Corner house

As of June 25, 2018, we’ve made some changes to the way our mortgage approvals work. You can read more about our Power Buyer ProcessTM.

Whether you’ve come from thousands of miles away or just a few, you’ve made it to the United States. Putting down your roots is an important step of the process, and one way to do that is through owning a home, which is a huge part of the American dream for many people.

Preparation is one key to owning a home. Let’s talk about some of the documentation and requirements for immigrants who are applying for a home loan.

Mortgage Documentation Needed by Immigration Status

One of the key factors in determining the documentation needed for mortgage eligibility is your legal residency status within the U.S. Different lenders may have different policies regarding what’s required, but all will need you to prove residency status. The following sections are based on the policies of Quicken Loans.

Permanent Residency

If you immigrated as a permanent resident, you can apply for a mortgage under the same terms as a U.S. citizen, but you also need proof of residency status. This can be provided in any of the following forms:

  • A green card (permanent or conditional residency)
  • A valid foreign passport with a stamp that it’s been approved as temporary evidence for an I-551 (green card) with an unexpired date showing that employment is authorized

If your green card is expired or will expire in the next six months and you currently live in the U.S., please visit U.S. citizenship and immigration services in order to begin the process of renewing your green card.

Conditional Permanent Residency

If you’re considered a conditional permanent resident, you can apply for a mortgage under the same terms as a citizen, but you also need one of the following pieces of documentation:

  • An unexpired two-year green card that has its conditions/limits and an expiration date listed
  • An unexpired foreign passport with a valid stamp that reads “Upon endorsement serves as temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residence for 1 year”

If you’re still waiting for a decision regarding your permanent residency, make sure you have a copy of your I-797 or I-829.

Asylee and Refugee Status

If you’ve been granted refugee or asylum status within the U.S., you can also apply for a mortgage under the same terms as a citizen, with proof of your asylee or refugee status as well as one of the following documents:

  • Form I-94A stamped with valid employment authorization
  • A copy of your employment authorization document
  • Any other evidence of asylee or refugee status provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

If you’re a refugee, you can also apply with a foreign passport that’s been stamped “Admission for Permanent Residence” with an unexpired date.

Non-Permanent Residency

If you’re a non-permanent resident, the required paperwork you need with your mortgage application depends on the type of loan you’re applying for.

For conforming loans below jumbo levels (generally $453,100, but could be higher in high-cost areas), you must have a valid visa or employment authorization document. There are a lot of different types, but the key rule here is one involving your ability to remain employed in the U.S.

In order to get approved for a home loan, there’s an expectation that you’ll be able to continue working and reside in the U.S. for at least the next three years.

With a jumbo loan, you also need three years of established residency and work history in the U.S.

Restrictions

In terms of mortgage approvals, there are a couple of restrictions for all non-U.S. citizens.

  • If you have full diplomatic immunity, you can’t qualify for a mortgage because you’re not subject to U.S. law.
    • However, limited diplomatic immunity that only applies to work duties is OK.
  • Additionally, anyone applying for a mortgage must have a valid Social Security number.

Credit Considerations

The paperwork is just the first step. Moving from another country, you may have to convert your existing credit to U.S. credit in order to apply for any kind of loan or credit card.

In some cases, if you’re relocating through your company for employment in the U.S., it may be possible to do a nontraditional credit check – you provide documentation based on your credit history in any country in which you’ve established credit.

If you are using international credit, you also have to complete a homeownership education course. Your Home Loan Expert will be able to give you more information on courses that qualify.

Whether a credit conversion is necessary may depend on your situation at the time of the loan and the policies of your lender. Not all lenders are set up for this process. At this time, Quicken Loans doesn’t offer international credit conversion.

In order to make the process of converting your credit smooth, have your U.S. Social Security number as well as pay stubs for proof of income at the ready. Four credit references, each with a two-year history and contact information from your former country, are also necessary, as are bank account statements. One of the credit references must be your housing or rent.

Depending on which loan option you go with, there are different requirements regarding credit history. For now, just know you’ll have to meet standard credit requirements in order to qualify.

