J1 Visa Mortgage [2024]: Guide to buying your home on a J1 Visa

J1 visa holders can secure US mortgages through foreign national mortgage programs, even without US credit history.

J1 Visa Mortgage Guide

Get a US Mortgage as a Foreign National

No US Credit Needed

Foreign Income and Credit Accepted

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Are you currently on a J-1 visa and contemplating purchasing a home in the US? Then this article is for you. You will learn about the process of obtaining a J1 visa mortgage and understand the requirements and options available.

Whether you’re a student, intern, or researcher, we’re here to guide you through the intricacies of obtaining a mortgage on your J-1 visa and help you make informed decisions on your home-buying journey.

Can You Get a Mortgage with a J1 Visa?

Yes, it is possible to get a mortgage with a J1 visa. While a J1 visa is a nonimmigrant exchange visitor visa, many lenders are willing to provide mortgage loans to individuals on J1 visas.

To qualify for a mortgage with a J1 visa, you must generally meet certain conditions. These may include having a valid J1 visa that is not close to expiration, having a steady source of income in the form of a stipend or salary, and having a good credit history. US credit history is not a must, there are loan programs available to process a mortgage on a J1 visa with no US credit.

What are the Qualifications for a J1 Visa Mortgage?

The requirements for obtaining a J1 visa mortgage may differ among lenders. Typically, you must meet specific conditions like holding a valid J1 visa and maintaining a minimum credit score. Additionally, the lender may consider your income stability, work history, and the duration of your J-1 program.

Certain documents are necessary to qualify for a J1 visa mortgage.

  1. Proof of income, residency, and financial assets
  2. Minimum 2 years’ worth of credit history in the U.S. (You can also apply for a mortgage with no/thin US credit history)
  3. Minimum 2 years of prior employment in the United States or relevant foreign employment history (in the same company)
  4. A valid visa
  5. Tax returns from the past two years, W2 forms, and bank statements
  6. Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
  7. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Document (USCIS EAD)
  8. Down payment of at least 20% or higher

Usually, government-insured loans are rather tedious and require a lot of documentation apart from having stringent guidelines. However, if you are looking for a swift and easy loan option that does not involve lengthy paperwork, then you may opt for Non-QM loans.

Explore the Mortgage Options for J-1 Visa Holders

As a J1 visa holder, you can explore several mortgage options for buying a home in the U.S.

Mortgages with Established US Credit History

Mortgages in the United States are available to people who have a good credit history. This means they have shown that they can borrow money responsibly and pay it back on time. They have built up a credit profile and score that shows they are trustworthy when it comes to managing their finances and meeting financial obligations.

1. Conventional Mortgage

A conventional mortgage is a home loan offered by banks and lenders. To qualify, you need a solid credit history, steady employment, and proof of income, residency, and financial assets.

Having at least two years of previous employment in the US is preferred by most lenders. Different mortgage loans are available with different interest rates, such as 15-year and 30-year fixed-rate terms. It’s important to compare multiple-lender offers to find the best deal.


  1. A minimum down payment of 20% is necessary
  2. A credit score of 620 or higher
  3. 2 years of tax returns
  4. Social Security Number
  5. Proof of stable job history of at least 2 years

2. FHA Loan

FHA loans have more lenient requirements and focus on encouraging homeownership through the primary residence. You can apply if you are legally authorized to work in the U.S. and have a valid visa and EAD. The Federal Housing Administration backs these loans.


  1. 3.5% down payment
  2. A credit score of 580 or higher
  3. A valid Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  4. A stable job or employment history in the U.S. of at least two years
  5. A lower debt-to-income ratio not exceeding 43%

Mortgages with No/Thin US Credit History

Mortgages for individuals with no or thin US credit history are designed to assist those who have recently moved to the United States or have a limited credit history in the country. These mortgage programs recognize that traditional credit scoring models may not adequately reflect an applicant’s creditworthiness in such cases.

