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How to refinance international student loans

You might qualify for a better deal even if you don't have a green card — or a cosigner.

Updated

While most student loan refinancing companies require you to be a US citizen or permanent resident, there are a few options available if you’re a nonresident who went to school in the US. With some, you might not need a cosigner as long as you can meet other requirements. Prequalify before you apply to make sure it offers a better deal than your current student loans.

Compare 6 refinancing opportunities available to former international students

These six companies offer student loan refinancing you can qualify for if you were an international student and are still working in the US:

Prodigy Finance

  • Amounts: Not stated
  • APRs: 4% + 3 month LIBOR RATE
  • Terms: 7 to 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements: Noncitizen working in an eligible US state or UK, graduate of an eligible university, existing private student loan.

Prodigy Finance might be the only lender that offers refinancing specifically for international students — in fact, you can’t be a US citizen or permanent resident if you want to qualify. But it only offers variable rates, which start higher than what you might find with other lenders. It’s also not available in all states or to graduates of all schools.

CommonBond

  • Amounts: $5,000 to $500,000
  • APRs: 2.14% to 8.01% With autopay
  • Terms: 5 to 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements: US citizen or permanent resident, graduated from an eligible title IV school or program. Nonresident with an H-1B, E-3, J-1, L-1 or E-2 visa

This online lender offers student loan refinancing to former international students, as long as you have the right type of visa. It offers competitive rates and has a higher limit than some student loan refinancing providers. But you can’t bring on a cosigner if you can’t meet other requirements like the minimum credit score on your own.

SoFi

  • Amounts: From
  • APRs: 2.25% to 6.09%
  • Terms: 5 to 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements: Must be an employed US citizen not living in Vermont with a minimum loan balance of at least $5,000. Nonresident with an H-1B, E-2, E-3, J-1, L-1 or O-1 visa.

SoFi specializes in student loan refinancing and is willing to work with nonresidents as long as you have the right visa — with no cosigner required. It also works with O-1 visas, which CommonBond doesn’t accept. While it has highly competitive rates, its membership perks like career coaches and wealth advisers are also a huge draw. But you’ll need strong personal finances to qualify.

Citizens Bank

  • Amounts: $10,000 to $350,000
  • APRs: 1.99% to 8.24%
  • Terms: 5 to 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements: US citizen, permanent resident or resident alien; make at least $24,000; at least $10,000 in student debt; made at least 12 full, on-time repayments if you don't have a bachelor's degree or 3 full payments if you do.

Citizens Bank is one of the few banks that will work with nonresidents. But with this option, you’ll have to bring on a cosigner to meet the basic requirements. While its rates aren’t as competitive as some of the other lenders on this list, they’re still generally lower than many loans available to international students.

Read review

Credible

  • Amounts: $5,000 to
  • APRs: 1.99% to 9.24%
  • Terms: 5 to 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements: $5,000+ of student debt from a qualifying US educational program, 18+ years old, US citizen or permanent resident — or have a cosigner that meets this criteria

Credible is an online marketplace that can help you prequalify for refinancing with a few lenders. While its partners don’t offer refinancing to nonresidents on their own, you may be able to qualify with a cosigner who is a US citizen or permanent resident. It’s also one of a handful of providers that doesn’t require a degree and has no maximum refinancing amount.

U-fi

  • Amounts: $5,000 to $225,000
  • APRs: From 3.19%
  • Terms: 5 to 25 years
  • Eligibility requirements: You need to be a US citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a Social Security number and have at least $5,000 in student loans. Your student loans must be in repayment and you cannot attend school on a half-time basis or more. Graduate degree holders can apply during the grace period

This online lender partners with Citizens Bank to offer student loan refinancing. It essentially offers the same loan, but with a more streamlined application process. And like with Citizens, you also have to bring on a cosigner to qualify.

Read review

What are the requirements for refinancing as a nonresident?

You might have to meet some or all of the following requirements to qualify for student loan refinancing if you don’t have a green card or citizenship:

  • Eligible visa or cosigner. In some cases, you might have to meet a lender’s visa requirements and bring on a cosigner.
  • Qualifying school. With most lenders, your debt must have been to pay for a degree program from an eligible US school.
  • Strong credit. Most refinancing providers require a credit score of around 660 or higher. Otherwise, you’ll need a cosigner.
  • Eligible amount. You likely won’t be able to refinance a debt load under $5,000. Many lenders also have maximums that vary from $100,000 to $500,000.
  • Minimum number of repayments. Some providers might require that you’ve made a year or two of on-time repayments before you can qualify.
  • Minimum income. You generally need to make at least $25,000 a year to qualify for refinancing on your own.

Can I refinance a personal loan I used for school?

You can. Rather than looking for a student loan provider, however, you’ll need to find a personal loan provider who works with nonresidents. If you don’t have a cosigner, you might want to consider a provider like Stilt, that specializes in personal loans for nonresidents.

Avoid consolidating personal and student loans

Even if you used both loans to pay for school, personal loans are ineligible for student loan refinancing. If you consolidate them together, your student loans will become a personal loan. Try to avoid this if possible — student loans typically have more flexibility when it comes to repayment plans and lower rates.

4 factors to consider before refinancing

Before you refinance your student loans, consider these factors to ensure it’s the right move for you:

  • Cost. Prequalify with a few lenders before you apply to make sure you can actually qualify for a better rate and term than you already have on your current loans.
  • Credit history. If you don’t have much of a credit score, consider building it by taking out a secured credit card. Lenders like Stilt sometimes also offer credit-building services for nonresidents.
  • Eligible visas. Check with the lender to make sure your visa qualifies before you apply — even if you’re applying with a cosigner.
  • Benefits. Not all lenders offer the same perks. Look into factors like deferment and forbearance that you might gain or lose by refinancing.

Compare even more student loan refinancing offers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Discover Private Consolidation Loan
Good to excellent credit
$150,000
2.80% to 12.49%
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
660
None
Starting at 1.89%
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
None
1.99% to 9.24%
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
680
None
2.39% to 5.99%
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
650
$500,000
1.99% to 5.64%
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
650
Full balance of your qualified education loans
2.25% to 6.09%
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
620
$300,000
2.27% to 7.49%
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

You don’t have many options if you went to school in the US and want to refinance your student debt load as a nonresident. But it might be worth it — especially if you didn’t have a cosigner when you first took out your student loans. You can learn more about how it all works by reading our guide to student loan refinancing.

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