Investing in real estate abroad has become more common as the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected. For those wanting to do so, purchasing property in the United States can be attractive.
Recently, a foreigner asked Americans online whether it is legal for non-citizens to buy homes in the U.S. Here’s what Americans had to say.
1. Foreigners Can Buy U.S. Homes
Yes. As long as foreigners can afford it and follow all applicable laws, they can purchase homes in the same manner as citizens.
2. Owning a Home Without Immigration Privilege
While there are no restrictions on foreigners buying a house in the U.S., doing so doesn’t grant them any immigration privileges.
Instead, one noted, they are only allowed to live in that home part-time depending on their visa statuses, such as six months for Canadians and B tourist visas and three months for the ESTA program, as immigration officers prefer that foreigners spend as much time outside the U.S. as they were inside.
3. Non-Citizens Can Buy U.S. Homes If They Follow Laws
According to one, foreign nationals are permitted to purchase homes in the U.S. as long as they can afford it and follow all applicable laws, including living in the house if they wish, and while some Americans may not have favorable opinions about foreign real estate investment, purchasing a home to live in as a non-citizen is not considered unfavorable.
4. Restrictions for Some Foreign Nationals
While foreign nationals are generally allowed to purchase homes in the U.S., there are some restrictions for specific individuals from countries like North Korea and the former Soviet Union, who are prohibited from buying homes in sensitive areas by significant government or military installations.
However, one further stated this restriction might only apply to those with ties to embassies or consulates rather than all individuals from those countries.
5. Foreign Nationals Pay Property Taxes
According to another, generally, foreign nationals are allowed to purchase homes in the United States as they are required to pay taxes on the property, like everyone else, and they can’t take the property with them when they leave.
6. Financing Challenges for Non-U.S. Citizens
While foreign nationals can purchase homes in the U.S., one suggested that financing may pose a challenge for those needing domestic ties and credit. They further shared their experience in attempting to purchase a vacation home overseas in France, where needing a local address made obtaining a French bank loan easier.
7. Foreigners Owning U.S. Homes: Examples
One stated their parents have rich neighbors from another country who owns a home next door in Miami as a place to stay when they shop and vacation in the city. Foreign nationals can purchase homes in the United States, although financing may be an issue for some without domestic ties and credit.
8. Concerns About Chinese Land Ownership
Many Americans shared that while foreigners are generally allowed to purchase homes in the U.S., there has been a movement to ban Chinese entities from buying land in the country due to its relationship with the U.S. and concerns about foreign real estate investment by some Americans.
However, one explained that it would be unsuccessful. First, it violates the 14th amendment, as all persons have equal protection under the law (meaning the liberties not explicitly reserved for citizens established in the constitution equally apply to persons in the U.S. regardless of citizenship status).
“And it would be an even more explicit violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.”
9. No Citizenship is Needed to Own U.S. Property
Owning property in the United States does not require citizenship or residency; even owning a business is allowed as long as the individual has the appropriate visa.
10. Owning U.S. Homes Depends on Finances and Laws
Finally, Americans expressed that the ability to purchase a home in the United States is primarily based on an individual’s financial means and compliance with the law rather than their citizenship or residency status.
While there may be some restrictions and challenges for non-citizens purchasing real estate in the United States, the law generally allows and protects it.