue living and working in the United States, she should be able to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the loan underwriter.

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Peter Zevenbergen is a loan originator and area manager who has been passionate about helping clients obtain homes using mortgage financing since 2004. In addition to helping clients purchase and refinance their home loans; Peter enjoys helping other loan officers grow their origination business. As area manager for Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation; Peter manages one of the largest retail branches in Fairway’s national network of over 250 branches.

Peter Zevenbergen (MLO-114571); Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (NMLS ID 2289).

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