Purchasing a property in the United States is a common dream for many international students studying in the country. However, securing a mortgage as an F1 visa holder can be a challenging and complicated process. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide for international students looking to purchase property and secure a mortgage.
Understanding F1 Visa
Before diving into the intricacies of F1 visa mortgage, let’s first understand what an F1 visa is. The F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows international students to pursue academic studies in the United States at colleges, universities, conservatories, seminaries, academic high schools, language training programs, and any other academic educational institutions.
Limitations of F1 Visa
International students are allowed to work part-time on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during their academic term and up to 40 hours per week during breaks. However, off-campus work is strictly limited and requires special authorization.
As an F1 visa holder, your visa is tied to your academic program, which means if you do not maintain your status as a full-time student, your visa could be revoked. Additionally, the F1 visa is only valid for the duration of a student’s academic program and for a grace period of 60 days after the completion of the program.
Challenges of Securing a Mortgage on F1 Visa
Since international students on F1 visas are temporary residents in the United States, they may find it challenging to secure a mortgage. They may lack the necessary credit history, the required employment history, and the proof of income required to qualify for a mortgage.
Another issue is that F1 visa holders are required to have a co-signer who is a permanent resident or citizen of the United States. The co-signer agrees to take on the responsibility of the mortgage if the borrower cannot pay. Finding a co-signer who is willing to take on this responsibility can be a challenge.
Tips for Securing a Mortgage on F1 Visa
Despite these challenges, it is still possible for international students on F1 visas to secure a mortgage. Here are a few tips that can help:
Build Credit History: Establishing a credit history in the United States is crucial for securing a mortgage. International students can begin by obtaining a US credit card and paying bills on time. Students can also consider applying for a secured credit card to help build credit history.
Save for a Larger Down Payment: International students on F1 visas may need to provide a larger down payment to qualify for a mortgage. Saving up to 30% or more of the purchase price of the property can help secure a mortgage.
Find a Co-Signer: International students can seek out a co-signer who is a US resident or citizen. This can be a family member, close friend, or even a professional co-signing service.
Work with Lenders Who Specialize in F1 Visa Mortgages: Some lenders specialize in providing mortgages to international students on F1 visas. Working with these lenders can help streamline the process and increase the chances of approval.
Securing a mortgage on an F1 visa can be a complex process, but it is not impossible. Building credit history, saving money for a larger down payment, finding a co-signer, and working with specialized lenders can all increase the chances of approval. While the process may be challenging, owning property in the United States is a dream that can become a reality with careful planning, research, and determination.