Can Non-U.S. Citizens Get a Personal Loan?

Key Takeaways

While challenges exist, non-U.S. citizens can still secure personal loans or other methods of financing. Here are a few of the most popular lenders that provide loans for eligible non-citizens.

Make sure to conduct thorough research and consult with financial experts to find the best solutions that align with your goals. If you’re worried about your immigration status or financial standing, it can be a good idea to approach a professional for individualized assistance. A financial advisor can help you with finance-focused questions, whereas an attorney can help you tackle legal questions.

Can Non-U.S. Citizens Get a Personal Loan?

Non-U.S. citizens often face difficult challenges when trying to access personal loans in the United States. Fortunately, more lenders are starting to offer solutions for this demographic, and credit-building strategies can improve your chances of obtaining loans.

In this guide, we go over what you should know as a non-U.S. citizen seeking a personal loan, including how to obtain a loan and what alternatives to consider.

Who qualifies as a non-U.S. citizen?

A non-U.S. citizen is an individual without U.S. citizenship, which includes a wide range of immigration and legal statuses. Here are the common types of non-U.S. citizens.

Visa holders: Non-immigrant visas include visas for H-1B, tourism, F or M for students, J-1, and tourism. If you hold a visa, you will be able to enter and remain in the U.S. for a specified duration to carry out your approved purpose.

Green Card holders: If you have a Green Card, you’re considered a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Despite not having citizenship, Green Card holders have legal, permanent resident status, and have the right to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

Undocumented immigrants: Without proper legal authorization, undocumented immigrants lack a valid visa, Green Card, or citizenship. This can result in significant legal and financial trouble, especially when trying to obtain loan funds.

DACA recipients: Those who have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status may be eligible to receive personal loans, student loans, as well as home loans.


General requirements for non-U.S. citizens to obtain a personal loan

Valid identification

If you want to obtain a personal loan, lenders will require proof of identity. This usually means you will need to submit at least two forms of valid identification. While the process of providing proof of identity is simple for citizens, non-citizens may find it more complicated.

Identification may come in the form of:

  • Passport
  • ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)

Valid visas and documentation

Personal loan providers may want to see documentation that shows your legal status in the United States. You might need to provide proof of your valid visa and other relevant details.

If you’re an undocumented person (such as an asylum seeker) or other non-permanent individual in the U.S., be prepared to show documentation of your current legal status.

Proof of residency

Your lender might ask you to show proof of residency. An individual who resides in the United States is viewed as a lower risk borrower, since it is more likely for them to stay in the country in the long run without defaulting on a loan.

For example, you might need to show evidence of your lease or utility bills that have your name and a U.S. address attached to them.

Proof of income

Like citizens who apply for personal loans, you might be asked to provide proof of income.

Income identification may involve showing your:

  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns
  • Employment verification
  • Bank statements

Credit history

It can be difficult for non-U.S. citizens to have an established credit history with a good track record of managing debt and finances. Those who haven’t been in the country for a long time often lack the necessary credit and payment history for personal loans.

If you have established credit, lenders will pull your credit by making a hard inquiry when you apply for a personal loan. You can expect each credit check to lower your credit score by around five points.

Lenders that provide loans to non-U.S. citizens

Many loan providers are willing to provide loans to non-citizens, so long as the eligibility requirements are met. You can find personal loans for non-U.S. citizens at banks, credit unions, online lenders, and specialized institutions.

Here are some reputable, popular lenders known to cater to non-U.S. citizens.

  • Upgrade
  • SoFi
  • Earnest

Make sure you do thorough research of the rates and reputation of lenders before you commit to a personal loan. Whether you urgently need funds or are planning to take out a personal loan in the future, it is a good idea to understand what loan you’re obtaining.


Challenges and limitations faced by non-U.S. citizens

Higher interest rates

Non-citizens may notice that the interest rates they’re receiving on loan offers are higher than the market rate. This is because many non-citizens lack adequate credit history and have a higher level of perceived risk in the eyes of lenders.

A higher interest rate directly impacts the cost of borrowing. Ideally, borrowers want to obtain a loan with a fixed, low interest rate so they don’t have to worry about high repayment installments and interest accumulation over time.

Limited loan amounts

Visa duration, employment status, and other factors may result in loan restrictions. A common restriction is one surrounding how much of a loan you will be allowed to obtain.

It can be hard to be approved for a large loan amount if you are not a U.S. citizen. You may be able to be approved for larger loan amounts if you apply for a secured loan backed by collateral or if you have an excellent credit score.


If you’re a non-U.S. citizen, loan providers and creditors will require you to submit additional paperwork during your application. This is to ensure you meet the lender’s eligibility requirements and are a suitable borrower.

You can look online or ask a lender representative to learn more about the detailed eligibility requirements for non-U.S. citizens.

Shorter loan terms

Depending on your residency or visa status, you might be granted shorter loan tenures when obtaining a personal loan. This can make repayment a trickier process because you will have less time to gather the money necessary for repayment.

