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Can an immigrant really buy a house in the United States while being illegal? This is something we hear frequently in the office.

The short answer is that yes, it is possible to buy a house in the United States as an illegal immigrant. However, there are several factors to consider before doing so.

Buying a home in the U. S. is often a long and complex process. For this reason, our Curbelo Law NJ real estate attorney is here to help you. Call us today so we can evaluate your purchasing possibilities.



How Can I Buy A House In The United States Being an Illegal immigrant?

If you are undocumented in the United States, you may be able to buy a home by taking the following steps: 

buying a property in the united states as an alien

Step 1: Request An ITIN Number

One of the most important steps you must take to be able to buy a house in the United States is to request the ITIN Number. 

The ITIN is similar to the Social Security Number (SSN), but it is only used to pay taxes. Still, by having one, you can apply for a personal loan and buy a home in New Jersey or another state.

To request it, you must download and complete Form W-7: Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Once done, you have to send it to the IRS ITIN operation center in Austin, Texas. 

Step 2: Save For A Down Payment 

Once you have obtained an ITIN Number, you must apply for an ITIN loan. However, most of these loans require you to make an above-average down payment. 

Typically, it is between 15% and 20%, although it could be as high as 30%. Additionally, you may also be asked for documents, such as:

  • Receipt books for the last month, or some proof of income,
  • 2 years of tax returns with the same ITIN, and
  • A work history in the same position during the last 2 years.
what does an immigrant need to buy a house in usa

Step 3: Apply For An ITIN Mortgage

ITIN mortgages are similar to other types of mortgage loans. However, they have a 30-year fixed rate and their interest rates are typically higher than other mortgages. 

Don’t know what a 40-year mortgage is? In the United States you have this type of mortgage loans available. Find out more about the topic in our blog. 

What Does An Immigrant Need To Buy A House?

Depending on the immigration scenario where the aliens are, they require one of the following documents, status or immigration relief:

  • Green Card. If immigrants have obtained a Green Card, they will be able to benefit from some advantages similar to those of an American citizen. For example, paying only 3% of the initial payment, compared to an undocumented person.
  • Valid work visa. Some of these visas may give access to loans from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  • Being a refugee or asylee. Immigrants who have requested asylum can also opt for mortgages. To do this, you must have Form I-94 and an authorized employment document for at least 90 days from your entry into the country.

Lenders require borrowers to have a method of stable income to provide them with a loan. Therefore, if you lose your job it could harm your mortgage eligibility.

what happens if I lose my job before closing on a mortgage

To delve deeper into this topic, check our blog: What happens if I lose my job before closing a mortgage?

Other Necessary Documents

Non-citizens who ask themselves: “How to buy property in the United States if I am a foreigner?” You must submit some or all of the following documents to your mortgage lender:

  • Social Security Number or ITIN.
  • Proof of reserves.
  • Bank statements and financial records from your overseas bank.
  • Tax return.
  • Receipt stubs.
  • Credit score.
  • Valid foreign passport. If you do not have it, it may be a U. S visa or a New Jersey driver’s license for undocumented immigrants.

What Type Of Mortgage Can I Get To Buy A House In The U. S. When I’M an Illegal immigrant?

Lawful permanent residents and non-residents may qualify for a conventional mortgage. However, usually non-residents or those undocumented have to use an ITIN mortgage.

It should be noted that to get a conventional mortgage, you must have:

  • Documentation that demonstrates your authorization to work or live in the United States, and
  • A social security number or ITIN Number.

Do you reside in the Garden State and are thinking about applying for a mortgage loan? Before doing so, we invite you to know the requirements for applying for a mortgage in New Jersey.

Are There Other Options For Buying A House as an undocumented immigrant Besides Mortgages?

Another option in which you can buy a house in the U. S. while being undocumented is to pay for it in cash. 

In some cases, it may also be through a rent-to-own contract. Still, these options may not be viable for everyone.

Homeownership offers benefits to undocumented immigrants, despite legal and financial challenges. Additionally, this contributes to stability, generates wealth over time and is a way to support the local economy.

If an illegal immigrant can buy a house in the United States will they be able to buy it in specifically in the Garden State? New Jersey is precisely where we serve for real estate matters. Don’t hesitate to contact us today.

How Does the national Foreigner Status Affect Buying A House In The U. S?

The foreigner’s status determines whether or not the individual qualifies for a mortgage loan. Below, we will detail these aspects.

immigrant family buying a house

Lawful Permanent Residents

Lawful permanent residents can access the same loan services as U. S. citizens. This includes Freddie MacFannie Mae, and FHA. 

If you are a lawful permanent resident, check our blog on how to get U. S. citizenship

Refugees And Asylees

National foreigners with these statuses can apply for a loan through government-backed services for American citizens. 

After one year of stay in the U. S, they can apply for a Green Card and get a property.

They can also apply for a mortgage loan after submitting Form I-94 or the Employment Authorization Document.

DACA Beneficiaries

Foreigners with this status must intend to use the property as their primary residence and have a minimum credit score of 620 points. 

However, their financing options are limited, since they can only apply for FHA loans.

Discover the requirements to apply for DACA on our blog.

Challenges Undocumented Immigrants Face When trying to buy A House In The United States

Many immigrants tell us: “I’m aware that I can buy a house in the U. S. as an illegal immigrant but it is very difficult” and they are right. In fact, undocumented immigrants face several challenges on their path, such as:

They Do Not Have A State ID

Without employment authorization or social networks, undocumented immigrants cannot obtain a license or state identification. Therefore, it makes it difficult for them to buy properties legally. 

