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If you are a non-permanent resident on a valid work permit like H1B, L1A, L1B or O Visa or an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), you need to be aware of few mortgage guidelines to qualify for Conventional or FHA loan.
The following base qualification is required:
- 2 years of employment history in the US (In some cases employment history in a foreign country may be combined, especially if working for the same organization)
- 2 years of credit history in the US (In some cases, a foreign credit history may be combined, especially from a country that maintains similar credit reporting guidelines like Canada)
Fannie Mae Guideline for qualifying for Conforming (Conventional Loan)
Taken from Fannie Mae Handbook
“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. The lender must make a determination of the non-U.S. citizen’s status based on the circumstances of the individual case, using documentation it deems appropriate.”
Most lenders would require a valid copy of the work visa. And if the visa is expiring within a one year period, a letter from the employer may be required that they plan to apply for extending the visa. For some lenders, EAD is not a valid document for a conventional loan. So if you plan on getting on an EAD and can still maintain your work visa – do so.
Qualifying for an FHA Loan:
Taken from FHA Handbook
“FHA insures mortgages made to non-permanent resident aliens provided that the borrower is eligible to work in the United States, as evidenced by an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the USCIS.
If the EAD will expire within one year and a prior history of residency status renewals exists, the lender may assume that continuation will be granted. If there are no prior renewals, the lender must determine the likelihood of renewal, based on information from the USCIS. Note: Borrowers residing in the U.S. by virtue of refugee or asylee status granted by the USCIS are automatically eligible to work in this country. An EAD is not required.”
So, per FHA guidelines work visas are not enough. An EAD is required. We do work with a couple of lenders who will make an exception for Work Visa, but most won’t.
Do I have to pay higher rates?
For both FHA and Conforming Loans, if you qualify to get a mortgage, you get the same rates as a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident. However, we may not be able to shop all the lenders since some of them do not offer loans to non-permanent residents.
Do I have to make higher down-payment?
Again for most loans, if you qualify for the mortgage you can make the same down-payment as a US Citizen. On some Jumbo loans, lenders do require a higher down-payment for non-permanent resident borrowers.
Bottom line – 10%-20% of our loans are originated for borrowers on Work Visa and/or EAD. We understand your immigration status, the loans you will qualify for and lenders who work best for you. Very few lenders have the same expertise with non-permanent resident borrowers as we do.
So call or email me today to set up a phone or in-person appointment to get pre-approved and get started on your home buying process.