by Amresh Singh
13 min read
If you are an L1 visa holder and dream of owning a home in the United States, this article will help you explore the possibilities and requirements for obtaining a mortgage. It will cover the unique circumstances and benefits associated with L1 visas, as well as the mortgage process and eligibility criteria.
Our aim is to provide a comprehensive guide for those looking to become homeowners in the U.S. under the L1 visa program.
Can I Get a Mortgage in the US with L1 Visa?
Yes, you can get a mortgage with l1 visa. The l1 visa is a work visa that allows individuals to work in the United States for up to seven years. It provides better loan terms than foreign nationals who do not have a l1 status.
To be eligible for this visa mortgage, you must have been employed by your foreign employer for at least two years and plan to maintain your employment in the United States. Individuals holding this visa can contribute to the growth and competitiveness of American companies by sharing their expertise and knowledge.
Why Should You Buy a House on L-1 Visa?
Purchasing a house while on an L1 visa comes with various benefits. It offers stability and a feeling of belonging in the new country you are residing in. The benefits of obtaining an l1 visa mortgage are available to individuals who hold an l1 visa and wish to buy a home in the United States. These benefits can be advantageous for non-U.S. citizens.
1. Stability and Long-Term Residence
Owning a home provides stability and a sense of belonging. It allows you to establish roots in the community, create a comfortable living space, and potentially benefit from property appreciation over time.
2. Potential Tax Benefits
Mortgage interest and property tax payments may be tax-deductible in the United States, subject to certain limitations and eligibility criteria. This can result in potential tax savings, reducing your overall tax liability.
3. Shorter waiting period for approval
L1 visa holders have an approved visa status that can help expedite the mortgage approval process. Unlike other foreign nationals who may need additional documentation and verification, an l-1 visa holder may experience a quicker approval process. This allows them to secure their mortgage faster and proceed with their home purchase without delay.
4. Investment Potential
Real estate can be a solid long-term investment. By purchasing a home through an L-1 visa mortgage, you have the opportunity to benefit from property appreciation, potentially building wealth over time.
5. Building equity and long-term financial stability
With each mortgage payment, you’re building equity in your home. As you pay down the loan, you increase your ownership stake and accumulate an asset that may appreciate in value, offering potential financial security in the long run.
The l1 visa mortgage can be advantageous for non-U.S citizens who are on an l1 status and working in the U.S. It allows them to buy or refinance property during their stay in the country and avail of better loan terms compared to foreign nationals without an l1 visa. Refer our article on Why Buy House on L1 Visa: Top 10 Reasons! to know more.
Qualifications for L1 Visa Mortgage
To be eligible for a mortgage on an L1 visa, specific requirements must be met. The lender may also request a down payment or other financial assets as collateral for the loan. The following are the primary qualifications for an l1 visa mortgage:
1. L-1 Visa Status
To qualify, you need a valid L-1 visa, which is designed for multinational companies to relocate employees to the U.S. You must have the right visa status that enables employment in the country.
2. Employment Verification
Please submit proof of your employment with a multinational organization that has operations in both your home country and the United States. You need to have at least 2 years of work history in the U.S. This evidence can include employment letters, pay stubs, or a work contract that clearly shows your affiliation with the company.
3. Income Documentation
To determine if you can repay the mortgage, lenders need proof of your income. You must provide current pay stubs, tax returns, W-2 forms, employment contracts, and bank statements to demonstrate your financial stability and ability to manage mortgage payments.
To assess your eligibility for a mortgage, lenders look at your credit score and credit history in the US. They consider factors like your payment history, debt-to-income ratio, and overall credit profile to determine the level of risk in lending to you.
You need to have a credit score of 620 or higher. In case you don’t have any credit history in the US, you can also apply for mortgages with no/thin US credit history.
5. Down Payment
To obtain a mortgage, you will have to pay a down payment on the property. The amount required can differ based on the lender and mortgage type. For L1 Visas, a minimum of 20% down payment is generally expected, although it is recommended to communicate with lenders to determine their particular requirements.
6. Residency and Visa Expiration
If you want to be approved for a loan, lenders may review the length of your visa and your residency status in the U.S. Some lenders might ask for a specific number of years left on your visa or a minimum remaining visa validity.
7. Additional Documentation
Apart from the basic requirements, lenders may ask for more documentation, which includes proof of identification, bank statements, evidence of employment from your U.S. employer, and details about your current assets.