Document transfer requires a named record. But without social identification, vulnerability increases, exposing them to fraud or property theft. 

Not Everyone Has A Social Security Number Or Is Officially Registered By A Company

Typically, a social security number is only obtained with a pending immigration case. 

The lack of SSN and legal status makes it almost impossible for undocumented immigrants to obtain a mortgage.

Tax Returns Must Be Submitted To Support The Mortgage Application

Undocumented immigrants are likely to lack tax returns. As a result, it complicates their access to traditional banking services and loans. 

This financial limitation makes it difficult to obtain the necessary funds to cover basic needs.

It Is Very Difficult To Get A Good Mortgage For An Undocumented Immigrant

Mortgage loans require proof of legal status, employment, and residence in the U. S. Therefore, undocumented immigrants have complexities when applying for a mortgage, since they lack these requirements.

They Do Not Have Home Insurance

Obtaining home insurance remains difficult for undocumented immigrants due to strict requirements. 

Companies require proof of social, legal and residency status, making it difficult to obtain coverage. For many, meeting these criteria presents a challenge.

Find out more on our blog about New Jersey flood insurance or title insurance in New Jersey.

Why Can An Illegal Immigrant Own Property In The United States?

Undocumented immigrants can buy a home in the U. S. because there is no law against it. However, obtaining financing can be difficult.

Fortunately, they can still buy a home with cash or through an ITIN mortgage. 

What’s more, many foreigners decide to invest in homes within the U. S, as it can be quite safe. This is because the dollar is usually a stable currency. 

Can You Buy A House In The United States Without A Green Card?

It is possible to buy a house in the United States without having a Green Card. The immigrant may be an asylum seeker, a refugee, a temporary resident, or a DACA beneficiary. However, there are factors to consider:

  • You may be subject to stricter credit requirements.
  • There may be a larger down payment than usual.
  • Non-residents tend to obtain much more complex mortgage financing than the Green Card holder.
  • DACA recipients must intend to use that home as their primary residence.

Foreigners with H-2A and H-2B employment visas can buy a home in the United States, but lenders must verify their right to reside in the country.

H-1B visa beneficiaries can also buy property. On our website we have an article where we explain what H-1B visas are and what is required to obtain them.

If I Am Illegal, Does Buying A House Increase The Risk Of Deportation?

Buying a home does not directly affect the risk of deportation in the United States. This is because immigration status is independent of the rights to own property.

Additionally, fair housing laws protect you from discrimination. Furthermore, a lender cannot offer different conditions, and a real estate agent cannot influence based on your nationality. 

What To Do If I Am Discriminated Against For Being An Illegal Immigrant Trying to Buy A House?

If you experience discrimination at any point in the home buying process, there are some steps to follow:

  1. Understand the law. Under fair housing laws, it is illegal for an agent to ask a buyer about their religion or immigration status.
  2. Contact a Fair Housing Center. Most states have agencies that participate in the fair housing assistance program.
  3. File a federal complaint. A fair housing complaint can be filed with the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the same year the violation occurred. You can also file a lawsuit in federal or state court within two years of what happened.
immigration lawyers in new jersey

If you need legal assistance with any immigration relief, do not hesitate to contact us. In addition to real estate experts, we are also immigration attorneys in New Jersey.

What Is The Fair Housing Law?

The Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 and 42 USC Ch. 45 states that it is illegal to discriminate in the sale, financing or rental of property, whether based on:

  • Sex, 
  • Religion, 
  • Race, 
  • National origin, or 
  • Disability.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Homes For Immigrants

How Long Can I Stay in the United States If I Own Property?

The amount of time that you can remain in the US will depend on the type of visa the immigrant you hold. For example, the B-1 business visitor visa or B-2 tourist visa is usually valid for up to 6 months, but in some cases it can be extended for longer. 

What Happens If I Don’t Have a Credit Score or Credit History in the U. S?

Lenders may ask for evidence that you are a responsible borrower. Typically, proof of debt payment, bank statements and others are required.

Can I Qualify for a Home Loan if My Income is Low?

Low-income applicants may still qualify for a home loan, but it will be more difficult to find one. Generally, these individuals may qualify for a USDA rural home mortgage.

What happens to my property if I am deported?

Undocumented immigrants are at risk of being deported from the U. S, so their property would be negatively affected. For these scenarios, it is recommended to gift the house to a friend or family member, or sell it.

In New Jersey, the process of selling a property can be complex, you can learn all about it in our blog on selling a house in New Jersey.

Do You Want To Buy A Home In The U. S. And Reunite With Your Loved Ones?

Perhaps your American dream is not just about buying a house and you are thinking about legalizing your situation and bringing your loved ones.

As immigration experts we have helped dozens of families reunite in the country. If you plan to bring your mom, dad, siblings, children or partner, check out our family section and let us know how we can help you.

What Can Curbelo Law Do For Immigrant Home Buyers?

As we have seen throughout this article, we have answered the question: can an illegal immigrant buy a house in the United States? As we stated throughout the blog, in order to obtain a loan, credit is essential.

Lenders could be more demanding with foreigners who lack documents to justify their credit. Therefore, we recommend that before embarking on this project, you consult the professionals at Curbelo Law.

Call us today so we can analyze your scenario and offer you the best possible alternatives and legal paths to achieve your American dream.