Homeownership is part of the American dream — whether you were born here or moved here from somewhere else. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to own a home in this country. However, if you need a mortgage to be able to afford a home — as most of us do — it’s important to understand how your immigration status comes into play.
If you are a permanent resident (green card holder), you can apply for federal FHA and Fannie Mae loans. However, you will likely need to provide proof of how long you’ve been a resident and of income continuity. Be prepared to show tax returns for the past two or three years, at least a two-year credit history and bank statements going back at least a couple of months.
One mortgage advisor says, “Some people have to spend a few years establishing themselves here before they can qualify for a conventional loan.” She also notes, “Every lender has different requirements…so if one lender disqualifies your application, reach out to other lenders or mortgage brokers.”
Even temporary residents who are in the country on a work visa can qualify for federal home loan if they’ve been working here for at least a couple of years. If you don’t have those two years of U.S. tax returns, some lenders will consider income earned outside the U.S. However, it generally needs to have been earned with the employer for whom you’re currently working in the U.S. If you’re considering applying for a mortgage and your work visa expires soon, you may need to get documentation (like a letter) from your employer stating that they’ll be renewing it.
If you’re a permanent or temporary resident, you may want to seek out a lender or mortgage broker that helps noncitizens obtain home loans. A Maryland immigration attorney can likely provide you with some referrals and assist you if you run into problems getting a mortgage because of your immigration status.