The fact that you’ve come to the U.S. shouldn’t be a roadblock for you to buy a home. You may have to gather some additional documentation, but after that, everything about the mortgage process is the same.

If you’re ready to apply, you can get started online or give one of our Home Loan Experts a call at (888) 980-6716. If you have any questions, you can leave them for us in the comments section below.

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This Post Has 87 Comments

  1. I recently obtained a Green Card. I´m in the process of moving to USA. I have financial stability, however, I´ll be looking for a job at the same time I´ll be looking for permanent housing. I have also strong credit history in my local country. What do you recommend to be my first steps toward mortgage loan to buy a house??

    1. Hi Gustavo:

      The first step is probably to get a job here. One of the biggest factors mortgage lenders look at is your ability to show a continuance of income so they know you’ll have the funds to pay the mortgage. You also will likely need to start by building your credit in the U.S. Unfortunately, many lenders including Quicken Loans aren’t set up to do conversion based on your international credit records. However, building good credit here will help you now and in the future. You could also speak with one of our Home Loan Experts. Since you’re not here yet, I’m going to give you our international number. That’s (888) 855-1822. We can work with you to come up with a game plan. Hope this helps!

  2. Hi there
    I’m non-US resident and currently under a petition( don’t know how long it will take to get greencard). I have social security number, work permit, tax return for 3 years,credit score about 680, and I can down payment about 20%( about $50-$60k) for $250k house.
    Is it possible to get a mortgage loan?

    Thank you

    1. We can certainly look into all potential options. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716.

  3. Hello
    I am looking to get a mortgage. I am paying 2/3 of the amount in cash and rest I want to get a mortgage.
    Since I am new here (Only one year) and on L visa is there anyway its possible.
    I haven’t applied for my tax return yet. My Credit history is very good as I already got a couple of car loan approved but its fairly new.
    I found the house I like I went two couple of different lenders who all told me that without a couple of years of tax returns there is no way I can apply for a mortgage.
    Any help would be appreciated
    Thank you

    1. Hi Danish:

      I can tell you for certain that we need one year and in many cases we need two years. What I can do is suggest you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts. They would be able to evaluate your visa status and talk about the best path forward for you in terms of getting your credit ready and the documentation needed, so that when you are ready to apply, everything could go as smoothly as possible. You can give us a call at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  4. I am a US citizen who is living and working abroad for the past 8 years. While I have a 740 credit score and still have bank accounts, PO Box and physical address in the U.S. I can use, I am paid in Euros which goes into a European bank account from a European company with no physical presence in the US. This seems to be a problem for most US lenders and it is making it difficult as I want to buy a house back home. Can quicken loans lend to me in this situation?

    1. Hey Joe:

      We do have the option of financing if you’re a U.S. citizen with foreign employment. I’m not personally sure how it works with foreign currencies, but you’re not the only one that has the situation and one of our Home Loan Experts should be able to help you. I’m going to recommend you reach out to (888) 855-1822. We can work with you to go over your options.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  5. Hi, I am a Canadian Citizen living and working in Texas, I was wondering if I can be eligible for an FHA Loan. Please provide information, dot want to keep renting 🙂 thanks

    1. Hi Alfredo:

      That depends on the type of residency you have here, but we would certainly love to look into your options. Provided your documentation is in order, there’s no reason you couldn’t get an FHA loan. I’m going to recommend you get started by talking to one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  6. I am a permanent Green card holder married to a US citizen I only have 1 year 4 months of work history in the US. I was told I have to have 2 years of work history to qualify for a home mortgage with my spouse. Is this correct or are green card holders able to qualify without 2 years of work history in the US?

    1. Hi Kirsty:

      This topic it’s a little complicated and I want to make sure you get the right advice. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. Thanks!

      Kevin Graham

  7. I have pending asylum case in USA, and I have valid EAD card for next 1,5 years, I’ve been working in USA last 4 years, my credit score is good. With my current employer I’m almost a year. I found a condo which I’d like to buy. The question: am I going to be qualified for a mortgage for that condo?

    1. I want to make sure you get the right information and especially with something like this, everyone’s situation is different. I’m going to recommend you get in touch with one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716.