It is essential to understand that different lenders may have different criteria for eligibility. A visa holder may qualify for better mortgage options by meeting certain requirements.
However, it is essential to fully understand all loan requirements before deciding. Working with an experienced loan officer can help ensure that you get the best rates and terms possible for your particular situation.
Mortgage Options for L1 Visa Holders
If you have an L-1 visa and want to buy a home in the US, you may be able to get a mortgage. There are two types of mortgage options available: with and without a US credit history. Let’s explore the options.
Mortgages with Established Credit History in the US
L1 visa holders can qualify for US mortgages with a strong credit history. A positive credit profile, including timely payments and responsible credit management, demonstrates their ability to handle mortgage payments. With an established US credit history, L1 visa holders gain access to more mortgage options and favorable terms.
1. Conventional Loans
Conventional loans with competitive interest rates are available to L1 visa holders who meet specific criteria, such as stable income, good credit score, and appropriate debt-to-income ratio. These loans adhere to guidelines from government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- Good credit score is typically above 620.
- Stable employment history.
- Adequate income to support mortgage payments.
- Down payment ranges from 3% to 20% of the purchase price.
- The debt-to-income ratio is usually below 45%.
2. FHA Loans
FHA loans are backed by the government and are considered QM loans available for L1 visa holders. These loans are especially beneficial for first-time homebuyers and individuals with lower credit scores as they have relaxed qualification standards than conventional loans.
- The minimum credit score requirement is typically around 580, although some lenders may accept lower scores
- Stable employment history
- Adequate income to afford mortgage payments
- Down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price
- Debt-to-income ratio is generally below 43%
Mortgages with No/Thin US Credit History
L1 visa newcomers with limited US credit history can benefit from specialized mortgage programs for non-US residents with no/thin US credit history. So, if you are a newcomer, you don’t have to wait for your credit score to be high enough to get a traditional mortgage; you can opt for these options to start today.
1. Foreign National Loans
Foreign national loans are mortgage loans designed for non-US citizens or non-permanent residents who wish to purchase property in the United States. These loans cater to individuals who may not have a US credit history, making qualifying for traditional mortgage options more challenging.
- A down payment of 30% or higher of the property’s purchase price
- Cash reserves or liquid assets as a safety net
- 2 years of employment history
- A Debt-to-Income ratio of 43% or lower
- Credit reports from home country
Find the Best L1 Visa Mortgage Lenders
Get pre-qualified for an US Mortgage with No US credit
2. DSCR Loans
DSCR loans are meant for L1 visa holders with a US credit history who aim to buy investment properties. The loans assess the borrower’s income and debts to determine their ability to make mortgage payments. They depend on the borrower’s Debt Service Coverage Ratio to know whether they can repay their debts.
- A DSCR ratio of 1.0 or higher is required
- A down payment of 20% to 25% of the property’s purchase price is required
- A professional appraisal of the property is required
- The rental income should be documented and verified through the 1007 rent schedule
- A credit Score of 620 or higher (doesn’t apply to foreign lenders)
Connect with the Best DSCR Lenders
Get quotes from multiple lenders to compare and pick the best one!
Challenges and Considerations for L1 Visa Home Buyers
Getting a mortgage while on an L1 Visa can be difficult because of the visa’s temporary nature. Before buying property, it’s important to know the possible obstacles.
1. Limited Credit History
Since lenders use credit scores to evaluate creditworthiness, you need to establish a good US credit history through secured credit cards or small loans with timely payments. You can also consider getting a mortgage with a thin/no credit score. Refer to our guide – step-by-step process to obtain a mortgage as a US Newcomer for more details.
2. Residency Requirements
Some lenders have specific residency requirements and may require a certain number of years of residency in the US. Thus, finding lenders accommodating visa holders or flexible with requirements can help.
3. Limited Credit Options
You may find that your options for mortgage programs and interest rates are more limited compared to US citizens or permanent residents. This can be overcome by connecting with lenders specializing in serving L-1 visa holders and offering tailored loan programs.
4. Currency Conversion and Exchange Rates
Income in foreign currency can pose a challenge for you. Seek guidance from a financial advisor to address currency conversion issues and mitigate risks associated with fluctuating exchange rates.
