If you’re wondering if a non-citizen can get a mortgage in the US, the short answer is yes. The longer answer is also yes…but with a few additional details and restrictions.
Straight from the Fannie Mae selling guide (the book that lenders use to determine eligibility for conventional loans):
“Fannie Mae purchases and securitizes mortgages made to non–U.S. citizens who are lawful
permanent or non-permanent residents of the United States under the same terms that are available to U.S. citizens. Fannie Mae does not specify the precise documentation the lender must obtain to verify that a non–U.S. citizen borrower is legally present in the United States.”
With this paragraph in mind, lenders who approve or deny loans based on Fannie Mae guidelines can help a non-citizen get a mortgage so long as they can provide documentation showing they’re legally in the US. This documentation usually comes in the form of a green card or a Visa.
Most Visa types are acceptable to get a mortgage loan if it can be reasonably determined that a borrower will remain in the country for the foreseeable future. The H-1B and H-1B1 Visas are the most commonly seen from applicants, and these borrowers are treated exactly like US Citizens in getting a mortgage loan.
Some Visas are not acceptable to most lenders, though. For example, student Visas that have a reasonable expectation that the student will leave the country upon completion of an educational program could pose a problem for loan approval. Lenders generally have the burden of proving a borrower will be reasonably able to maintain their mortgage for the 3 year period following issuance of the mortgage loan, so if there’s uncertainty, lenders will always tend to err on the side of caution.
For those borrowers who cannot qualify for standard conventional financing, FHA has flexible guidance on if a non-citizen can get a mortgage as well, and for those who can’t obtain FHA financing, options exist through Foreign National programs.
Foreign national loans frequently come with higher down payment requirements and sometimes higher rates, but for a non-citizen looking to get a mortgage in the US, there are a lot of options available! As for foreign national loans, the options vary greatly on those as well, and though your loan officer can answer specific questions on those programs (and more), that’s a different blog for a different day.
If you have any questions about getting a mortgage as a non-citizen, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help! We have lending options for everyone and will work with you every step of the way to buy a home.