U.S. Homeownership: A Guide for International Relocating Employees

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Cheryl Pfaffenberger

For many employees relocating to the U.S., the prospect of homeownership is thrilling. However, for non-U.S. citizens, the process may involve additional steps and documentation. Relocating to the U.S. presents a mix of exciting opportunities and challenges, with purchasing a home being a notable challenge, particularly for those without established U.S. credit. Navigating a foreign real estate and home financing system, comprehending mortgage options for international buyers, and building credit from scratch are all part of the process. Despite these hurdles, the process represents a significant step towards settling in, and is a personal and professional achievement for many international employees.

Understanding the Impact of Credit in the U.S. Mortgage Process

Credit history plays an important role in the U.S. home buying process, impacting mortgage eligibility and interest rates. Credit reports and scores are used by lenders to assess the applicant’s risk as a borrower, and a strong credit history typically leads to better loan terms and lower interest rates. Employees relocating to the U.S. that are considering buying a home may face challenges due to their lack of U.S. credit history, making it difficult for lenders to assess their creditworthiness and limiting their mortgage financing options.


International Buyers Blog (1)


Building an International Credit Report

Employees relocating to the U.S. without established U.S. credit may be able to provide an acceptable credit history by creating an International Credit Report. Creating an International Credit Report involves verifying at least three instances of credit activity with a 12-month history from the country of origin. Depending on the program type, the following types of credit may be acceptable:

  • Housing history (rent or mortgage)
  • Commercial credit cards
  • Installment debts
  • Regular utility payments from the home country

To verify these types of credit, conference calls are required with the credit services company, the relocating employee, and any creditors.

If the relocating employee does not have established U.S. credit, an online homebuyer education class may be required to be completed prior to closing on the new home. The lender will provide the information needed on how to arrange for this class.

International Buyers Blog (2)Verified Pre-Approval

After the relocating employee completes the loan application, they can begin to gather and upload income and asset documentation to the lender based on a checklist of items supplied. The documentation supplied (typically a current paystub, year-end statement, and bank statements) is reviewed by and a verified pre-approval letter is issued. A verified pre-approval letter of assets and income can be sent even prior to the International Credit Report being returned.

The pre-approval process should be completed prior to home finding. A verified pre-approval letter will not only offer the relocating employee assurance that their documentation is sufficient for approval, but it also presents a better negotiating tool when making an offer on a home.


Unique Requirements for Loan Approval and Closing

After finding a home and the offer has been accepted, the next steps include locking in an interest rate with the lender, submitting required documentation for underwriting, and receiving final loan approval. In addition to standard underwriting requirements of the lender, some examples of other documentation required for loan approval may include:

  • International Buyers Blog (4)Paystub from the new location
  • Year-end earnings statement for the last two years
  • International Credit Report
  • 60 days of asset statements
  • Documentation to support funds withdrawn from overseas accounts and deposited into a U.S. account
  • Documents translated into English
  • Obtaining a U.S. social security number prior to closing
  • Supplying a valid U.S. work visa

If any borrower will not be able to attend the closing in person, a power of attorney (POA) will be required to authorize another person to sign on their behalf. If the borrower is located outside the U.S., the POA will need to be notarized by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

How Can You Assist Your International Relocating Employees?

One thing that a relocating employee can do to help ensure a smooth home buying process is to connect with a trusted lending partner as early as possible in the relocation process. Engaging quickly with a mortgage lender who specializes in international loan programs is crucial. Not only will they provide expert guidance through the complex U.S. home buying process, but will also help to navigate unique challenges, such as building an international credit report and understanding unique loan requirements. An early conversation with a mortgage lender will ensure a smooth, more informed path to homeownership for employees relocating to the U.S.

Additional information to share with your relocating employees can be found here.


Homeownership is a realistic goal for employees relocating to the U.S. with the correct guidance, preparation, and support. Engaging early with trusted experts who understand the nuances of international relocation and the U.S. real estate market can significantly help clarify the process. By following the necessary steps, from building an international credit report to navigating the mortgage and closing processes, relocating employees can successfully achieve their goal of owning a home.

Whatever the financing needs of your relocating employees may be, Sirva Mortgage is here to help. With over 30 years of focus and expertise in relocation mortgage lending, we understand the important role home financing plays in the relocation process. Please visit our mortgage website to learn more or contact us at


Sirva Mortgage, Inc. (NMLS Unique Identifier# 2240) is engaged in the business of originating residential mortgage loans. We are licensed or authorized to conduct mortgage loan origination in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.  Sirva Mortgage is not a depository institution and does not act as or represent itself a full service bank.  Reference to the term “mortgage banker” is a common, accepted industry term referring to companies engaged only in the business of making mortgage loans.  Various state laws and regulations and our individual license in various states refer to us as a mortgage lender, mortgage banker or mortgage broker. For our Privacy Policy and Affiliated business relationships please visit Call 800-531-3837 for more information. Sirva Mortgage, Inc. is licensed by (among others): Arizona Licensed Mortgage Banker, License #BK-901430; Licensed by the  Department Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, Lender License #413-0944; Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee #6221; Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee; Kansas Licensed Mortgage Company, License # SL.0000368; Massachusetts Mortgage Lender, License #ML1341; Licensed by the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, Mississippi Licensed Mortgage Company #369/2009; Missouri Residential Mortgage Licensee; Montana Mortgage Lender License #39706, Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department; Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance; New York Licensed Mortgage Banker by the N.Y. State Banking Department; Ohio Mortgage Broker License #MB.803887.000; Licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking; Rhode Island Licensed Lender; Texas Mortgage Lender, License # 44605; Licensed as a Mortgage Lender by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, license #MC-310. This is not an offer of credit or an offer to enter an interest rate lock-in agreement nor is this notice of loan approval. Main Office of Sirva Mortgage, Inc.; 6200 Oak Tree Blvd., Ste 300, Independence, OH  44131; Telephone: 1-800-531-3837.

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