J1 Visa Mortgage

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • J1 visa holders can face challenges but are eligible to apply for mortgages in the United States.
  • Specialized lenders offer loans for non-residents, with down payment requirements varying based on financial circumstances.
  • Applicants need to meet criteria such as demonstrating creditworthiness, providing identification documents, obtaining an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), and proving financial stability with asset documentation.
  • Personal loans can be utilized to cover the down payment if the applicant lacks the necessary funds, and comparing loan options is crucial to secure the best terms.

The US provides numerous opportunities for professionals to become better in their fields of expertise. This is why many foreigners choose to come here in order to diversify their knowledge. Some might even consider making the US their new home. On that note, in this article, we will focus our attention on getting a J1 visa mortgage. If you are in this situation, you should find answers to most questions you had on the topic.

What Is a J1 Visa?

Before we get into more detail about a J1 visa, we should briefly clarify what a J1 visa is. What are the specifications of this type of visa?

Basically, this program is provided for non-US residents who wish to learn, work, teach or do their research in the US. The main purpose of this visa is facilitating the possibility of making breakthroughs in domains such as science, art, education, and the list may go on.

Visa Holders and Mortgages

As a holder of a J1 visa, you might have your set of doubts whether you can apply for a mortgage or not. And this is for good reason. Typically, you can get a loan as a J1 visa holder.

Meanwhile, buying a home can be difficult, and you might stumble across several obstacles. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible. You can access a mortgage as an L1 visa holder, or as a TN visa holder.

The good thing is that there are specialized lenders in the marketplace that provide loans for each scenario.

That is to say, these are loans specifically designated for non-residents that wish to purchase a home in the US. Notwithstanding, it’s worth noting that usually, a down payment is required. As for the size of the down payment, it usually depends on the lender, as well as the financial circumstances of the applicant.

But we’ll get into more detail about getting a J1 visa mortgage in the paragraphs below.

J1 Visa Mortgage

Now, let’s see how you can qualify for a J1 visa mortgage.

4 Things You Need for a J1 Visa Mortgage

Getting a J1 visa mortgage isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Nevertheless, it comes with a range of requirements, as it is the case with most loan products on the marketplace. Essentially, you are expected to demonstrate your reliability as a borrower – this remains essential for each lender.

Usually, getting a loan as a non-US citizen isn’t so different from getting a loan as a US citizen. Your creditworthiness is normally assessed, as well as the year-to-date income, and credit report. Granted that the documents aren’t in English, you will need to have them translated.


In order to qualify for a mortgage, the lender will most likely analyze your income verification history. If it is applicable, you might present tax documents from your country of origin. Usually, lenders source the income of applicants since OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) monitors foreign regimes and countries, terrorists, and the list may go on.

Aside from employment history, which is mandatory, you are expected to supply a 2-year credit history in the US. In some scenarios, the US bank might partner with the bank back home, thus making things easier.


As you might expect, you should also provide a means of identification. More specifically, having a passport and a second form of ID is usually required. On a different note, you should ensure that your passport is valid prior to filing an application.

Individual Tax Identification Number

Another important aspect when it comes to getting a J1 visa mortgage is having a Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number. Usually, you can acquire an individual Tax Identification Number by working with an accountant.

Getting an ITIN might seem a tad challenging at first, but this step is necessary for getting a mortgage. Just as it is necessary to have an ITIN when you reach the US and you start working. This is also mandatory as you start to pay taxes.

Usually, this number is provided when you claim treaty benefits, or when you file tax returns, so on and so forth. Once you have applied for getting an ITIN, a lender will be open to collaborating with you and providing an offer that addresses your personalized circumstances. Essentially, an ITIN showcases your employment history, among other things.

This is evidently important for the lender as it indicates whether you are financially stable or not. Financial stability is, supposedly, among the most important aspects assessed by a lender during the loan application process.

Proof of Assets

Another requirement is to facilitate proof of your assets. This is important in order to verify your financial situation. Concurrently, this matters as it can showcase that you enjoy financial stability.

As it is the case with US residents that apply for a mortgage, the lender wants to review a comprehensive summary of your financial standing. This is basically the purpose of providing all these documents.

Remember that it doesn’t matter if you don’t own any assets in the US. This won’t stand in the way of you qualifying for a J1 visa mortgage. You should simply demonstrate that you have foreign funds. You should also indicate the possibility of transferring the funds to a bank account. In general, a bank will collaborate with a third party in order to access important foreign bank statements.

How to Use a Personal Loan to Pay the Down Payment on Your Mortgage

One of the main impediments that could stay in your way to getting a J1 visa mortgage would be the requirement to provide a sizeable down payment. Basically, most lenders will require at least 20 percent of the total amount of money you want to borrow – namely the size of your mortgage.

And while this may seem like a lot, and you might feel overwhelmed, providing a down payment means that you will make smaller payments throughout the lifespan of the loan. With that in mind, if you want to purchase a house that is worth $200,000, then you should provide a down payment worth $20,000.

What do you do, though, if you don’t have access to this sum of money? This is actually the case for many US residents as well, so don’t fret it. A solution that is readily available would be getting a personal loan. The good thing about personal loans is that you can use this type of financing for almost anything. This means you can also use the money to supply a down payment for your future house.

Moving on to the loan terms for personal loans, they are generally more lenient when it comes to private lenders. That is to say, private lenders are more prone to customizing the loan terms depending on your financial situation. Make sure you compare different options prior to deciding on something, to ensure that you’ve made the right call.


Getting a mortgage application approved is never easy – not even for US residents. This doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged. There is still hope that you can get the J1 visa mortgage you need for purchasing a home. We hope that the guidelines included in our brief guide will serve as a good starting point in this direction.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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