Moving to a different country can be exciting but exhausting. We simplify the process of getting a loan in the US.
Our top pick: LendingClub
Borrow up to $40,000 for a variety of purposes, with rates from 6.16% to 35.89%.
- Recommended Credit Score: 660 or higher
- Minimum Loan Amount: $1,000
- Maximum Loan Amount: $40,000
- Loan Term: 3 to 5 years
- Simple online application process
- No prepayment penalties
- Cosigners welcome
Personal loans you might be eligible for as a nonresident
This research is based on public information. It’s up to the provider to decide whether or not you’re eligible based on your unique circumstance.
|Provider||Loans offered to nonresidents?||Other requirements||Product details|
|LendingClub||Yes, you might meet LendingClub’s eligibility criteria if you are a US citizen, permanent resident, or living in the US on a valid, long-term visa||
|Stilt||Yes, you might be eligible for a Stilt personal loan if you hold one of the following visas: F-1 and OPT, H-1B, O-1, L-1, TN, J-1, or DACA||
|SoFi||Yes, SoFi offers loans to nonresidents holding a J-1, H-1B, E-2, O-1, or TN visa with at least two years remaining, unless you’ve applied for renewal or for permanent resident status. Permanent residents must also have at least two years left on their visa||
|LendingPoint||Yes, you might meet LendingPoint’s eligibility criteria if you can provide US federal, state or local government issued photo ID||
|Earnest||Yes, Earnest offers personal loans to permanent residents with a 10-year green card, conditional permanent residents with a 2-year green card and nonresidents with a TN, E or O visa||
|Bank of America||Yes, you might be eligible for a BofA auto loan if you live in the US as a US citizen, resident alien or non-resident alien||
|TD Bank||Yes, you might be eligible for a TD personal loan if you can provide a valid SSN, proof of employment, and a residential address within TD footprint||
Can I get a loan as a nonresident?
The simple answer is yes, you can. Not all lenders will be willing to work with you, however. Most lenders like LendingPoint require a Social Security number to apply, which you needed to apply for during your visa application. Some, like Citizens Bank, only work with US citizens and permanent residents.
Other lenders, such as Earnest, are willing to work with borrowers who have specific visas, such as the TN, E or O. SoFi also allows borrowers with a J-1 or H1-B visa to qualify. There are even lenders like Stilt that specifically offer financing for noncitizens on work or student visas, including DACA recipients. On top of loans, Stilt offers a credit score building services based on bill payments.
For lawful permanent and nonpermanent residents, applying for a loan is the same process as for citizens. There are no higher costs or fees, though interest rates may vary.
Are there restrictions for nonresidents?
Like most options for nonresidents of any country, there are restrictions — including for loans.
- If you are a nonresident who will be in the US for a limited time, approval for a loan may be hard.
- If you are a foreign national or have diplomatic immunity, it’s much more difficult to get a mortgage because you are not subject to US law. This leaves lenders unprotected should you default on the loan.
What about my credit history?
For nonresidents to get a loan, a two-year credit history and valid credit score within the US ideal. That can be a difficult requirement for nonresidents. Depending on the lender, there are ways you can still get a loan.
- Assemble a credit report with three nontraditional credit accounts — for example, a rental, utility or life insurance bill.
- Obtain your credit history from a foreign independent credit reporting agency.
- Get written verification from foreign creditors to establish a credit history.
Getting your paperwork together is only the first step in getting a loan. If you are emigrating from your home country to the US, you will need to convert your existing credit into US credit in order to apply for any kind of loan.
How to get nontraditional credit references
For many nonresidents, it can be possible to do a nontraditional credit check. This could help you get a loan without a credit score. You will need sufficient nontraditional credit references, and your credit accounts must be free of late payments, collections or foreclosure. Nontraditional credit references can include:
- Your rental history
- A history of payments for such utility bills as gas, electric, water or cable TV
- Non-payroll-deducted medical, life, auto or renters insurance
- School tuition
You should gather at least three nontraditional credit references, each showing 12 months of on-time payments.
Can I get a personal loan?
When applying for a personal loan in the US, you’ll quickly realize that they are not designed for nonresidents. The good news is that you are still eligible to apply for some personal loans, including mortgages and auto loans. There will be plenty of paperwork, so your patience is required.
What do I need to apply for a personal loan?
If you are a nonresident, required paperwork depends on the type of loan you’re applying for. Loans are only granted to those who plan to continue working in the US for at least three years of the loan.
If you’re applying for a traditional loan, you’ll need:
- A valid visa — E1, E2, H1B, H2 A, H2B, H3, L1, G series or 0-1
- Employment authorization Form I-766 or I-765 to prove that you are eligible to work in the US
- Form I-797A with an attached I-94 or any other documentation that can prove you are authorized to work in the US
How does a personal loan for a temporary resident work?
You may want a personal loan to cover expenses for a large project or consolidate some outstanding debt. If approved, you’ll pay the lender back with interest over a set amount of time, usually within several years. For a temporary resident, such as someone on a work visa, extra criteria need to be met in order to qualify.
