How to get international student mortgage canada

To provide a comprehensive guide on obtaining an international student mortgage in Canada, I’ll cover various aspects in detail. This will include understanding the challenges international students face, exploring potential solutions, discussing eligibility criteria, financial considerations, the role of credit history, documentation requirements, the importance of legal status, the impact of down payments, and the role of co-signers or guarantors. Additionally, I’ll touch upon specific lender programs, government initiatives, and provide practical advice on navigating the process effectively. Let’s dive into each section to provide a thorough exploration of this topic.


Obtaining a mortgage as an international student in Canada can be both challenging and complex. This guide aims to provide a detailed overview of the process, including eligibility criteria, financial considerations, documentation requirements, and practical tips to increase your chances of securing a mortgage. Understanding these aspects will empower international students to navigate the Canadian mortgage landscape more effectively.

Challenges Faced by International Students

International students face several challenges when seeking a mortgage in Canada:

  1. Income and Employment: Limited income sources and employment restrictions can make it difficult to demonstrate financial stability.
  2. Credit History: Lack of a Canadian credit history poses a significant hurdle, as most lenders rely on credit scores to assess risk.
  3. Legal Status: Visa restrictions and uncertain residency status can affect eligibility for mortgage financing.
  4. Down Payment Requirements: Higher down payment requirements may pose a financial barrier.
  5. Documentation: Requirements for extensive documentation, often more than what local residents need, can be overwhelming.

Understanding Mortgage Eligibility Criteria

1. Income Requirements

Lenders typically require proof of stable income to assess your ability to repay the mortgage. As an international student, income sources may include scholarships, savings, part-time jobs, or financial support from family abroad. Some lenders may accept income from these sources, while others may have specific criteria regarding the stability and continuity of income.

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2. Credit History

Establishing a credit history in Canada is crucial for mortgage approval. Without a Canadian credit history, lenders may consider alternative credit reports or international credit history. Building credit through responsible use of credit cards or small loans can demonstrate your creditworthiness.

3. Legal and Visa Status

Your legal status in Canada must permit you to enter into a mortgage contract. Certain visa types may restrict your ability to apply for a mortgage. It’s essential to verify your visa conditions and understand any restrictions that may apply.

4. Down Payment

A substantial down payment is typically required to secure a mortgage. The exact amount varies but can range from 5% to 20% of the property’s value, depending on the lender and your specific situation. Saving diligently for a down payment is essential for international students.

5. Documentation Requirements

Prepare all necessary documentation, including your passport, study permit, proof of income (such as bank statements, employment letters, or scholarship documentation), and any additional documents required by the lender. Organizing these documents in advance can streamline the mortgage application process.

Financial Considerations

1. Affordability

Calculate your budget and determine how much you can afford to borrow based on your income and expenses. Lenders assess affordability by considering your debt-to-income ratio, which compares your monthly debt payments to your gross monthly income.

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2. Mortgage Types

Explore different mortgage options, such as fixed-rate mortgages, variable-rate mortgages, or government-insured mortgages. Each type has unique features and implications for your financial situation. Consider consulting with a mortgage broker to evaluate which mortgage type best suits your needs.

3. Interest Rates

Monitor interest rate trends and understand how fluctuations may impact your mortgage payments over time. Fixed-rate mortgages offer stability with predictable payments, while variable-rate mortgages may fluctuate based on market conditions.

Role of Co-signers or Guarantors

Having a Canadian citizen or permanent resident co-sign or act as a guarantor on your mortgage can increase your chances of approval. The co-signer assumes responsibility for the mortgage if you are unable to make payments, providing reassurance to lenders regarding repayment risk.

Government Programs and Initiatives

1. CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

The CMHC offers mortgage loan insurance to lenders, enabling them to provide mortgages to borrowers with a down payment as low as 5%. This insurance reduces the lender’s risk and may broaden your mortgage options as an international student.

2. Provincial Programs

Some provinces offer programs or incentives to assist first-time homebuyers, including international students. Research provincial initiatives that support homeownership and inquire about eligibility criteria and application procedures.

Practical Steps to Obtain an International Student Mortgage

1. Research Lenders

Contact various lenders to inquire about their mortgage programs for international students. Compare interest rates, terms, and eligibility requirements to identify lenders that align with your financial situation.

2. Build Credit History

Establish a Canadian credit history by obtaining a credit card or small loan and making timely payments. Building good credit demonstrates your financial responsibility to lenders and improves your eligibility for mortgage financing.

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3. Save for a Down Payment

Save diligently for a down payment based on the lender’s requirements and property purchase price. Consider additional costs, such as closing costs and property taxes, when calculating your total financial commitment.

4. Seek Professional Advice

Consult with a mortgage broker who specializes in working with international students or newcomers. A broker can provide personalized guidance, recommend suitable mortgage options, and assist with the application process.

5. Prepare Documentation

Gather all required documentation, including proof of income, identification, visa status, and any additional documents specified by the lender. Organize your documents neatly to facilitate a smooth mortgage application process.


Securing an international student mortgage in Canada requires careful planning, understanding of eligibility criteria, and proactive financial management. By addressing challenges such as income verification, credit history establishment, legal status considerations, and down payment requirements, international students can navigate the mortgage process successfully. Exploring lender programs, leveraging government initiatives, and seeking professional advice can enhance your prospects of achieving homeownership in Canada as an international student.

This comprehensive guide aims to equip international students with the knowledge and strategies necessary to navigate the complexities of obtaining a mortgage in Canada. By addressing each aspect in detail and providing practical advice, this guide serves as a valuable resource for international students aspiring to achieve their homeownership goals in Canada.