Helping Foreign Tenants Understand the Application Process
As a foreign tenant applying to live in a rental in the United States, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the application process. Not only will this help you to be prepared but also help the process go more smoothly, but it will also help you to feel more comfortable as you complete the application process.
Proof of Identification
When you apply for a rental in the United States, you will first need to be sure you have all of the proper documentation in order. First, your landlord or property manager will need to see a photo ID in order to confirm who you are. Since you may not have a state-issued photo ID or driver’s license, you will need to provide another source of reliable identification. In most cases, a passport will suffice.
Bank Statements and Other Financial Information
If you have lived in the United States for a period of time and have opened a bank account in the country, you may be able to present your bank statement as proof of financial security. The landlord or property manager may also request statements from previous landlords or from utility companies in order to prove that you regularly paid your bills. As a part of this process, you may be asked to provide the contact information of previous landlords.
If you are an international student who is studying in the United States, you may have scholarships, loans or other financial assistance that helps to pay for your housing costs. In this case, you will need to provide this information to the landlord or property manager as well. Depending upon your situation, you may need to have a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident serve as the co-signer on your lease.
Your landlord or property manager will also need to see proof of employment in order to see that you have a steady source of income. Pay stubs and a letter from your employer on company stationary will typically be sufficient. If you are moving to a new job, the landlord or property manager will need to see an offer letter as proof of employment. As a general rule of thumb, landlords and property managers will want to see that your monthly income is at least 2.5 times the monthly rent.
Social Security Number
If you are planning to work in the United States, you will need to receive a work visa and you will be expected to apply for a Social Security number. If you have a Social Security number, you will need to include this information with your rental application. If you haven’t applied for a Social Security number or simply are not eligible for one, you will need to explain your situation to the landlord or property manager.
As a foreign tenant, you legally have the right to have your application processed in the same way as anyone else. To help demonstrate that you are a responsible and reliable tenant, be sure to have all of the proper documentation in order before applying for a rental.