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

Permanent residents with Social Security numbers may qualify for a loan. Some non-citizens can consider alternatives to personal loans.
May 18, 2022

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Qualifying for a personal loan can be challenging for anyone, but non-United States citizens have an especially difficult time. Many lenders have strict eligibility requirements in terms of citizenship, leaving non-citizens with limited access to affordable financing.

However, some lenders offer personal loans to non-citizens, depending on the details of their immigration and what documentation they can provide.

If you can’t qualify for a personal loan, consider low-cost alternatives.

Can a non-U.S. citizen get a loan?

A non-U.S. citizen can get a personal loan, but eligibility requirements vary by lender and it’s generally tougher than if you were a citizen.

Some lenders may consider non-citizens high-risk borrowers based on two factors: the duration of their stay in the country and a potential lack of credit.

Since personal loans have long repayment terms — two to seven years, but sometimes longer — lenders are concerned you may leave the country before you repay the loan in full. Non-citizens also need time to build credit and may have nonexistent or low credit scores.

Lawful permanent residents, also known as green card holders, will have the easiest time applying for a personal loan because they can usually show long-term status in the country and provide Social Security numbers, which help lenders assess credit.

Lenders may also accept an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, instead of a Social Security number, though it’s not as common.

In addition to permanent residency, some lenders accept a valid visa. Visas that show you’ll be in the country longer than the loan term you’re applying for may be especially helpful.

Applying for a personal loan as a non-citizen

Applying for a personal loan is a straightforward process that can mostly be done online. To apply, you’ll need to meet the following general criteria:

  • Be 18 years or older.

  • Show proof of identity with a government-issued ID.

  • Provide a U.S.-based address.

  • List contact details like a phone number and email address.

  • Show proof of income and employment.

Almost all applications will require a SSN or ITIN to pull your credit. Though some lenders cater specifically to borrowers with bad credit (629 or lower FICO score) or thin credit histories, lenders typically like to see good credit (690 or higher FICO score) and two to three years of credit history.

Pre-qualifying for a personal loan

If possible, pre-qualify with the lender to see if you clear its credit requirement. Pre-qualifying includes a short application and soft credit pull, which won’t affect your credit score. Online lenders are more likely to offer pre-qualification than banks or credit unions.

If you have a Social Security number, you can pre-qualify with multiple lenders on NerdWallet.

Adding a co-signer to your application

If you’re unable to qualify on your own, adding a co-signer — preferably a U.S. citizen — may increase your chances of getting approved for a personal loan or help you get a lower interest rate or higher loan amount.

A co-signer is someone who adds their name to the primary borrower’s loan application. Though this person won’t have access to the loan funds, they're legally responsible for the loan amount and any additional fees should you be unable to pay.

Personal loans for non-citizens

Here are lenders that accept applications from permanent residents, visa holders and other immigrants. In some cases, you’ll need to provide documentation, such as a copy of your green card or visa, to show your immigration status is current.

SoFi

SoFi offers personal loans with zero fees for borrowers with good credit. SoFi also lets borrowers add a co-signer to the loan application.

Minimum credit score: 680.

Loan amounts available: $5,000-$100,000.

Terms available: Two to seven years.

Eligibility requirements: Applicants can be permanent U.S. residents or non-permanent residents, including DACA recipients and asylum seekers. E-2, E-3, H-1B, J-1, L-1 or O-1 visas are eligible.

Marcus

Marcus offers personal loans with zero fees to good-credit borrowers. If you don’t have a Social Security number, Marcus will accept an ITIN.

Minimum credit score: 660.

Loan amounts available: $3,500-$40,000.

Terms available: Three to six years (includes nine repayment options total).

Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be permanent U.S. residents.

LendingClub

LendingClub offers personal loans to borrowers with fair credit. It may be an especially good fit if you need a personal loan to consolidate and pay off debt.

Minimum credit score: 600.

Loan amounts available: $1,000-$40,000.

Terms available: Three or five years.

Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be permanent U.S. residents or visa holders.

Upgrade

Upgrade accepts borrowers with bad credit. Upgrade customers can sign up for free credit score monitoring and tips to build credit.

Minimum credit score: 560.

Loan amounts available: $1,000-$50,000.

Terms available: Two to seven years.

Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be permanent U.S. residents or visa holders.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is an offshoot of Upgrade, but borrowers with low credit scores may have a better chance of qualifying with Universal Credit.

Minimum credit score: 560.

Loan amounts available: $1,000-$50,000.

Terms available: Three to five years.

Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be permanent U.S. residents or visa holders.

Oportun

Oportun provides personal loans, including co-signed loans, to low- and moderate-income borrowers with limited or no credit history. Oportun accepts ITINs and ID cards issued in other countries.

Minimum credit score: None.

Loan amounts available: $300-$10,000.

Terms available: 12 to 51 months.

Eligibility requirements: According to a customer service representative, applicants do not need to show proof of residency or visa.

Capital Good Fund

Capital Good Fund serves borrowers with low income and no credit history or bad credit. It has several types of loans, including a loan to cover immigration-related costs.

Minimum credit score: None.

Loan amounts available: $300-$50,000.

Terms available: 15 months to seven years.

Eligibility requirements: Applicants must provide a SSN or ITIN, plus a form of identification.

Alternatives to traditional personal loans for non-citizens

If you can’t qualify for a personal loan, there are other financing options available. Stay clear of short-term, high-cost loans, like payday loans, which can trap you in a cycle of debt, and consider more affordable alternatives instead.

Stilt loans: Stilt offers personal loans specifically to immigrants and underserved communities. The company looks at more than your credit score when assessing your application, and you don’t need a Social Security number to apply. Stilt serves non-citizens and those with F-1, H-1B, O-1, J-1, L-1, TN, L-1, G-1 visas. It will also consider DACA recipients, refugees and asylum seekers. Borrowers can pre-qualify.

Lending circles: Lending circles are groups or communities that pool their resources to provide no-interest loans when a member of the circle has a financial need. There may already be lending circles in your community, but if you’re not sure where to start, you can apply with Mission Asset Fund, which matches you with a local lending group of six to 12 people. Loan amounts range from $300 to $2,400.

Specialized loans from local credit unions: Your local credit union may offer loans specifically for non-citizens. Many of these loans cover costs related to application, filing and renewal fees and may be called immigration loans, dreamer loans or citizenship loans. Many credit unions also offer ITIN loans, which are loans you can apply for with an ITIN instead of a SSN. You’ll need to become a member of the credit union before applying.

Local community organizations: If you need to cover an emergency expense, like a car repair or medical bill, a nonprofit organization may be able to help. Check NerdWallet’s payday loan alternatives database, which has a list of local resources, to learn more.

More NerdWallet resources for non-citizens

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