Statutes Regulating Ownership of
Foreign ownership of U.S. land, specifically private agricultural lands, is an issue that traces to the origins of the United States. State laws vary widely and without a generalized or uniform approach. The following compilation includes state statutory prohibitions on foreign ownership of agricultural land, foreign ownership of other real property, reporting requirements, and corporate farming restrictions. It bears noting that some states’ laws restrict only ownership of agricultural lands while allowing for at least some level of ownership of non-agricultural land. Some states, such as Arizona, contain prohibitions on foreign ownership of public lands, which is outside the scope of this compilation. ￼
In some states, foreign persons and entities have the same property rights as the citizens of those states. In other states, however, foreign ownership of agricultural land is prohibited or significantly limited within the boundaries of the state. Approximately twenty-four states specifically forbid or limit nonresident aliens, foreign businesses and corporations, and foreign governments from acquiring or owning an interest in agricultural land within their state. A few states, such as Georgia, Maryland, and New Jersey have enacted statutes the permit foreign persons to purchase or hold real estate within their state to some degree; however, these states’ laws condition land ownership rights on certain factors. Although these laws do not contain language that strictly prohibits foreign ownership of real property within their state, these statutes could be construed as a restriction on foreign investments that are not expressly permitted under these states’ laws.
Additionally, some states require foreign persons and entities to report their purchase or ownership interest in farmland within their state. These state reporting statutes often correspond with the federal reporting law under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act.
These compilations are only an aid to research. State courts and federal courts, including United States Supreme Court decisions, have interpreted and continue to interpret these statutes. Further, this publication does not include case annotations, which a researcher must consult to thoroughly understand any particular statute. As such, these charts are intended for use solely as an educational tool and research aid, and not as a substitute for individual legal advice. Additionally, the reader is cautioned that these laws are subject to changes that are often significant.
For each state, the first column of the chart includes a reference and link to the text of the relevant state constitutional and statutory provisions. Each compilation contains the code sections relevant to the topics found at the head of the chart and are linked to the specific language at issue. This compilation was last updated on November 30, 2023.
|State||Relevant Provision(s)||Prohibition||Permission||Reporting||Corporate Farming|
|Alabama||Ala. Const. § 34||Yes||Yes*||None||None|
|Arizona||Ariz. Const. art. X, § 11||Yes—public land only||Not Expressly||None||None|
|Arkansas||Ark. Const. art. II, § 20||Yes||Yes*||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|California||Cal. Const. art. I, § 20||None||Yes||None||None|
|Colorado||Colo. Const. art. II, § 27||None||Yes||None||None|
|Connecticut||Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 47-7a||None||Yes||None||None|
|Delaware||Del. Code Ann. tit. 25, § 305||None||Yes||None||None|
|Florida||Fla. Const. art. I, § 2||Yes||Yes*||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Georgia||Ga. Code Ann. § 1-2-11||None||Yes**||None||None|
|Hawaii||HI Organic Act § 73(f)||Yes—public land only||Not Expressly||None||None|
|Idaho||Idaho Code Ann. § 55-103||Yes||Yes*||None||Yes, but limited|
|Illinois||765 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 50/1 to 50/8||None||Yes||Yes||None|
|Indiana||Ind. Code Ann. §§ 1-1-16-6, 8 to 11||Yes||Yes*||Yes—business entities only||Yes|
|Kansas||Yes—business entities only||None||Yes—foreign for-profit corporations and cooperatives only||Yes|
|Kentucky||Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 381.290 to 381.300||Yes||None||None||None|
|Louisiana||La. Const. Ann. art. I, § 4||Yes||Yes*||None||Yes|
|Maine||None||Yes||Yes—foreign corporations and partnerships only||None|
|Maryland||Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. § 14-101||None||Yes**||None||None|
|Massachusetts||Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 184, § 1||None||Yes||None||None|
|Mississippi||Yes||None||Committee monitors foreign ownership||None|
|Montana||Sess. Law Ch. No. 434 (2023) (to be codified under Mont. Code Ann. tit. 35)||Yes||Not Expressly||None||Yes, but limited|
|Nevada||Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 111.055||None||Yes||None||None|
|New Hampshire||N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 477:20||None||Yes||None||None|
|New Jersey||N.J. Stat. Ann. § 46:3-18||None||Yes**||None||None|
|New Mexico||None (but see N.M. Stat. Ann. § 45-2-111)||None||Not Expressly||None||None|
|New York||N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 10||None||Yes||None||None|
|North Carolina||N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 64-1||None||Yes||None||None|
|Oregon||Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 273.255||Yes—public land only||Not Expressly||None||None|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes*||State monitors AFIDA reporting||None|
|Rhode Island||34 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 34-2-1||None||Yes||None||None|
|Texas||Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 5.005||None||Yes||None||None|
|Utah||Utah Code Ann. §§ 63L-13-101 to 63L-13-202||Yes||Not Expressly||None||Yes, but limited|
|Vermont||Vt. Const. CH II, § 66||None||Yes||None||None|
|Virginia||Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-100; 55.1-507 to 509||Yes||Yes*||None||Yes, but limited|
|Washington||Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 64.16.005||None||Yes||None||None|
|Wyoming||Wyo. Const. art. I, § 29||None||Yes||None||None|
* State Code contains law(s) that permit and prohibit foreign individuals and/or entities from acquiring, holding, or owning an interest in real estate located within the boundaries of their state.
** State Code contains law(s) that include restrictions on certain foreign individuals and/or entities from acquiring, holding, or owning an interest in real property within the state; however, these laws derive from legislation enacted in the late-1700s and are likely not enforceable as currently written.
° West Virginia enacted in 2023 a law (W. Va. Code Ann. §§ 11-A-3-45a, -48a) restricting certain foreign purchases of real property located within the state, but the restriction limits these foreign investors from participating or purchasing property at a public auction. Because of the scope of this chart and the limited circumstances in which the state’s restriction applies, West Virginia is not credited as having a restriction in this chart. Nevertheless, readers should be aware this type of law restricting certain foreign investments may exist in different states.