If you want a longer loan duration, it might be possible to negotiate your loan terms with the lender. Being familiar with the standard loan rates and terms can help you increase your chances of a successful negotiation.


Tips for non-U.S. citizens seeking a personal loan

Finding a suitable loan agreement can be tough. Here are some strategies that have proven effective for non-U.S. citizens seeking personal loans.

Build your credit

A good credit score is one of the most important factors that lenders evaluate when making loan decisions. If you have the time and ability, it is advisable to start establishing your creditworthiness as soon as possible.

Here are some common ways to establish credit and enhance your credit score.

  • Obtaining a secured credit card
  • Using rent-reporting services
  • Paying down your credit card balances
  • Eliminating debt without delay
  • Having a diverse credit mix

Research suitable lenders

It’s a good idea to use the web or ask experts to discover financial institutions with favorable loan terms for non-U.S. citizens. Some loan providers will grant more lenient terms to non-citizens in order to help them deal with financial hardship.

Getting a co-signer

A co-signer or guarantor can increase your chances of being approved for a personal loan. However, ensure that you and your co-signer are both aware of the financial implications of co-signing a loan agreement with you. A co-signer pledges to be legally responsible for the loan amount as well as any fees that the borrower needs to pay. In case the borrower can’t make a payment, the co-signer will need to handle the debt repayment.

When adding a co-signer to your personal loan application, it’s best to find a U.S. citizen with good financial stability and credit score. They can help you secure a loan, potentially at a lower interest rate or a higher loan amount.

Documentation preparedness

It’s a good idea to have all the necessary paperwork ready for the application process ahead of time.

Regularly check for updates and messages from your lender during the loan application process. If a lender requests additional documentation, make sure you promptly submit the extra information to the lender through the proper application channels.

Understand all the loan terms

It’s essential to clearly understand a personal loan’s interest rates, fees, and repayment terms before signing a loan agreement. Be aware of any hidden fees and charges that increase your total cost of borrowing in a less obvious manner.

If you’re uncertain about any aspect of your loan, reach out to your loan provider for clarification. A good loan provider should be willing to answer all your answers so that you have a thorough understanding of the loan terms.


Alternatives to traditional personal loans

Personal loans aren’t the only way you can obtain funds as a non-U.S. citizen. It’s always good to know your other financing avenues. Here are some of the most popular alternatives to traditional personal loans.

Credit unions

Many credit unions cater to specific communities. You might not necessarily need to be a citizen of the United States to benefit from the perks and programs offered by credit unions to their members. Another benefit to credit union loans is that their terms may be more favorable to community members than if you took out a personal loan from a traditional loan provider.

Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending involves an individual directly receiving financing from another. There is no financial institution interfering with the process. This could be a way for non-citizens to avoid the limitations and challenges of traditional personal loans.

Online P2P lending platforms can securely match borrowers with individual lenders. These platforms typically have more flexible and lenient lending criteria, which means if you’re a non-citizen, P2P loans could be a valuable financing alternative.

Secured loans

If you can’t obtain approval for an unsecured personal loan, it might be easier to find a secured loan that is backed by collateral. Collateral loans might be more accessible because they reduce the risk a lender takes on when granting a loan to a non-citizen.

ITIN loan

An Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) loan can be a possible financing avenue for those who have an ITIN but do not have a Social Security number. If you are trying to obtain a mortgage, consider using your ITIN to qualify for a loan instead of an SSN.

Microloan organizations

Microlenders offer smaller loans to those who are in need of financial assistance. Some microloan organizations aim to help immigrants, refugees, or those without access to traditional banks.

If you belong to an eligible group, it can be helpful to seek out appropriate microloan and non-profit organizations that offer inclusive lending options to non-U.S. citizens.


Know your rights

While it can be daunting to navigate the world of loans and finances as a non-U.S. citizen, it’s important to understand your rights in financial transactions and to recognize red flags.

Here are signs of predatory lending and unfair lending practices.

Guaranteed approval

If a loan provider talks about guaranteeing your loan approval before reviewing your application and creditworthiness, this is a huge red flag. Guaranteed loans may be fraudulent or come with extremely high interest rates. Be careful about applying for a loan if it advertises as giving anyone who applies a loan.

Unreasonable interest rates

As a non-U.S. citizen, it is important to carefully review the loan’s interest rate and repayment terms. Most personal loan interest rates fall between 6 and 36 percent, with loans for certain purposes having more specific ranges. If your loan offer has an interest rate that strays too far from the typical interest rate, be careful of there being predatory lending practices at play.

In general, it is advisable to avoid loans such as payday loans and pawn shop loans. These high interest rates and unfavorable terms make them poor financing choices in the long run.

Pressure to accept

If you get the impression that the lender is pushing you to accept the loan offer with time pressure, they might be trying to take advantage of the fact that you need a loan as a non-U.S. citizen.

About The Author

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Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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