There is a misconception that unless you have a green card or other type of legal immigration status you cannot buy real estate. The reality is that there’s no requirement of legal immigration status to purchase real estate.
Now, to purchase real estate as an individual, you are likely going to need a social security number. Many immigrants without status in the US possess a social security number. In the past some states used to provide a social security number to people without legal status. While this does not happen any longer, many immigrants also have a social security number because they applied for some sort of benefit that it is pending, or was denied. Once an application for an immigration benefit is denied, your social security number does not stop to be valid. While the immigrant may not be permitted to work, the social security number becomes associated with that individual, builds credit with the credit bureaus and may very well be used to purchase real estate.
For those who do not have a social security number the situation is different. They will have to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN. This number is the version of the SSN for those without status, or for foreigners not residing in the United States. Any foreigner can decide to purchase vacation home in Florida for example, and there’s no residency requirement for such a purchase. In fact, in south Florida, there are thousands of assets (specially the high valued ones) owned by wealthy individuals who do not enjoy any immigration status other than a regular B1/B2 visa or that enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program applicable to certain countries.
Another alternative is for the immigrant to purchase the asset under an LLC or other type of entity. There’s no residency or legal status requirement to create an LLC, and once created, the buyer can place the property under the LLC without having to own it individually. In fact, an LLC provides protections that are not present in the situation that a person owns real estate on an individual basis.
For more information about purchasing real estate, legal residency, or immigration, contact a real estate attorney or an immigration lawyer in Miami at 305-570-2208.
You can also program a case evaluation at https://www.lawayala.com/consultation/ or email attorney Eduardo A. Maura at firstname.lastname@example.org.