Can Non-Citizen Widows or Widowers of US Service Members Get VA Loans?

As we’ve noted before, widows and widowers of US service members are indeed eligible for VA home loans—so long as they are single or remarry at a certain age or past a certain date.

There are also other requirements regarding the circumstances of their veteran spouse’s death, which must have been service related, or the result of a service-related disability.

But what about non-citizen widows or widowers of deceased US service members? Are they ineligible for VA home loans because of their residency status? What factors come into play when loan providers at the VA and other lending institutions are making determinations about a non-citizen candidate’s eligibility?

Residency status of veteran widows and widowers

The answer to the VA home loan eligibility question for non-citizen widows and widowers can vary wildly depending on a number of factors, not least of which the applicant’s residency status.

Non-citizens will usually have to fall under one of the two categories listed below—and to furnish the accompanying paperwork mentioned alongside these categories—in order for their mortgage applications to even be considered by lenders.

  • Non-permanent residents in possession of a work visa
  • Permanent residents in possession of a registered Form I-551, colloquially referred to as a “green card”

Visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information about the required residency documents.

Special VA stipulations

In addition to meeting these residency status requirements, non-citizen widows and widowers—just like their citizen counterparts—must meet one of the following eligibility requirements outlined by the VA in order to qualify for a home loan after their veteran spouse’s death.

  • The applicant must not have remarried (or, if they have, they must have remarried on or after the age of 57, or on or after the date of December 16, 2003)
  • The applicant’s spouse must have died while in the midst of their service, or as a result of a service-related disability
  • The applicant’s spouse must be designated a prisoner of war, or as missing in action by their superiors

If you meet these eligibility requirements as a non-citizen widow or widower, you’ll have a more competitive application for the VA’s home loan program.

This is welcome news for folks on the market for a new home—some reports indicate that applicants can obtain mortgages valued up to $417,000 in some instances.

For non-citizen homebuyers who don’t meet the VA’s eligibility requirements, but who have proper immigration documents, there are other federally supported lending programs like those at the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac for which they remain qualified.