5. Down Payment and Closing Costs
Accumulating funds for a down payment and closing costs due to limited savings or facing restrictions can be challenging. So, try exploring budgeting strategies and available assistance programs to overcome this obstacle.
Loan terms for L-1 visa holders differ from those for permanent residents. Boost income/assets, explore no credit history loans, work with specialized lenders, and consider co-signers for better options. Seeking guidance and customized solutions from experienced mortgage professionals or CIPS agents who serve non-U.S. citizens is essential too.
How to Get L1 Visa Mortgage? [7-Step Application Process]
The process of obtaining a mortgage for L1 visa holders is similar to that of any other homebuyer, but there may be additional steps due to specific visa requirements. Here is a breakdown of each stage in the mortgage process for L1 visa holders:
1. Find the Right Lender and Check Eligibility
To apply for a mortgage as an L-1 visa holder, it’s important to meet the lender’s eligibility criteria based on your credit score, income, employment history, and down payment.
It’s recommended to seek out lenders who are experienced in working with non-U.S. citizens or foreign nationals, as they’ll have knowledge of the specific requirements and documentation needed for L1 visa holders.
Find the Best US Lender for L1 Visa Holders
Get pre-qualified for an US Mortgage with No US credit
2. Pre-approval and Home Search
To show vendors you are serious about buying a property and establish your maximum budget, you should seek pre-approval. This involves providing documents such as tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs to a lender, who will assess your eligibility based on your income and credit score.
While waiting for approval, you can collaborate with a real estate agent to identify homes that meet your needs and financial position. HomeAbroad can connect you with special real estate agents for foreigners called CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) agents.
HomeAbroad has a vast network of CIPS agents, and we can connect you with one to make your home buying hassle-free.
Find the best real estate agent with international expertise
Connect with a local US real estate agent(s) with CIPS designation
3. Determine Mortgage Goals
To ensure you stay within your financial comfort zone, it is important to evaluate your financial state and establish specific mortgage objectives. A few factors to consider are the loan amount you can manage, the interest rate you desire, the down payment amount, and the affordability of the monthly payment.
4. Gather Documentation
Gather and organize all required documents for the lender, which usually consist of your passport, copy of l-1 visa, credit history, tax returns, W-2 form, and residence proof.
Apart from these, you may also require proof of employment, income and possibly other documents if you have foreign income. Being prepared with these documents can simplify the application procedure.
5. Submit a Mortgage Application
Fill out the application form provided by the lender with accurate and detailed information about your employment, income, assets, and other relevant details. Ensure all information is complete and consistent to avoid delays or complications.
6. Underwriting and Loan Approval
The underwriting process involves a comprehensive evaluation of your financial information, credit report, and the property you intend to purchase. The lender will verify the information you provided, assess your creditworthiness, conduct an appraisal to determine the property’s value, and consider any other relevant factors.
If you meet the lender’s requirements, you will receive a loan commitment letter indicating that your loan has been approved.
7. Closing Process
Once your offer on a chosen home has been accepted, you will enter the closing process. This involves signing legal and financial documents, paying required closing costs and fees, and completing any remaining paperwork necessary for the transaction.
The lender will conduct a final review of your financial documents to confirm your ability to repay the loan. Upon completing all necessary steps, you will officially close on the mortgage and become a homeowner.
Applying for a mortgage as an L1 visa holder will require extra paperwork, so you should anticipate a longer process. However, with careful planning and organization, you can still achieve your dream of homeownership. Just be patient and diligent throughout the process.
Tips for Getting Approved for an L1 Visa Mortgage
To improve your chances of getting approved for an L1 visa mortgage, it is advisable to prepare and become familiar with the process beforehand. Here are some tips to improve your chances of approval:
1. Ensure Your Financial Stability
To secure an L-1 visa mortgage, showcase stable income, good credit, and responsible financial habits, demonstrating your ability to make timely payments and provide a down payment.
2. Gather the Required Documents
Collect essential documents for an L1 visa mortgage application, including passport, visa papers, tax returns (2 years), employment proof, and bank statements, to expedite the process.
3. Seek Professional Guidance
If you’re looking to apply for an L1 visa mortgage, it’s recommended that you seek assistance from a mortgage professional who has experience handling such cases.
To increase your chances of getting approved for an L1 visa mortgage, it is important to compare mortgage offers from different lenders, as their terms and requirements may differ. By remembering to do this, you can make the mortgage application process smoother.