1. Foreign National Mortgage

Mortgage loans, known as “foreign national loans,” are meant for people who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents and want to buy property in the U.S. These loans are designed to help those who do not have a U.S. credit score or Social Security number, which makes it difficult to qualify for conventional mortgages.


  1. A down payment of 20% or higher
  2. A Debt-to-Income ratio of 43% or lower
  3. 2 years of employment history
  4. Cash reserves or liquid assets
  5. Credit reports from home country

2. DSCR Mortgage

The financial term DSCR is used by lenders to evaluate how capable a borrower is at meeting their debt payments. It calculates the borrower’s net operating income against all debt payments, including the mortgage payment.

A high DSCR means that the borrower is more likely to be able to pay back the loan. For example, a DSCR of 1 or more shows that the borrower has an income higher than their debt payments, which is a reassuring factor for lenders.


  1. A DSCR ratio of 1 or higher
  2. Credit Score of 620 or Higher
  3. Down Payment of 20-25%
  4. Property appraisal and 1007 Rent Schedule
  5. An LTV ratio below 75% is preferred

How to Get a J1 Visa Mortgage in the US

To increase your likelihood of success, there are several important steps you must follow when applying for a J-1 visa mortgage. Here is a guide to help you through the process:

1. Research J1 visa mortgage lenders

To find the best mortgage option for a visa holder, research lenders who offer specific mortgage options for this group. Take note of their requirements, interest rates, terms, and conditions to determine the most suitable choice.

HomeAbroad specializes in providing US mortgages for foreign nationals, including expats, newcomers, and non-resident investors buying primary residences, second homes, or investment property. Get a quote today!

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2. Determine your eligibility

To check if you qualify for a mortgage with a J-1 visa, first, make sure you meet the following criteria: have a valid J-1 visa, enough income, assets, and credit history, and meet the lender’s requirements.

3. Pre-approval process

To better understand how much you can borrow for a j1 mortgage, you may want to obtain pre-approval. This will provide you with an estimate of the loan amount you’re eligible for and allow you to have reasonable expectations when looking for homes.

4. Gather necessary documentation

Gather important documents, including your passport, J1 visa, evidence of income, bank statements, tax returns, and employment history (if you are applying for a QM loan). These documents are essential for applying for the j1 mortgage.

5. Start the application process

Please send your mortgage application to the lender you have selected. Make sure to provide all required documents accurately and in a timely manner. Expect further inquiries or requests from the lender during the underwriting process.

6. Review loan offers

After your application is processed, you will receive mortgage offers from different lenders. It is important to review them and compare factors such as interest rates, loan terms, and closing costs before making a decision.

7. Underwriting and home inspection

After you have selected a property and signed a purchase agreement, the lender will start the underwriting process. This includes verifying your financial details, appraising the property, and evaluating its condition. A home inspection may also be necessary to identify any potential problems that might impact the value or safety of the property.

8. Closing the loan

Once your application is approved, you’ll need to work with the lender to finalize the mortgage loan. This includes signing the required documents, paying the closing costs, and establishing a repayment plan.

Learn about the  Mortgage Closing Process: All You Need to Know About Your Closing and Closing Disclosure with us.

You can find more information on the US mortgage application process in the “Guide to Foreign National Mortgage Loans.” 

What are the Benefits of Getting a J-1 Visa Mortgage?

Obtaining a J-1 visa mortgage can provide numerous advantages if you’re planning to purchase a property in the United States. Below are five key points that explain the benefits of getting a J1 visa mortgage.

1. Paying a Mortgage is Better than Paying Rents

Obtaining a J1 visa mortgage offers the advantage of affordability. In numerous instances, your monthly mortgage payment might be less than the rent for a similar property. This would allow you to save on your monthly budget and get an economical housing solution.

These loans may also allow for a lower down payment requirement, ranging from 3% to 5%, compared to the 20% or higher down payment typically required with conventional mortgages.

2. The US Housing Market offers Lower Prices

J1 visa holders have a good opportunity to buy property in the United States at a lower cost compared to other prominent real estate markets across the world. The housing prices in the US are generally more affordable and can provide more value for their investment.

