Buying a house is a part of the American dream. But, for non-permanent resident aliens, it can mean a lot of obstacles to get through first. It’s not impossible to buy a home for primary use if you are not a citizen, but knowing the obstacles you’ll face ahead of time can help make things easier.

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VERIFYING EMPLOYMENT

If there’s one concern lenders have for non-permanent resident aliens, it’s continued employment. Without a job, it would be difficult to afford your mortgage. That makes you a high risk for default. That’s why lenders want ample proof not only that you are employed, but that you will remain as such for at least the next 3 years.

The most credible documentation you can provide is a work permit. This work permit should not only show your eligibility to work now, but for the next 3 years at a minimum. This lets lenders know that you are eligible to work in the United States and will likely do so for the near future.

If you don’t have a work permit, you must have a work visa. If the visa expires in the next 12 months, though, you must have proof of renewability. If you cannot prove that the visa can be renewed, you will not be eligible for a mortgage loan.

VERIFYING INCOME

All lenders will require at least 2 years of income verification to qualify you for a loan program. If the income is not from the US, the lender may have to hire a third-party translator to evaluate your documents. The most important factor is that the currency is converted to US dollars to make sure you make enough to qualify for the loan.

However, since you need a job in the United States in order to qualify for the mortgage loan, you’ll need paystubs, W-2s, and/or tax returns from any time you have spent in the US. The lender may want a full 2 years’ worth of income, which is why you may need to supply income from your home country as well.

VERIFYING ASSETS

Because loans for non-permanent resident aliens are risky, lenders often require a hefty down payment. In order to put money down, you will have to verify your assets. Again, if the statements are from your home country, the lender may need to hire a translator to evaluate the statements.

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Essentially, the lender needs to know that the money is yours and is not a loan from another source. This includes a loan from a bank or credit card as well as a personal loan from a relative. If the lender spots any large deposits within the last few months, they may question the source and need further documentation to ensure that the money belongs to you.

CREDIT SCORES

Without a credit score, it is hard for anyone to get a loan. This could be detrimental news for non-permanent resident aliens, though. If they have only been in the country for a short while and have yet to establish trade lines, a credit score will not exist. Even if you have a social security number, you don’t automatically receive a credit score – you must have established trade line first.

If you don’t have a car loan, student loan, personal loan, or credit card yet, you may be able to use alternative credit sources. Some lenders accept sources, such as:

  • Utilities
  • Rent payments
  • Tuition
  • Insurance payments

You must have at least 12 months of a timely payment history from at least three of these sources in order to use an alternative credit report for qualifying purposes.

As you can see, it’s not impossible for non-permanent resident aliens to secure financing for a primary home in the US. You just have specific guidelines you must follow. You also may need to shop around for a willing lender. Not every bank provides loans to non-citizens. But, with a little work, you should be able to find a loan that helps you set down roots in the US.