If you have a work visa but want to establish residency in the United States, you are in luck. There are a few programs you can get just as a United States citizen would. Fannie Mae and FHA loans are both loans that allow H-1B workers to obtain.
Keep reading to learn the requirements if you are here on a work visa.
PROVING YOUR RIGHT TO WORK
One of the most important things you must verify with a lender is the right to work in the United States. Without a work permit, you must provide the lender with other official proof of your ability to work here. This is where the work visa comes into play. This basically lets a lender know that an employer is sponsoring your time here by employing you with their company.
The visa must be good for at least three years in order to qualify for a loan. This is the typical requirement of any income whether for citizens or non-citizens. Lenders want to know that your income will not change for at least the next three years, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
PROVING YOUR CREDIT SCORE
You will need a credit score in order to qualify for a Fannie Mae or FHA loan. This also means you will need a social security number, as that is how the credit bureaus track your credit history. Most lenders will require at least 3 or 4 trade lines in order to qualify for the loan. Lenders prefer if your credit history consists of revolving and installment loans as well.
If you don’t have the trade lines necessary to have a credit score, some lenders do allow the use of alternative credit. Using things like insurance payments, utility bills, and cable bills, the lender can determine your level of financial responsibility. You will have to provide proof of between 12 and 24 months of timely payments in order to establish credit.
DOCUMENTING YOUR INCOME
The hardest part of getting a mortgage with a work visa is proving your income over the last 2 years. If you did not work in the United States during that time, your income may be in foreign currency. The documents are also likely in your foreign language.
If this is the case, the lender may have to hire a neutral third party to translate the documents for them. This way they can determine your income based on US currency to see how you stack up based on this information. Lenders like to see your income remain as stable as possible or even increase over the years, which is why they like to see a 2-year history.
THE DOWN PAYMENT
FHA loans are flexible enough that they still allow those with a work visa to put down just 3.5% on the home they buy. Conventional loans, however, may have slightly stricter requirements. Generally, citizens of the US only have to put down a minimum of 5% to get the loan. Some lenders may require a higher down payment in order to reduce the risk of the loan, though.
Working on an H-1b visa does not mean you cannot get a loan in the United States, but it might take a little more work. No matter which program you choose, you will have to prove that the home will be your primary residence. No program will provide someone with a work visa to buy a second home or investment property.
It’s best if you have as many compensating factors as possible in order to decrease the risk of your loan. Having plenty of assets on hand or having a stable income over the last few years can help lenders feel rest assured that you will make your payments. It’s also a good idea to shop around with different lenders to find the deal that works best for you.