Frequently Asked Questions
Can a non-citizen get a personal loan?
Yes, many online lenders provide loans to immigrants and individuals who are not U.S. citizens. In fact, some will not only approve permanent residents but also those who are living in the U.S. on a valid, long-term visa.
What visa types will allow you to qualify for a personal loan if you're not a U.S. citizen?
If you are a Green Card holder (permanent resident) you will qualify for most personal loans. However, it gets more complicated with other types of visa. Typically, online lenders will consider borrowers with E-1, E-2, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, G-series, and O-1 visas. However, every lender has it's own eligibility requirements, and most don't specifically mention which visas they accept. In such cases, you may have to apply to find out if you qualify.
Typically, lenders will only consider loan applications from permanent residents or visa holders who either have several years left on their permit before it expires, or who have filed for an extension or renewal.
What are the general requirements for non-citizens to get personal loans?
With a little legwork and preparation, non-citizens have as good a chance as anyone to get a personal loan.
If you are a non-resident, you will need a government-issued form of identification to prove your legal status in the country. This might be your green card, Social Security Card, ITIN, or driver's license. You will also likely need to provide documents that prove your address, employment, and income.
Credit Score / Credit History Requirements
With some lenders, a two-year credit history and a valid credit score is all that is needed to qualify for as a non-U.S. citizen. However, though that alone can be a difficult requirement for many non-citizens. Additionally, lenders are more likely to scrutinize a loan application from a non-U.S. citizen. In many cases, you will have to bolster your credit package with some additional information and documentation. In essence, you will need to convert your existing credit into acceptable U.S. credit to be considered for a personal loan. You will need to work extra hard to prove you have the income and credit to repay a loan.
- A credit history of 2 to 6 years. If your credit history is outside the U.S. provide whatever credit reports are available even if they are from another country.
- Provide details on at least three accounts for which you have made consistent and on-time payments, such as utility bills, insurance, rental contract, or tuition payments, where you are up-to-date with payments
- Obtain some nontraditional credit references from companies or institutions to which you have made on-time payments for at least one year, including college tuition and health insurance.
Here are some additional documents you should be prepared to provide:
- A copy of your green card, visa, or employment authorization, such as forms I-765, I-766, I-797A, or I-94. The key is to prove you have legal status to live and work in the United States.
- Driver's license or alternative state or federal identification.
- Proof of address.
- Income verification and information on your employer or business.
- Education transcripts showing the highest level of education you achieved.
Will non-U.S. citizens need a cosigner to get a personal loan?
Not all non-citizen immigrants will need a cosigner to get a personal loan. Whether you can get approved by yourself or not will depend on your credit history, credit score, income, and the qualification requirements of the lender. You can use SuperMoney's loan offer engine
to get pre-qualified with multiple lenders without hurting your credit.
Why do many lenders not consider personal loan applications from non-U.S. citizens?
It's a matter of credit risk. Many lenders consider all non-U.S. citizens as higher risk than citizens regardless of their income and employment history. This is because most visa holders can only stay for a limited time in the United States. Some lenders may reason that even those who have a permanent residence permit are more likely to leave the country than someone who is a citizen.
Basically, lenders are willing to consider lending to non-U.S. citizens but they want to ensure potential borrowers will be in the U.S. long enough to repay the loan. The reason is that a lender's recourse is limited if the individual doesn't repay the loan and leaves the country.
How do loans for nonresidents work?
Loans for nonresident immigrants work similar to loans for residents and citizens but could take a bit more time, verification, and paperwork. You will have to prove your income and your legal status in the country. You may also need a cosigner if you don't have any credit. But once approved, you'll receive the funds and will be required to pay back the amount plus interest and fees in regular installments just like with any other loan.
What is the difference between a resident alien and a nonresident alien?
There are two main types of non-citizens that live in the United States, nonresident aliens and resident aliens.
Resident alien. A resident alien, also known as a permanent resident, is a term used for non-U.S. citizens who have a Green Card (Alien Registration Receipt Card) and therefore have the right to live in the U.S. for an indefinite period of time. It is also used for tax purposes to describe peole who meet the substantial presence test. This means you have lived for at least 31 days in the United States and you are not an exempt individual for tax purposes.
Nonresident alien. Nonresident aliens are people who are not citizens or permanent residents but have the right to live and work in the United States.
Lenders may consider both types of non-U.S. citizens, but permanent residents are more likely to get approved than someone living in the United States on a temporary visa.
Where can you get a personal loan if you're a non-U.S. citizen?
The list of top-rated lenders for non-U.S. citizens above is an excellent starting point. If you apply with other lenders, make sure you check their residency status eligibility requirements before you agree to a hard credit inquiry. Lenders typically need to check your credit report to determine your credit risk as a borrower. However, every hard credit pull will ding your credit score, so there's no point if you don't meet their residency or citizenship eligibility requirements.
SuperMoney's loan offer engine
allows you to check what rates and terms you can qualify for without it affecting your credit score.