  8. Hi
    I have pending asylum status
    I do have a work permit plus a valid SSN
    Have been working continually in USA for the last 14 months with one tax return till now
    After i get my second tax return will be a chance for my approval as per documents
    Thanks

    1. Hi Hayder:

      I’m going to get this to our Client Relations team so they can get this information to your Home Loan Expert. Thanks!

      Kevin Graham

  9. My work visa has expired. I’m out of status. Meaning I don’t have any legal status whatsoever till I married my fiancée which is a US citizen. That won’t happen till maybe next year,
    If God will. My income is great, my credit is great, I just don’t have the legal documentations now. My i94 for my j2 doesn’t show any expiration date, however my i94 for my h1b has expired in 2013. Can I get a loan?

    1. Hi YBY:

      You do have to show some sort of legal residency status. That being said, we can look into your options and have someone go over it with you. One of our Home Loan Experts would be able to tell you definitively whether you can do anything. You can get in touch with them at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  10. hello,

    My name is Ron, I am Canadian. live and work in the Greater Toronto Area.
    I have been investing in the US real estate for the last 10 years and hope to keep doing it for a while.
    I have rentals in SC, Excellent FICO score, bank accounts, mortgages and I file taxes in the US (ITIN)
    will you be able to provide mortgage at that specific case?

    Thank you,

    Ron A.

    1. Hi Ron:

      Unfortunately, we need you to have a valid Social Security number in order to work with you. I’m sorry.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  11. My wife has a L1-A Visa and me and my kids L2. We are a few months to get the green card. Please, would it make any difference on the interest rate if we apply now or after the green card?

    1. Honestly, no one can predict where rates will be in a couple months. They change every day so they could go up or down.

  12. My husband and I are ready to look into home buying options. He’s got a conditional permanent resident status and we’re filing for his 10 year card status this month, as his 2 year card expires in October.
    My question is can he qualify for a traditional mortgage? His credit is average and his debt to income ratio is decent.

    1. Hi Destiny:

      As long as his documentation is in order, there’s no reason we couldn’t help the two of you. Now, you said his card expires in October. Depending on how long the process takes with finding a house and so forth, you may just have to make sure he has the documentation for his 10-year card. I’m speaking only about his residency status here. We would still have to check his credit and debt-to-income ratio, but you can certainly look into your options. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716. They would be able to help you go over your situation.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  13. I am a recent green card holder (not sure what my credit score is but it can’t be too high) married to a US citizen with fair credit and we are first time home buyers in TX. Will we be able to apply for a mortgage? We would be looking to be pre-approved and in our new home by mid- August.

    1. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of the Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716. Every situation is different, and they’ll be able to help you go over any options you may have.

  14. I am a permanent resident who is due to start medical residency in another one week. Please could you let me know if you have mortgage loan program for resident doctors?
    Thank you,
    Oduma

    1. Hi Oduma:

      We don’t offer any mortgages that are exclusively for doctors. However, we can certainly look in your options to get a regular mortgage loan if you are a doctor. If you’d like to get started online, you can go through the preapproval process through Rocket Mortgage. Otherwise, one of our Home Loan Experts will be happy to take your call at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  15. I am wondering why it says on here that a on-permanent resident can qualify but both times I have called in and spoken to reps they say that you have to be permanent residents. I am a citizen, my husband has the I-766 and is the only income provider for our family. id love to go with your company so if there’s any way we can please let me know.

    1. Hi Emily:

      We do mortgages for nonpermanent residents. Some of the documentation required may be different. Since you’ve talked to us, I’m going to have someone from our Client Relations team reach out to see what you were told and if we can help you. Thanks for reaching out!

      Kevin Graham

  16. I married a US citizen. We are in the process with USCIS to get my green card. I am in my second year of work permit. I have been working with the same company since I got my work permit the first time. My incoming is $90K yearly. My average Credit history is 1 year and 1 month. My older credit card is 2 years old. My spouse is a US citizen, not working right now. Are we eligible to get an FHA loan? Thanks.

    1. Hi Alex:

      I can’t really answer questions regarding your qualification on the blog. For that, you would need to talk to one of our Home Loan Experts by filling out this form or calling 888-728-4702.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

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