Renting an Apartment Without US Citizenship

keys

If you’re not a U.S citizen but you’re looking to rent an apartment in the U.S, there’s good news and bad news.

  • The good news: It’s common, and most landlords will be prepared. The bad news: You’ll need to do a little extra homework.
  • The bad news: You’ll need to do a little extra homework.

Thanks to sites such as ApartmentSearch.com, the process of renting an apartment today is much easier than it used to be. But it can still be a little confusing—even for U.S. citizens!—so here are a few tips non-citizens should know when renting in the States.

You Have Homework

You’re going to be moving into a space owned by someone else. Among other things, this person is responsible for paying their own form of "rent" on the property (usually by way of a large bank loan) and making sure the building is safe for everyone who lives there.

These are the two main reasons why everyone who lives in an apartment complex must provide proof that they are who the say they are. Additionally, landlords must ensure that residents can afford to pay rent and that they do not pose a safety risk to the community.

For you, that means providing paperwork such as:

  • Identification (a passport or state-issued identification)
  • Proof that you are able to pay the rent such as a pay stub, official job offer, or proof of financial assistance if you’re here as a student
  • Financial information (two months of bank statements)
    • A Form 1040NR—also known as the U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return form—can also facilitate the process in some cases
  • Optional but helpful references from previous landlords
  • You’ll also need to provide a Social Security number. Don’t have one? Don’t worry. You should be able to rent an apartment without a Social Security number provided you have a student visa or Permanent Resident Card (a.k.a. Green Card).

You Have Rights

The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability, and—of special relevance to this topic—national origin. Such discrimination is illegal and can be reported to your regional Housing and Urban Development office.

Landlords are not prohibited from asking about your residency status. They just have to pose the question to everyone so it’s done fairly and not based on whims or potentially illegal suspicions.

If you’ve done your homework and acquired the sorts of paperwork outlined in the previous section, you should be able to demonstrate residency status easily.

You Have To Be Careful

Unfortunately, criminals are looking to steal money from prospective renters, regardless of their citizenship status.

You can protect yourself by becoming familiar with many of these scams. Here are a few suggestions from USA.gov.

  • Do not wire money as a deposit or payment of first and last month's rent. It’s equivalent to giving cash and prevents you from getting a refund, even if the offer proves fraudulent.
  • Walk away from any sales pitch that employs high-pressure tactics (“You have to write me a check immediately or lose the opportunity to rent here!”).
  • Visit the property personally before signing a lease. And don’t pay a dime for a security deposit, fee, or first month’s rent before you’ve signed a lease.
  • Do not provide personal information (such as your Social Security number or financial information) to anyone over the phone or via email without verifying their identity.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also lists common scams you should watch out for on its website.

There Are Apartments Waiting for You

So, can a non-U.S. citizen rent an apartment? Absolutely. All it takes is some research and a bit of paperwork! Take the first step by browsing ApartmentSearch.com for apartments for non-U.S citizens and citizens alike across the United States. Plus, mention ApartmentSearch as the referral source on your lease and you could receive up to $200 in rewards!

Additional Resources

Apartment Safety and Security
Feel safe in your own apartment by following these tips on apartment safety and security from ApartmentSearch.com.
Apartment Safety Checklist
Feel safe in your own apartment by following these tips on apartment safety and security from ApartmentSearch.com.
Apartment Safety Tips for Summer Vacations
Going on summer vacation? Make sure your apartment, pets, and car are safe by following these 12 apartment safety tips!
Tips for Apartment Emergency Preparedness
Stay safe in your apartment during an emergency with these tips for being prepared from ApartmentSearch.com.
A Beginner’s Guide to Exploring New York City
Moving to New York City? Here’s our quick and easy guide to living, getting around, and having fun in the heart of the empire state.
A Beginner’s Guide to Oklahoma City, OK
Moving to Oklahoma City? Use our quick and easy guide to living, getting around, and having fun in this southern metropolis.
A Beginner’s Guide To Philadelphia, PA
Moving to Philadelphia? Use our quick and easy guide to living, getting around, and having fun in this historic city.
A Beginner’s Guide To Phoenix, AZ
Moving to Phoenix, AZ? Use our quick and easy guide to living, getting around, and having fun in this event-filled city.
A Beginner’s Guide to Pittsburgh, PA
Moving to Pittsburgh, PA? Use our quick and easy guide to finding an apartment, getting around, and having fun in this historic city.
Advice for Moving to Sacramento, California
Take the stress out of moving to Sacramento with this helpful moving guide. Get tips for renting an apartment in Sacramento, enjoying the city and more!
Show More
Apartment Staging Tips
Staging a model apartment for renters to tour? Use our quick and easy guide to home staging for potential new tenants.
Student Furniture Rental
Want to outfit your new ApartmentSearch.com apartment with stylish, affordable furniture? Learn more about CORT’s rental furniture options.
The Benefits of CORT Furniture Rental for Military Members
Are you a military service member moving to a new home? CORT Furniture Rental is easy & convenient. Learn more!
What Is the CORT Personal Service Guarantee?
Renting furniture for your apartment? Choose a company that respects its clients. CORT Furniture Rental is dedicated to upholding its Personal Service Guarantee.
Why Rent Furniture Instead of Buying New?
"What's the advantage of furniture rental vs. buying new? Here are some situations in which renting furniture may make more sense for you.

More Like This

A Guide to Apartment Lease Types
Don't know what type of apartment lease you need? ApartmentSearch.com goes over the different types of apartment leases to help you decide.
Checklist for Moving to Another Country
Moving internationally? From figuring out furniture to getting health insurance, here's what you need to know to make your move as simple as possible.
Choose the Best Movers
It doesn’t matter if you’re moving for the first time or hopefully the last; if you don’t plan accordingly, relocation can be a logistical nightmare.
How to Find a Handicap-Accessible Apartment
ApartmentSearch.com's guide to finding housing and apartments that are handicap-accessible. Your new home is waiting for you!
How to Read Apartment Ratings and Reviews: Can You Spot a Fake?
Learn how to spot a fake apartment review when searching for an apartment. ApartmentSearch.com offers tips for finding the right place to live.
How to Rent an Apartment with Bad Credit
If you have bad credit, you can still rent an apartment. Find out how to rent with bad credit at ApartmentSearch.com.
show more
Pros and Cons of Renting an Apartment vs. Buying a House
Trying to decide whether you should rent an apartment or buy a house? Use this pros & cons guide from ApartmentSearch.com to help.
Renting Apartments and Credit: A Guide to Credit Scores and Reports
Learn more about why apartments check your credit score when you rent and what your credit score means at ApartmentSearch.com.
The Ultimate Apartment Moving Checklist
Moving apartments? Use this ultimate checklist to make sure you take care of everything necessary to make your move go smoothly.
Tips for Moving with Pets
Moving can be stressful for you & your pet! ApartmentSearch.com offers tips to make moving with your pet go more smoothly.
Top Questions to Ask on an Apartment Tour
Ask the right questions on your apartment tour, so you can find the perfect place to live. ApartmentSearch.com has compiled the top questions to ask the apartment guide.
What to Know When Relocating for Work
Relocating for work? The duo could make for serious stress, especially if you need to find an apartment for rent. Check out 5 tips for a smoother move.
What to Look for in an Apartment
Don't get overwhelmed by all of the different apartment options available! ApartmentSearch.com has put together a list so you know what to look for on an apartment tour.
Why Choose International Furniture Rental?
Moving internationally? Choose the CORT Global Network for international furniture rental packages & more. Click here & learn how!