3. Grow your Property Value by Building Equity

By making regular mortgage payments, you gradually build equity in your home. This means that you own a portion of your property outright and its value increases over time. As you keep paying off your mortgage, your equity will grow steadily. This is an important asset that can contribute to your long-term wealth building.

4. Enjoy Tax Deductions on your Property

If you own a home and have a J-1 visa mortgage, you might qualify for specific tax deductions. By itemizing your deductions when filing your US federal income tax return, you can usually deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes. This can help you lower your total tax liability and potentially balance out some of the expenses linked to homeownership.

5. No US Credit History Required

If you are a J1 visa holder without a credit history in the US, don’t worry. You may still be able to get a loan, as some lenders have special programs for newcomers or use alternative credit assessment methods. To get a j1 mortgage despite your situation, you should look for a lender who is knowledgeable about the circumstances of J1 visa holders.

You can also refer to the Guide to Mortgage Loans from Foreign Nations without US Credit to know more!

To assess the advantages of obtaining a mortgage in the US, J-1 visa holders should keep in mind these five crucial points. It’s crucial to do proper research, collaborate with proficient experts, and locate a lender who can accommodate your particular needs and circumstances.

HomeAbroad provides foreign national mortgage programs with no US credit history, and you can contact us for a quick quote and preapproval.

Tips for Getting a J1 Visa Mortgage in the United States

1. Make sure you have a job and an adequate income

You must have a dependable income that can cover your monthly payments, as you’ll need to present evidence of your employment and salary to qualify for the loan. Therefore, while on a J1 visa, it’s vital to have a stable income source like a part-time job or enough savings to indicate that you are capable of making your mortgage payments.

2. Have a good credit score

A good credit score is important if you want to qualify for a conventional mortgage, but you don’t have to wait for building a credit score. You can opt for loans like foreign national mortgages to get the loan with no/thin US credit. By the time you’re eligible for conventional mortgages, you can build decent equity in your home and have some property appreciation if you buy now with no US credit mortgage option available.

3. Save for a substantial down payment

It is crucial that you save for a down payment, which indicates financial stability. Try to save a minimum of 10% of the property’s value. A larger down payment decreases the loan amount and displays to lenders that you are committed to the property.

4. Explore alternative lenders

If you are a J1 visa holder, you might encounter more stringent requirements when applying for a loan with a traditional bank. Your best bet might be to explore alternative lenders who specialize in providing mortgages to non-US citizens or immigrants.

5. Seek professional assistance

To make your mortgage journey smoother, it is advisable to seek professional guidance from a mortgage broker or immigration attorney who has experience with J1 visa mortgages. These professionals can assist in navigating the process, clarify your choices, and improve the likelihood of getting approved for a loan.

HomeAbroad can connect you with lenders who offer loans to visa holders and can assist you in obtaining a mortgage quickly, even if you are a newcomer with no US credit history.

These tips can help make applying for a mortgage with a J1 visa smoother. With proper planning and preparation, you can increase your chances of securing financing for your desired home.

Challenges of Getting a J-1 Visa Mortgage

If you are looking to get a J1 visa mortgage it can be not easy because lenders hesitate to give loans to non-permanent residents. It is only a temporary status, so it may not meet the criteria for a long-term immigration status, which many lenders prefer. If you are trying to get approved for a mortgage, you may encounter some common issues:

1. Low Credit Score

If you have a limited or no credit history it can be challenging to secure a mortgage as lenders might see you as a high-risk borrower. However, you can choose loan programs like a foreign national mortgage that requires no US credit.

2. Lack of Assets and Income

When applying for a loan, lenders require proof of a steady income and sufficient assets to cover the down payment and closing costs. However, if you have a J1 visa and are working part-time or living off savings, it can be challenging to provide the necessary documentation. As a result, you can face difficulties securing a mortgage.

3. Short-Term Residency

The J1 visa’s short-term nature is a hurdle for getting a mortgage. Lenders worry that you won’t have time to build up equity in the property before leaving, making it harder to recoup their investment if you default. To resolve this you should consider exploring co-signer or joint application options.

