Personal loans for non-US citizens: What you need to know

Non-U.S. citizens are eligible for personal loans from U.S.-based financial institutions, but every lender has different requirements.

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By Sarah Li-Cain

Written by

Sarah Li-Cain

Writer

Sarah Li-Cain is a personal finance journalist with work featured in major outlets such as Bankrate, CNBC Select, and NextAdvisor (in partnership with Time).

Edited by Hannah Smith

Written by

Hannah Smith

Editor

Hannah Smith is a financial services editor specializing in personal loans. With a keen eye for detail, Hannah has honed her skills in editing financial content to ensure accuracy, compliance, and reader engagement. Since 2019, she’s helped steer content creation in the areas of student and auto loans, and credit cards for major finance verticals, including Credible, and Bankrate.

Updated June 3, 2024, 2:06 PM EDT

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The average annual cost of living in the United States, according to the most recent BLS data, is $72,967. Expenses vary widely depending on where you reside, but living in the United States can get expensive especially when you consider that transportation and healthcare costs are often much higher relative to many other countries. 

A personal loan could help by providing a long-term funding solution that doesn’t require collateral. Plus, personal loan annual percentage rates (APRs) may beat your credit card’s APR. You may have fewer options relative to someone who’s naturalized, but it’s still possible to take out a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen.

Can I get a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen?

Non-U.S. citizens can get personal loans, but not all financial institutions and lenders offer them. Plus, loans and requirements vary by lender. Many lenders look for a, while others may not have a minimum score. Your level of income and education contribute to your eligibility as well.

Generally, lenders like to see an established credit history in the U.S. If you don’t have that, you may want to look for lenders that let you apply with a cosigner.

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Tip

A cosigner is someone who has established a positive credit history in the U.S. and promises to repay a loan if you can’t.

Depending on the lender, you may be required to prove permanent residency (with a green card, for example) or have a qualifying long-term visa (like an H-1B). Since each lender has different criteria, confirm whether you qualify for a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen before you apply.

Why some lenders won’t lend to non-U.S. citizens

If non-U.S. citizens leave the country, it can be difficult to collect payment. Some lenders also shy away from providing loans to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients because the laws surrounding the program could change. If a DACA recipient were to be deported, the bank could be unable to recover its money.

7 personal loans for non-U.S. citizens

Best Egg: Best for high close rates if pre-approved

Best for high close rates if pre-approved

Best Egg

4

Fox Money rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

8.99 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2000 to $50000

Min. Credit Score

600

Pros and cons

More details

Discover: Best for no origination fees and low rates

Best for no origination fees (and low rates)

Discover Personal Loans

4.4

Fox Money rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

-

Loan Amount

$2500 to $40000

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros and cons

More details

LendingClub: Best online experience

Best online experience

LendingClub

4

Fox Money rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

8.98 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1000 to $40000

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros and cons

More details

LightStream: Best home improvement loans and low rates

Best home improvement loans and low rates

LightStream

4.2

Fox Money rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

6.99 - 25.49%

Loan Amount

$5000 to $100000

Min. Credit Score

700

Pros and cons

More details

SoFi: Best overall

Best overall

SoFi

4.9

Fox Money rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

8.99 - 29.99%1

Loan Amount

$5000 to $100000

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros and cons

More details

Upgrade: Best for fair credit

Best for fair credit

Upgrade

4.5

Fox Money rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

8.49 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1000 to $50000

Min. Credit Score

600

Pros and cons

More details

Upstart: Best fast personal loans for all credit types

Best fast personal loans for all credit types

Upstart

3.9

Fox Money rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

7.80 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1000 to $50000

Min. Credit Score

620

Pros and cons

More details

Residency requirements by lender

Lender
Residency requirements
Best Egg
U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Discover
U.S. citizen or permanent resident
LendingClub
U.S. citizen or permanent resident with Social Security number
Lightstream
U.S. citizen or permanent resident
SoFi
U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or visa holder (E-2, E-3, H-1B, J-1, L-1, or O-1, or Form I-797A or I-797B)
Upgrade
U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or visa holder
Upstart
U.S. citizen or permanent resident with Social Security number

Prequalify with multiple lenders to get rate quotes based on your personal information. Prequalification won't hurt your credit score, but it's not an offer of credit. Once you submit an application, the lender will conduct a hard credit pull, which could temporarily lower your score by a few points.

