FHA Loan Residency Requirements for Non-Citizens

A group of resident aliens posing in front of an American flag.Coming to the United States provides many opportunities for immigrants, including the chance to own property. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers mortgage insurance on loans made by approved lenders, making homeownership more accessible. FHA loans have flexible credit and down payment requirements. But can non-U.S. citizens qualify?

The short answer is yes – non-citizens can get FHA loans if they meet specific residency requirements. Let's look at FHA regulations for non-citizens and the steps to follow when applying for a mortgage. 

FHA Loan Eligibility for Non-Citizens

U.S. citizenship is not required to be eligible for FHA-insured financing. The FHA allows permanent and non-permanent resident aliens to qualify for mortgage loans. 

According to HUD guidelines, the property must be your principal residence. You must have a valid Social Security Number and be authorized to work in the U.S., as evidenced by an Employment Authorization Document.

Permanent Resident Aliens

A permanent resident has been granted lawful permanent residence in the U.S., also known as a green card holder. Permanent residents can live and work in the country indefinitely. 

When applying for an FHA loan, permanent resident aliens must provide regular documentation like proof of income and assets. They must also submit a copy of their green and Social Security cards.

Non-Permanent Resident Aliens 

Non-permanent residents include those in the U.S. on non-immigrant work visas like H-1B and L-1. They can reside in the country temporarily for a specific purpose like work or study.

FHA allows non-permanent resident aliens to qualify for mortgages under similar eligibility rules. Their work authorization documentation indicates they can legally reside in the U.S. shortly.

FHA requires non-permanent residents to use the property as their primary residence. Situations like purchasing an investment property or a vacation home are not eligible.

DACA Recipients Have Home Buying Options with FHA Loans and Online Lenders

DACA recipients, protected under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Fair Housing Act, can obtain home loans. They can qualify for FHA loans with a minimum down payment of 3.5% and a credit score of at least 580. Additionally, DACA recipients can explore other mortgage options, such as conventional loans and Fannie Mae's conforming loans. The home-buying process for DACA recipients follows a similar path to that of other buyers, and they can begin their mortgage approval process conveniently online with Rocket Mortgage. With these opportunities, DACA recipients can pursue their dreams of owning a home and establishing a stable foundation for their future.

  • DACA recipients can qualify for FHA loans and other types of mortgages.
  • DACA recipients are protected under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Fair Housing Act.
  • The DACA program provides temporary conditional residency with the right to work.
  • DACA recipients can apply for an FHA loan with a minimum 3.5% down payment and a minimum 580 credit score.
  • Other options for DACA home loans include conventional loans and Fannie Mae's conforming loans.
  • The home-buying process for DACA recipients is generally the same as for other buyers.
  • DACA recipients can start their mortgage approval process online with Rocket Mortgage.

Specific FHA Loan Requirements

Beyond residency status, FHA loans have additional requirements to meet for eligibility:

  • A credit score of at least 500 for a 10% down payment or 580 for a 3.5% down payment 
  • Total debt-to-income ratio below 50%
  • Loan limits up to $472,030 in low-cost areas and $1,089,300 higher in high-cost areas.
  • No waiting period for re-establishing residency

While FHA permits lower credit scores, individual lenders often overlay stricter requirements like 620 or 640 minimum FICO. This helps mitigate their risk of loan defaults. Shop with different lenders to find one that may approve your credit profile.

For non-permanent residents, lenders will evaluate if your work status expires within 12 months. They will assess the likelihood of renewal based on your visa renewal history. More frequent renewals improve the chances your temporary residency will be extended.

Gathering Required Documentation

When applying for an FHA loan as a non-citizen, collect these documents ahead of time:

  • Social Security Number
  • Employment Authorization Document
  • Two years of U.S. tax returns
  • W-2s for the last two years
  • Paystubs covering the most recent 30 days
  • Two months of bank statements
  • Documentation of any other income like bonuses, commissions, or dividends

Provide translated versions of any documents not in English. A certified lender-approved translator can translate financial docs like bank statements and tax returns.

Shop Multiple Lenders

Cast a wide net when shopping for a mortgage lender. Compare interest rates, fees, and lending programs. Ask lenders if they have experience with non-citizen buyers. Some key questions to ask:

  • What are your minimum credit score requirements?
  • What visa types have you approved loans for recently?  
  • What are the total origination and closing costs?
  • How long does the approval process take?

Narrow down your options to 3 lenders best suited to your profile. Submit applications to get pre-approved with each. Compare loan estimates to pick the most affordable option. 

The pre-approval letter will verify you meet credit, income, and residency requirements. With a pre-approval note, you can look for your new home seriously.

Finding the Right Property 

Once pre-approved, the fun part begins – searching for your dream home! Here are some tips for selecting the ideal property:

  • Stay within your pre-approval amount. Home prices above this limit will require re-approval.
  • Prioritize move-in ready homes to avoid extensive renovations.
  • In hot markets, keep contingencies like financing and appraisal limited.
  • For condos, review the HOA rules and reserves. Make sure the building is FHA-approved.
  • Carefully review inspection reports to identify any significant repairs needed.

Your real estate agent can help narrow the search to homes meeting your must-haves. Schedule showings over a few weekends to view top contenders in person.

After identifying the perfect place, submit a competitive offer with your agent's assistance. Contingencies can be used to back out if issues arise during the underwriting process. 

Finalizing the Mortgage 

The final step involves completing the mortgage process with your selected lender. Here's what to expect as you get closer to closing:

  • Provide updated documentation if your income or employment changed after pre-approval.
  • Verify adequate funds for closing costs and down payment. Lenders re-check assets at this stage.  
  • Get an appraisal to confirm the home value supports the purchase price. 
  • Review the closing disclosure paperwork detailing final loan costs.
  • Sign loan documents and transfer down payment funds.

Closing typically happens 30-45 days after an accepted offer. Attend closing to finalize paperwork and receive keys to your new home!


Owning a home provides financial and lifestyle benefits whether you're a U.S. citizen or not. FHA loans allow qualified non-citizens to buy a primary residence at affordable rates. Following proper procedures and understanding requirements makes financing attainable—partner with a trusted real estate and mortgage professional to make financing stress-free. Soon, you'll settle into your new American dream home.