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Immigration status and its effect on buying a U.S. home

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2022 | immigration |

U.S. law places many demands on immigrants, but it does not prevent home ownership. If you fulfill certain residency requirements and have the financial ability to secure a home loan, you may buy a home in California or any other state. Admittedly, you can expect to encounter extra paperwork and challenges, but you can overcome these with persistence and compliance with the rules.

Immigration status

Most people lawfully within the country have the right to buy a home. Home loan services backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) may be available to you.

Who can buy:

  • Green card holders
  • Lawful permanent residents (LPR)
  • Temporary non-resident aliens
  • DACA recipients
  • Foreign nationals

Green card holders and LPRs may be in a good position to obtain a home loan as long as they earn adequate income since they have likely been in the country for a while. Temporary non-resident aliens seeking a home loan will have to obtain documentation from their employers that they have been working here and will continue to do so. A work visa that is about to expire will cause lenders to decline your loan application.

Lender requirements

Being allowed to buy property is not the same thing as qualifying for a loan. Lenders scrutinize all loan applicants for creditworthiness, but immigrants must produce documentation that proves their current immigration status and income.

Loan applicants must also show lenders:

  • Previous U.S. tax filings
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Good credit history

Foreign nationals may encounter more difficulty getting loans because lenders want evidence that you have lived here for at least two years, obtained a Social Security number and are creditworthy. Cash purchases, however, remain an option for foreign nationals who have yet to fulfill the requirements set by lenders.