Find L-1 Mortgage Lenders in the US
If you are an L-1 visa holder looking to buy a home in the United States, it is crucial to find suitable lenders. To make an informed decision, it’s recommended that you research and compare the terms and conditions of different lenders.
OR, you can rely on HomeAbroad to connect you with the right L1 visa mortgage lender and real estate agents with international expertise to facilitate your home buying and financing.
Find the best real estate agent and mortgage lender with international expertise.
Connect with a local international real estate agent and mortgage lender
Tax Implications and Considerations for L1 Visa Home Buyers
Considering the potential tax implications is crucial when making any investment decision. Multiple taxes may apply to your investments, affecting your overall return on investment. Therefore, it’s important to clearly understand how these taxes work.
1. Mortgage Interest Deduction
If you’re a homeowner with an L1 Visa mortgage, you might qualify for a deduction on the mortgage interest you’ve paid. This allows you to deduct interest paid on mortgage loans up to $750,000. However, it’s crucial to speak with a tax professional to learn more about the requirements and limitations of this deduction.
2. Property Taxes
When you become a homeowner, you must pay property taxes to the local government. The amount you pay depends on where your property is located and how much it is worth.
3. Foreign Income Reporting
You need to report any income earned from foreign sources on your U.S. tax return. Failure to comply with the reporting requirements may result in not meeting U.S. tax laws. It is important to comprehend and follow these requirements to avoid any issues.
4. Tax Treaties
If you have an l1 Visa and earn income in the United States, you should know that the US has tax treaties with some countries. These treaties could affect how your income is taxed and offer exemptions or benefits.
To understand how these treaties apply to you, it’s recommended to seek the advice of a tax professional or advisor who focuses on international taxation.
5. State and Local Taxes
Your property may be subject to state and local taxes on top of federal taxes. These taxes will vary depending on where your property is located. To properly plan your finances, make sure you understand the tax obligations specific to your property’s jurisdiction.
It’s important to keep in mind that tax laws are subject to change and the tax consequences of obtaining an l1 visa mortgage can differ based on personal factors and where the property is situated.
To maximize your return on investment, it’s crucial to comprehend the different taxes that come with investing and take measures to decrease their impact. Professional tax planning and advice are recommended for l1 Visa holders due to the complexity of tax laws and unique circumstances.
If you hold an L1 visa and want to buy a home in the United States, mortgage options are available to make the process easier. However, it’s essential to do your research and talk to multiple lenders before making a decision. If you qualify for an L-1 visa mortgage, it will expand your choices for buying a home.
HomeAbroad can cut down your research by connecting you with specialized mortgage lenders and real estate agents for immigrants who understand your unique requirements and navigate you through the process for hassle-free property purchase.
Find the best real estate agent and mortgage lender with international expertise.
Connect with a local international real estate agent and mortgage lender
How do US mortgage lenders assess creditworthiness?
If you want to get a mortgage in the U.S. with favorable terms, you need to maintain a good credit score and history, manage debts responsibly, and provide the correct documentation.
This is because lenders assess the borrower’s ability to repay a loan based on certain factors, including credit score, credit history, debt-to-income ratio, proof of employment and income, financial reserves, and loan-to-value balance.
Can I buy a house in the US with an L-1 visa?
Yes, it is possible to buy a house in the US with an L-1 visa. L-1 visa holders, who are typically employees of multinational companies, have the legal right to own real estate in the U.S.
Can I get a mortgage on an L-1 visa?
You can apply for a mortgage while holding an L-1 visa in the United States as long as you meet the lender’s requirements. The lenders evaluate different factors, such as income, credit history, and immigration status, when considering mortgage applications.
Can I use the foreign income to qualify for an L1 visa mortgage?
Yes, many lenders accept foreign income to qualify for an L1 visa mortgage. However, lenders typically require certain conditions, such as the income being stable, verifiable, and meeting specific debt-to-income ratio requirements. It’s essential to work with a lender experienced in handling foreign income for mortgage qualification.
Can I apply for a mortgage before moving to the USA on an L1 visa?
You can begin the mortgage application process for your L1 visa even before you arrive in the USA. But do note that the lender will need your visa documentation and other necessary information before granting the mortgage. It is recommended to cooperate with your lender and immigration attorney for a hassle-free transition.
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Prior to co-founding HomeAbroad, Amresh has worked for one of