Buying a Home With or Without a Green Card is Possible

The American Dream.  It looks different to each person, but a very common dream to many is the dream of homeownership.  Although, the homeownership dream is not reserved just for American citizens.  Non US citizens with a green card may be able to buy a home.  BUT, there are even ways to buy without a green card.  For instance, OVM recently closed a purchase for a buyer with an H1B Visa and no green card.  There are some additional residency guidelines that must be met, which we will explain further.

Is a Social Security Number Required to Buy a House?

Even though someone may not be a US citizen, it is very possible to have a social security card.  This unique identifying information should mirror the number on w2, pay stubs, and tax returns.  Also, keep in mind that a social security number is different than an ITIN or Tax Identification number.

When it comes to buying a home, there is a difference for buyers with a social security number or an ITIN.  In order for us to be able to lend, a social security number is required.  So this will be the first question we will ask if a buyer is not a US citizen.

Homebuyer Series - Step by step instructions to become a homeowner

Tips include credit, budgeting, paying rent, choosing a realtor, down payment options, and being ready for closing

Non Permanent or Permanent Residents Buying a Home

Over the years, the United States population has continued to become more and more diverse.  The percentage of nonpermanent or permanent resident aliens compared to US citizens has steadily increased.  This is especially true in certain parts of the country – larger metropolitan areas and especially in the southeast US.  So this diverse population now comprises a significant portion of today’s homebuyers.  For this reason, we want to share details on how to buy a home with or without a green card.  Plus we share the list of required documents the buyer will need to provide.

Please keep in mind that this article is general in nature and each loan type may be a little different.  For instance, USDA loans or state bond programs require borrowers to be a permanent resident alien.  Other loan types such as FHAVA, or Fannie Mae conventional loans may allow for non permanent alien buyers.  Proof of residency status and social security number is required as discussed later in this article.  It is best to provide the documentation up-front to verify residency status.  The list is provided below.  Then, we can verify credit, income, and other mortgage requirements.

Buying a Home May Help With Immigration Status!

Consult an immigration specialist about how owning a home affects immigration status.

Documentation for Non US Citizens

The best thing to do is provide the following documents to us up-front.  So, we can then verify residency status in the beginning.  Please provide clear copies of the following and color copies of ID’s.buying a home with a green card

  • Social Security Card (front and back copy)
  • Green Card (front and back copy)
  • Photo ID such as drivers license or passport
  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) (depending on Visa type, this may not be required)
  • Unexpired Visa or an acceptable I-797 Notice of Action/Notice of Approval form with valid extension dates AND the I-94 Arrival/Departure Receipt must be included

Visa Classifications for Green Card Buyers

Green card holders should have one of the following Visa classifications.

  • E Series (E-1, E-2 or E-3)
  • G Series (G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 or G-5)
  • H Series (H-1B, H-1C, H-2, H-3, H-4)
  • L Series (L-1A, L-1B, L-2)
  • NATO Series
  • O Series (O-1)
  • TN-1- Canadian NAFTA
  • TN-2 – Mexican NAFTA

If you do not have a green card, you can provide a copy of your Visa along with the other documentation listed above.  We will be glad to check for qualification.

Other Requirements for Non US Citizen Buyers

Everything above speaks of residency requirements but like all buyers, there are general mortgage guidelines which must be met.  Most are the same as required of any other buyer such as meeting credit score minimumsdebt to income qualifications, and satisfactory down payment (if required by program).  But there are a few extra requirements for non US citizens.

  • Primary residence purchase or refinance only
  • 2 years employment verification in the US or multi national company
  • Minimum 2 year established credit history
  • Foreign income may not be used as qualifying income
  • Foreign asset accounts typically cannot be used – If you have a foreign asset account, let us know and we will see if it is possible to use it
Posted by Dietchi Thomas on


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