Minimum eligibility requirements for non-U.S. citizens

Common items you'll need to qualify for a personal loan include:

  • A U.S. residence
  • A U.S.-based bank account
  • A U.S. phone number
  • A green card or valid work visa (E-2, E-3, H-1B, J-1, L1, or O-1)
  • Proof that you're currently employed or have accepted a job offer
  • Proof you're currently attending a qualifying U.S. educational institution
  • U.S. credit history or credit history in your home country
  • Proof of on-time payments on a mortgage, rental, or utilities in the U.S.
  • Proof of income such as pay stubs, tax returns or W-2s

Important: You'll also need to meet a lender's minimum credit requirements, such as a FICO score above 670, though some lenders offer loans to borrowers with poor or no credit.

Information you'll need to provide

You'll need specific documents and information when applying for a personal loan as a non-U.S. citizen. While the exact documentation requirements vary by lender, you'll generally need to provide the following:

Personal information

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Physical address
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)
  • Alien Registration Number (or "A number," if applicable)
  • Employment authorization form - such as Form I-765, Form I-766 or Form I-797A
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
  • Proof of address such as utility bills, leases, bank statements, tax returns, or other documentation with your address
  • Valid driver's license or other government-issued identification

Loan information

  • Desired loan amount
  • Desired loan term
  • What you will use loan funds for

Education information

  • Name of the educational institution you are or are planning to attend
  • Highest level of education

Proof of income

  • W-2s
  • Copy of recent pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns

Some lenders may consider credit history outside of the U.S., including number of open accounts, length of credit history, and on-time payments. They may also consider loan defaults, accounts sent to collection agencies, and bankruptcies before extending a loan.

Consider preparing a "credit package" of additional information, in case the lender requests one during the approval process. Such information might include items like documentation of at least three accounts you've made on-time payments to for at least two years.

FAQ

Is a personal loan a good idea?

A personal loan can help you achieve your financial goals while living in the U.S., whether that's purchasing a car, or making improvements to your new home. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you can comfortably afford the loan payments and that you understand what your responsibilities are as a borrower.

What types of personal loans can I apply for as a non-U.S. citizen?

You can generally apply for the same types of loans available to U.S. citizens. Lenders offer personal loans for many different uses. For example, you may be able to get a personal loan to consolidate debt, make home renovations, and cover auto repairs or medical bills.

Can you get a personal loan without an SSN?

Yes. Lenders that work with non-U.S. citizens know that most aren't eligible for a Social Security number. Instead, lenders may require an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is a tax-processing number assigned by the IRS to certain nonresidents and resident aliens.

How much can non-U.S. citizens borrow?

The amount you're able to borrow depends on your financial situation. Credible's partners offer personal loans of $100,000 to non-U.S. citizens. If you can't qualify for that much on your own, you may be eligible to borrow a larger amount with a cosigner who has good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 670 or higher).

Do I need a cosigner for a personal loan as an immigrant?

Whether you need a cosigner depends on your financial circumstances and the lender's requirements. Some lenders don't require a cosigner, while others require borrowers without a valid visa to apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Other lenders may only require a cosigner if you don't have a good credit history or don't earn enough income to qualify independently.

Meet the contributor:
Sarah Li-Cain
Sarah Li-Cain

Sarah Li-Cain is a personal finance journalist with work featured in major outlets such as Bankrate, CNBC Select, and NextAdvisor (in partnership with Time).

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Fox Money is a property of Credible Operations, Inc., which is majority-owned indirectly by Fox Corporation. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. All rights reserved. Use of this website (including any and all parts and components) constitutes your acceptance of Fox's Terms of Use and Updated Privacy Policy | Your Privacy Choices.