Moreover, the US is a strong economy, and you can always sell your property appreciation over time. you can consider a property management company to manage your property and continue building your equity, or you can rent it out to make a passive income.

Though obtaining a mortgage can be difficult, it is achievable by working with a lender that specializes in assisting non-US citizens.


If you are a J1 visa holder and want to get a mortgage, you need to be well-prepared and do some research. This involves having a stable job with a good income, having enough collateral and cash reserves, maintaining a good credit score, and getting pre-approved before proceeding.

To gain further knowledge on purchasing a home in the U.S. or to collaborate with a real estate agent who specializes in international real estate transactions, refer to the comprehensive guide on Buying a house in the U.S. as a foreign national.


  1. Can I qualify for a mortgage in the US with a J1 visa?

    Yes, it is possible to qualify for a mortgage in the US with a J1 visa, but eligibility requirements may vary depending on the lender and the specific mortgage program.

  2. Can you get a mortgage as a non-permanent resident?

    J1 visa holders, who are non-permanent residents, may be eligible for a visa mortgage. Certain lenders can provide this service by considering factors such as employment status, income stability, and visa duration. It is recommended to research specialized lenders or seek mortgage professionals with experience in visa financing, as requirements and availability can vary.

  3. Should I use an International Bank for my mortgage?

    If you are applying for a mortgage with a J1 visa, consider opting for an international bank. Important to mention that this bank has programs for non-U.S. citizens to get mortgages, and they have experience with it.
    But, it is essential to consider interest rates, fees, and reputation. It is advisable to explore the options of American banks with higher rates and expertise in the domestic real estate market.

  4. What is the interest rate for mortgages on J1?

    It’s lender and loan program specific, and you need to connect with a lender to know the rate of a specific loan program.

  5. How long does it take to get approved for a J1 mortgage?

    The approval process for a J-1 visa mortgage can take a few weeks to a few months. Various factors, such as financial complexity and responsiveness, may affect the time.
    You can speed up the process by gathering all the necessary documents beforehand and working with an expert in the field. You must have at least one year remaining on your J1 visa, which is a two-year program, to qualify for a loan from most lenders.

  6. How much down payment do I need to pay for a mortgage on a J1?

    When applying for a mortgage on a J1 visa, you may need to pay a higher down payment than other visas. In the U.S., the standard down payment is 10%, but for a J1 visa, you may need to pay 20% of the home’s total value. Although there may be some situations where you can pay less; generally, the down payment required for a J1 visa mortgage is 20-25%.

  7. How does the loan process differ for J1 visa holders compared to US citizens or permanent residents?

    While the overall loan process may be similar, J1 visa holders may need to provide additional documentation to verify their visa status, employment terms, and income stability. Lenders may also consider the duration of the J1 visa when assessing loan terms.

  8. Do I need to have an established US credit history to get a J1 visa mortgage?

    Having an established US credit history can be beneficial when applying for a J1 visa mortgage, but it may not always be mandatory. Some lenders offer programs specifically designed for individuals with limited or no US credit history, taking alternative forms of credit or international credit history into consideration.

  9. Can I get pre-approved for a mortgage before arriving in the US on a J1 visa?

    It is possible to get pre-approved for a mortgage before arriving in the US on a J1 visa. Pre-approval provides an estimate of the loan amount you may qualify for, helping you determine your budget and strengthen your position when making an offer on a property.

  10. Are there any restrictions or limitations on the type of property I can purchase with a J1 visa mortgage?

    Generally, J1 visa mortgage programs do not impose specific restrictions on the type of property you can purchase. However, the property must meet the lender’s requirements, and it’s essential to consider factors such as affordability and suitability for your needs.

About the author:
Amresh is the Founder & CEO of HomeAbroad. With over 14 years of mortgage industry experience, he specializes in foreign national mortgages and Non-QM mortgages. He is also a licensed mortgage originator (NMLS # 2549148).

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