How to Refinance an Investment Property as a Non-U.S. Resident

Non-U.S residents can refinance with conventional or private mortgages.
i Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Non-U.S. resident aliens-- without a green card -- can find it hard to get a home loan or refinance an investment property. To qualify for conventional mortgage loans, the non-resident alien must be in the U.S. legally and have a renewable work visa. Generally, foreign nationals -- without visas -- will find it difficult to impossible to refinance an investment property --unless they use private money -- but may be able to refinance a primary residence or second home through a bank.

Non-Resident Aliens

Non-residents seeking to refinance an investment property in the U.S. must have worked in the U.S. for 24 months and filed two years of U.S. Federal Income taxes. They also need a U.S. credit history. In addition to verifying work history and income, the lender verifies assets from acceptable sources. A traditional credit report through Equifax, TransUnion and Experian is best, but a few lenders may accept credit references in lieu of this requirement.

Automatic Underwriting Systems

Most lenders use automated underwriting systems -- AUS -- to receive approval for conventional mortgage loans. These systems base underwriting decisions on credit scores from the three U.S. credit bureaus, as well as the loan application. If the application does not include credit scores, it won't get an approved/eligible response from the AUS. Typically, lenders don't want to hassle with loans that don't get approved through the AUS.

Required Visas

Before extending a mortgage loan, lenders want to make sure that borrowers have stable past employment and a reasonable expectation of future employment for at least three years. The L1 or H1 visas provide this assurance since they cover three years and are likely renewable.

Private Money

If a foreign nation doesn't meet these requirements, they can seek private or hard money from private real estate investors. Hard money means it is based on the value of the underlying asset, which is the property -- not the creditworthiness of the borrower. Costs for these loans exceed the cost of conventional mortgages. Also, the lender only lends about 50 to 70 percent of the property value instead of the 80 percent or more that a conventional lender will provide. Some lenders require that you have an employer identification number or EIN issued by the IRS.

the nest