american flagWhether you’ve hopped across the pond or driven across the border, the United States is happy to welcome you. Putting down your roots is an important (and sometimes difficult) first step of the process, and the best way to do that is through owning a home. That being said, when you move to the U.S., you have a few different challenges and requirements to deal with in order to buy a house.

Let’s talk about the requirements for permanent or nonpermanent resident aliens who are applying for a home loan to help you take this step toward the American dream.

Legal Documentation

The documentation required to get a mortgage if you’ve recently moved to this country depends both on your residential status and the type of loan you’re applying for.

Permanent Resident Aliens

If you’re a permanent resident alien, you’re eligible to get a mortgage under the same terms as any U.S. citizen. You just need proof of residency status. This can be in any of the following forms:

  • A Permanent or Conditional Resident Card or Green Card
  • A valid passport with a stamp saying that it’s been approved as temporary evidence for I-551
  • A valid I-94A form indicating grant of refuge/asylum or a foreign passport indicating permanent residence admission with an employment authorization document
  • Any evidence you might have of permanent residency courtesy of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

Non-Permanent Resident Aliens

If you’re a non-permanent resident alien, the required paperwork that you have to present depends on the type of loan you’re applying for.

If your desired loan is conventional or VA, you must have a valid visa with work authorization.

In order to get a loan, there must be an expectation that you’ll be able to continue working in the U.S. for at least the first three years of the loan. If your residency is to expire within one year, there must be a likelihood that it will be renewed.

In terms of documentation, one of the following forms is necessary:

  • An employment authorization document (Form I-766 or I-765) as evidence of work eligibility
  • Form I-797A with an attached I-94 or other valid work authorization

If you’re applying for a regular jumbo loan, you must have three years of U.S. residency and three years of work history with authorization.

Applying for a nonconforming jumbo loan is a little trickier. You need to have been a resident of the United States for at least five years. You also have to have a likelihood of continued employment for at least the first three years of the loan. The property must be single-family or condo housing, and it must be owner occupied. A 30% down payment is required. You also need the following:

  • A valid passport from your country of citizenship containing Form I-94 with an employment authorization stamp is required.
  • You need an employment authorization card along with a Form I-140.
  • Only H-1B and H-2B visas are accepted for this type of loan.

Restrictions

There are a couple of restrictions on the type of transaction a non-U.S. citizen may enter into.

  • People who are in the U.S. for a limited amount of time can’t get a mortgage.
  • If you have diplomatic immunity, you can’t qualify for a mortgage because you’re not subject to U.S. law.

Credit

The paperwork is just the first step. If you’re moving from your home 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 many cases, it may be possible to do a nontraditional credit check. In the case of a nontraditional check, you provide documentation based on your home country.

In order to make the process of getting credit smooth, have your U.S. Social Security number as well as pay stubs for proof of income. Four credit references with contact information from your country are also helpful, as are copies of bank account statements.

 

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.

The fact that you’ve recently come to the U.S. shouldn’t stop you from buying a home. You just have to make sure that your documentation is in order. After that, everything about the mortgage process is the same. Get ready to live the dream.

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This Post Has 81 Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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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