The short answer to this question is that you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for a mortgage. For a conventional mortgage — which is the most common type of loan program — the qualification guidelines state that “non-U.S. citizens who are lawful permanent or non-permanent residents of the United States” are eligible for a mortgage. Simply put, you are required to be a “lawful” resident of the U.S. but you are not required to be a citizen.
Below, we review the mortgage qualification requirements for non-U.S. citizens for different loan programs including conventional, FHA, VA and USDA loans.
Citizenship Requirements for a Conventional Mortgage
Conventional mortgage guidelines do not dictate the documents a non-U.S. citizen is required to provide when they apply for a loan. Instead, it is your lender’s responsibility to determine the documents you need to submit to confirm that you are a lawful resident based on your personal situation.
We should highlight that although you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to get approved for a mortgage, you are required to have a valid social security number. Non-U.S. citizens with a green card — also known as a permanent resident card — or a work visa are usually eligible for a social security number. You may also be able to qualify for a mortgage with an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) but that process is typically more challenging.
Additionally, regardless of your citizenship, all applicants are required to provide certain documents when you apply for a mortgage including tax returns and W-2s for the prior two years, bank statements for the past two months and pay stubs for the past month.
We recommend that you work with your lender before you submit your mortgage application to understand the documents and information they require. You can contact multiple lenders in the table below to determine their guidelines. Shopping lenders is also the best way to save money on your mortgage.
Citizenship Requirements for an FHA Mortgage
Similar to a conventional loan, being a U.S. citizen is not an eligibility requirement for an FHA mortgage. Non-U.S. citizens that are lawful permanent residents can qualify for an FHA loan if they provide a document from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) such as a green card or visa that confirms their residency status. Please note that as of January 2021, DACA recipients are eligible for FHA mortgages.
Lawful non-permanent residents are required to provide an Employment Authorization Document from the USCIS (unless you are a refugee or were granted asylum in which case this document is not required). If your Employment Authorization Document expires within twelve months, the lender is usually required to confirm that it is expected to be renewed for your loan application to be approved. Also, for non-permanent residents, the property being financed with an FHA loan must be your primary residence.
Use ourFHA MORTGAGE QUALIFICATION CALCULATORto learn the FHA loan you can afford
Additionally, unless you work for the World Bank, an embassy located within the U.S. or a similar organization, all FHA applicants are required to have a valid social security number.
Citizenship Requirements for a VA Mortgage
Applicants are not required to meet any citizenship or residency requirements to qualify for a VA mortgage. Instead you or your lender is required to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that confirms that you are eligible for the VA program.
The COE is based on your current or past service in the military or National Guard and if you have previously taken out a VA loan. If you have a valid COE and meet the program’s other qualification requirements you can get approved for a VA loan.
Use ourVA MORTGAGE QUALIFICATION CALCULATORto understand the VA loan you qualify for
Although the VA program does not specifically outline any citizenship guidelines, it is important to highlight that you are required to be a U.S. citizen or hold a green card to serve in the military. Based on this rule, non-U.S. citizens with a green card should be able to qualify for a VA loan.
Citizenship Requirements for a USDA Home Loan
Non-U.S. citizens who are lawful permanent residents are eligible for a USDA home loan. Native American born in Canada, refugees and individuals granted asylum can also qualify for the program. Applicants are required to provide government-issued documentation that verifies their residency status.
Use ourUSDA HOME LOAN QUALIFICATION CALCULATORto determine the USDA mortgage you can afford
In conclusion, as outlined above, you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to get approved for a mortgage. You typically are required to provide documents that confirm your residency status but as long as you meet the other eligibility guidelines you should qualify for the loan. We advise non-U.S. citizens to work closely with their lender to understand the mortgage qualification requirements that apply to them.
"B2-2-02, Non–U.S. Citizen Borrower Eligibility Requirements." Selling Guide: Fannie Mae Single Family. Fannie Mae, July 28 2015. Web.
"II.A.1.b.ii.(A)(8) Citizenship and Immigration Status." FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1. Federal Housing Administration, January 2 2020. Web.
"II.A.1.b.ii.(A)(9) Residency Requirements." FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1. Federal Housing Administration, January 2 2020. Web.
"Chapter 2.2. What the Certificate of Eligibility Tells the Lender." Lenders Handbook - VA Pamphlet 26-7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2020. Web.
"Chapter 8.2.F. Having Acceptable Citizenship or Immigration Status." Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program Technical Handbook. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2020. Web.« Return to Q&A Home About the author