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Can You Get a Personal Loan If You’re a Non-US Citizen?

Find out whether you can get a personal loan if you're a non-U.S. citizen and the requirements that may be involved when submitting an application.

Non-U.S. citizens can’t vote and they’re ineligible for a U.S. passport.

So, if you’re living in the U.S. and you’re not a citizen, you might question whether you’re able to get a personal loan.

Although there are limits to what you can do as a non-U.S. citizen, the good news is that you’re able to get a personal loan.

Qualifications can vary by lender, though. 

Thinking about applying for a personal loan? Here’s what you need to know about getting a personal loan if you’re a non-U.S. citizen.

Getting a Personal Loan as a Non-U.S. Citizen

Even though it’s possible to get a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen, lenders might require more information from you, and you’ll have to follow tighter guidelines.

What’s even more complicating is that minimum requirements for a personal loan can vary by lender.

So while one bank might approve your loan application with no hassle, getting a loan from another bank might require jumping through a few more hoops.

Expect lenders to scrutinize your loan application to ensure you meet their basic qualifications.

They might review the following: 

1. Years of credit history

When applying for a personal loan as a U.S. citizen, some lenders might only require a minimum two-year credit history.

This isn’t always the case when applying for a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen. 

Again, lender qualifications vary.

One lender might approve your loan application as long as you have a two-year credit history. But another lender might require a minimum six years of credit history.

2. Type of visa

The type of visa you hold also impacts whether you’re able to get a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen. 

You’ll need a valid visa to qualify for a loan. The types of visa a lender will consider include:

  • E-1
  • E-2
  • G series
  • H-1B
  • H-2A
  • H-2B
  • H-3
  • L-1
  • O-1

Visa requirements vary from lender to lender, too. So you’ll need to find a lender that accepts the visa you have. 

Be mindful, too:

Depending on the lender you might also need a green card. 

Some lenders require non-U.S. citizens to have both a green card and a visa for a personal loan. Others, however, only require a visa. 

A green card indicates long-term residency in the U.S, so you’ll likely live in the country for the life of the loan. A visa, on the other hand, isn’t permanent or indefinite. You might only live in the U.S. on a temporary basis.

Make sure you know a lender‘s requirement before submitting your application for a personal loan. 

3. Length of the personal loan

When applying for a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen, the length of the loan also plays a role in the approval. 

If you have a visa, meaning you’re not a permanent U.S. resident, some lenders might hesitate to approve your loan application.

If they approve the loan, you might have to accept a shorter term, maybe a two-year or a three-year loan. 

You’ll also need proof that you’ll remain in the U.S. for the duration of the loan term.

4. Cosigner

But even if you meet the basic requirements for a personal loan—minimum years of credit, visa and/or green card holder, short-term loan request—some lenders might require a cosigner on the loan.

A cosigner is another person who backs the loan.

Ultimately, you’re obligated to repay funds. But in the event that you default and stop paying, the cosigner is responsible for paying back the lender.

That said:

You can’t choose just anybody for this role, though.

In most cases, your cosigner must be a U.S. citizen with a good credit history

This personal applies for the loan with you, so the lender also checks their credit history.

If you’re using a cosigner, it’s important that you manage the personal loan responsibly. Your actions affect the cosigner’s credit. 

Paying the loan on time adds positive activity to their credit report. On the other hand, late payments can potentially damage their credit.

What Do You Need to Apply for a Personal Loan?

The process of applying for a personal loan if you’re a non-U.S. citizen is similar to getting a loan as a U.S. citizen.

1. Personal information

You’ll complete a personal loan application and provide basic information about yourself such as your name. 

You also need to provide a U.S. address and proof of identification such as a driver's license.

The lender also requires a Social Security number, which indicates that you’re authorized to work in the U.S.

2. Credit check

Before approving your loan, the lender will pull your credit report and check your credit score. 

Minimum credit score requirements vary by lender. To improve your chances of getting approved, check your own credit beforehand.

You should also dispute errors on your credit report and take other steps to raise your score. 

This includes paying your bills on time and paying down other debts.

A high credit score not only helps you get approved, it’ll also helps you secure a better rate.

3. Proof of income/job status

You also need proof of income so the lender can gauge your ability to repay funds.

This includes providing copies of your most recent paycheck stubs, W-2s, and tax returns. 

You should also expect the lender to contact your employer to verify your job status and current income.

In addition, you’ll provide an employment authorization form, such as form I-765, form I-766, or form I-797A. This is further proof that you’re able to work in the United States.

4. Other documentation

Depending on the lender and your circumstances, you might need other documentation for verification purposes.

This can include a utility bill or lease agreement as proof of your address, and proof of tuition payments if you’re in the U.S to attend school.

Be Sure to Compare Rate Quotes

While getting a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen has its challenges, other steps can also make the process smoother. 

For example, you should choose a lender with experience issuing loans to non-U.S. citizens.

You can contact your personal bank to inquire about their experience, as well as reach out to online lenders. 

Also, don’t forget to shop around and get free rate quotes.

You can compare interest rates and loan terms, which helps you secure the most affordable loan.

Final Word

A personal loan is useful for debt consolidation, home improvements, and other important matters.

But if you’re a non-U.S. citizen, getting a loan involves more work.

Qualifications vary by lender, so it’s important to do your research and learn about minimum requirements before submitting your application.

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