Foreign national mortgage for non-US citizens

  • January 13, 2020
  • by D Bianco

You don't have to be a US citizen to qualify for a US mortgage.

· If you're a permanent resident alien, you'll need your social security number and valid green card. At Cliffco Mortgage your mortgage application process will be very similar to that of US citizens.

· If you're a non-permanent resident alien, a green card is not required, but a social security number is required. You can finance a home if you produce a valid US work permit or an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or a special employer-sponsored visa. Lenders must verify that you'll be able to live and work in the United States for at least three years.

· The two types of the non-citizen home purchaser in the United States — the resident who wants a primary residence, and the non-resident who want a vacation property. Each buyer can finance properties with a foreign national mortgage, but the loans are different.

Permanent resident aliens

Both permanent and non-permanent resident aliens can obtain a mortgage from a mortgage bank in the United States, pretty much like everyone else. They can even get FHA Loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac home mortgage loans with as little as three percent down.

The documentation requirements depend on the borrower's status.

If you're a permanent resident alien you'll need a green card and your social security number. Your mortgage application process for your mortgage loan will be very similar to that of US citizens.

Non-permanent resident aliens

Even if you're a non-permanent resident alien and you don't have a green card, but you have a social security number, you can still qualify for a mortgage. You can finance a home mortgage if you produce a work permit or Employment Authorization Document or special employer-sponsored visa.

Cliffco Mortgage must verify that you'll be able to live and work in the country for at least three years. Even if your permit is set to expire in less than three years you can still qualify for a home mortgage. Cliffco Mortgage or any other mortgage lender must evaluate your likelihood of remaining in the country and decide accordingly.

FHA mortgages for non-resident aliens

The ongoing employment history and residency requirement is easier to satisfy with an FHA mortgage. Guidelines state that if you've had your visa or work permit renewed at least once, Cliffco Mortgage can safely assume that your employment and residency in the United States will continue.

If you've never renewed your visa or permit before though, Cliffco Mortgage will probably investigate further. It may check for status information with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, or contact your employer.

Foreign national loans for non-residents

It's harder for borrowers outside the US to finance mortgages for second homes here. However, Cliffco Mortgage does offer these mortgages to foreigners. They are riskier, so they carry higher interest rates. Borrowers also have to make larger down payments to limit the risk associated with the mortgage.

What about credit scoring?

One challenge foreign borrowers face is the lack of credit reporting data. It can take years to accumulate enough of a credit history to generate a good score. Or any score.

However, there are options for those with so-called "thin files." Mortgage lenders can order non-traditional credit reports for applicants with no credit score. Non-Traditional Reports contain records like rental payments and history, utility payments and other monthly payments. Accounts like childcare, tuition, and personal loans — even a 12-month history of regular savings deposits — count as trade lines.

The United States has a long tradition of welcoming foreigners and allows them to buy and finance homes.

-by D Bianco