What A Foreign Renter Coming to NYC Needs to Know

For a foreign renter, an NYC apartment rental search can be an extra daunting experience.

But a bit of preparation can definitely help make the process go more smoothly. Here’s what you need to do.

Have Your Documents Ready

New York City landlords are notorious for requiring significant documentation to rent an apartment. Before you start looking, try to gather as many of the documents noted on this handout as possible – Foreign Renter Documents

You might be wondering – do you really need ALL of these documents? Not always. The more you can produce, the better. But these tend to be the most important:

  • Letter of employment
  • Personal identification
  • Work permit or work visa
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
    • Note – It’s best if these statements are with American banks or banks with branches in the US; but it’s okay if they’re from your local bank. If it’s from a bank in your country, be sure to have information about the current USD conversion rate.

Have a “No Credit Back Up Plan” in Place

One of the biggest hurdles foreign renters have to overcome is their lack of a credit history within the U.S. One of the best ways to handle this is to get a guarantor lined up – this is a person based in the U.S. (preferably the state of New York) with a strong credit history who makes at least 80 times the monthly rent.

If you can’t find an individual guarantor, consider if using a corporate guarantor like Insurent or The Guarantors makes sense. Their fees usually range somewhere between 1 to 1.5 months of rent.

You can learn more about how you can overcome not having a US credit history in this blog post – Credit Issues? Here’s How You Can Still Rent an Apartment in NYC

Come to the US to Search BEFORE Your Move In Date

If at all possible, try to visit the U.S. about 2 to 3 weeks before your intended move-in date. If that’s not possible, consider staying in temporary housing until you can locate a long term lease.

Sometimes you can have someone look at apartments for you, but be warned that some landlords will not permit you to rent an apartment if you haven’t seen it yourself in person.


If this is your first time renting an apartment in NYC, then go and grab my NYC rental search guide. You can get for it FREE when you sign up for my email newsletter. SIGN UP HERE




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