Most lenders will need the details of your visa before you’re approved to ensure that the terms of the personal loan do not exceed the amount of time left on your visa. You may also need to meet higher minimum income criteria. One advantage of applying for a loan in America is that your overseas credit history isn’t a factor.
3 types of personal loans to consider
As a nonresident, you can apply for three main types of personal loans. They can be used to get you through a financial pinch or build your creditworthiness for bigger loans.
|Short-term loan||With repayment terms of a few weeks to months, short-term loans are typically for smaller sums of money. These type of loans can be used for any legitimate purpose. Some let you use your car title as collateral to get a loan, these are called auto title loans.||Generally up to $1,000, with some lenders offering as much as $2,250.|
|Installment loan||With a set number of payments over a scheduled period of time, installment loans can last for a few months or more. An installment loan can be ideal if you’re trying to improve your credit history. It shows potential creditors that you can make payments responsibly.||Generally up to $5,000.|
|Unsecured loan||Unsecured loans are not backed by other property you own and have fixed terms and interest rates. You can use this loan for consolidating debt or to help with home improvements.||Generally up to $100,000, with some lenders offering much more for specific purposes.|
What is a secured loan?
A secured loan is a loan that requires you to provide an asset as a guarantee — like your car or home. It protects the lender by allowing it to repossess and sell your asset to recoup its losses if you default on the loan. With an unsecured loan, the lender believes that you can repay the loan without providing an asset.
Can I get a student loan as a nonresident?
Whether it’s MIT, UCLA or Harvard, the opportunity to study in the US can open many doors. But not all foreign students can afford tuition, room and board, books and supplies that college requires. For these students, applying for a student loan is often the best bet. International student loans often cover the total cost of school.
Do I still need a credit history as an international student?
As an international student, you likely haven’t built up a credit history in the US. Lenders do not require you to have excellent credit, but you are required to have a US cosigner. Your cosigner will legally sign loan papers in order to help you to obtain a loan.
Because cosigners are jointly and legally responsible for repaying the loan, they must have:
- Proof of US citizenship or lawful permanent residency
- Good credit
- An income history
- Proof they’ve lived in the US for two years or more
How can I find the best loan for my needs?
All loans are not created equal. You’ll need to do your research and compare your options before making a final decision.
Consider these factors:
- Loan terms. Shorter loan terms could end up being beneficial. You’ll increase your monthly payments, but you’ll pay a lower amount in overall interest.
- Monthly payments. Monthly payments with variable interest rates or balloon payments typically have lower monthly payments, but these loans come with other catches. Evaluate what you can afford each month before signing any contract.
- APR. Don’t ignore the annual percentage rate, which reflects the interest rate, fees and other charges to establish the loan.
- Interest rate. One of the most important factors to consider is the interest rate. It’s not always easy to compare them, but a loan with a low interest rate may be a bad value if its fees are too high. Likewise, a loan with a high rate and low fees could be an exceptional value.
- Balloon payments. A balloon payment is a large payment due at the end of a balloon loan. It means you’ll need to pay any remaining money owed at the end of your loan term. If you are a considering a loan with a balloon payment, you will need to have money on hand when it comes due.
Can I get a mortgage as a nonresident?
As a nonresident of the US, financing a home loan or mortgage is difficult, but not impossible. How easy it is often depends on your residency status. Generally, you can apply for a home loan if you are a:
- Permanent resident with a valid green card (Form I-551)
- Nonpermanent resident with a valid work visa
What do I need to apply for a mortgage?
Lenders typically ask to see the following documents from noncitizen applicants:
- A valid work visa — E1, E2, H1B, H2A, H2B, H3, L1 or G1–G4 visas
- A valid Social Security number
- Employment authorization documentation
- Proof of employment history
- A credit history
- Proof of income
What is a balloon loan?
A balloon loan is a loan — often a mortgage — that does not fully amortize before the end of its term. This means that while your payments are lower over the life of the loan, you will owe a large payment to pay off the balance at its end. This payment is often more than twice the loan’s average payment, sometimes thousands of dollars. You’ll need to think about whether you will have the cash on hand to pay the balloon payment when it’s due.
What happens after I get my loan?
After you’ve completed and submitted the paperwork, you’ll have to wait to receive your money. Some lenders take 48 hours to authorize a loan, but it could take longer.
It’s now up to you to stay on top of your repayments. Here’s a few ways to do it.
- Create a budget. A budget can help you both save for monthly payments and remind you not to overspend.
- Enroll for automatic payments. With autopay, recurring payments are deducted from your bank account and electronically sent to your lender. It’s the easiest way for you to pay off your loan while avoiding late fees.
- Avoid skipping even one payment. If you think you won’t be able to make your monthly repayment, contact your lender as soon as possible. Your lender may be willing to explore ways to help.
Whether you’ve decided to make it your new home or a place to further your studies, the US has a lot to offer nonresidents — including loans to finance your new home, car, tuition or extra cash to ease your transition.
Getting a loan as a nonresident involves paperwork, documentation and time. But once you’ve followed the process and received your loan, it will be worth it. Stay on top of your monthly payments, and you’ll save both money and your credit history.