BEST OF

4 International Student Loan Refinancing Options for 2021

To refinance international student loans you must build U.S. credit, get a co-signer or qualify for a niche loan.

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Refinancing international student loans is more difficult for visa holders working in the U.S. who don’t have a credit history. There are private lenders that will refinance student loans, but you’ll have to do one of the following:

  • Build your U.S. credit history.

  • Have an eligible co-signer.

  • Qualify for a niche loan for international working graduates.

Refinancing means a lender will pay off your existing student loans with a new single loan at a lower interest rate. It can help you save money immediately and over time.

Below you'll find lenders that refinance international borrowers, plus more information about the refinancing strategies available to noncitizens who have built U.S. credit history, have a U.S. co-signer or have graduated and are working in the U.S. These lenders will only refinance student loans that were originally borrowed with a co-signer from U.S.-based lenders or from niche lenders for international students studying in the U.S.

Summary of International Student Loan Refinancing Options for 2021

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
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CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

2.98 - 5.79%

Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%
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Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who have a bachelor's degree and value repayment flexibility.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren’t available in Mississippi and Nevada.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least a bachelor's degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

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Citizens Student Loan Refinance
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Citizens Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Citizens Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

2.39 - 9.15%

Variable APR

2.24 - 8.90%
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Variable APR

2.24 - 8.90%

Key facts

Best for existing Citizens Bank customers or borrowers who didn't graduate or aren't U.S. citizens.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • Loyalty discount: Borrowers with a Citizens Bank account when they apply get an additional 0.25% interest rate discount.

Cons

  • Estate is still responsible for loans refinanced by parents if the borrower dies.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $500,000.

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.24%-8.90% (2.24%-8.90% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 2.39%-9.15% (2.39%-9.15% APR).

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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
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SoFi Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.74 - 6.94%

Variable APR

2.25 - 6.59%
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Variable APR

2.25 - 6.59%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Additional perks like career planning, job search assistance and entrepreneurship support available.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000, up to your total outstanding loan balance.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, an associate degree or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 2.74% APR to 6.74% APR (with autopay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.39% APR (with autopay). All variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR and may increase after consummation if LIBOR increases; see more at SoFi.com/legal/#1. If approved for a loan your rate will depend on a variety of factors such as your credit profile, your application and your selected loan terms. Your rate will be within the ranges of rates listed above. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license #6054612; NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Additional terms and conditions apply; see SoFi.com/eligibility for details. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

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Brazos Student Loan Refinance
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on Brazos's website

Brazos Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Brazos Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

720

Fixed APR

2.85 - 3.97%

Variable APR

1.88 - 4.80%
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on Brazos's website


Variable APR

1.88 - 4.80%

Key facts

Brazos is best for student loan borrowers who need a refinancing loan and live in Texas.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Offers greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

Cons

  • Only available to borrowers in Texas.

  • Does not offer co-signer release.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 781 for primary borrower or 794 for co-signer (and 690 for primary borrower).

  • Minimum income: $60,000 for co-signer or primary borrower, or $30,000 for primary borrower if applying with a co-signer.

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 up to $150,000 for bachelors degree holders; $250,000 for graduate or professional degree holders.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years

Disclaimer

Rates as of 07/01/2021. Lowest rate shown is for eligible, creditworthy applicants, requires a 5 year repayment term and assumes the current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.15% plus a margin of 3.5% minus the .25% Auto-Pay Discount. Your actual interest rate and repayment terms may be different depending upon the terms you choose and your financial and credit history. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. In addition, the variable rate is subject to change monthly, based upon the 1-month LIBOR index, and, as such may increase (or decrease) monthly, even after consummation. This means that your payment may increase, or decrease, after disbursement. The variable rate is capped and will never exceed 9.90%. The rate is expressed as an APR. Since there are no fees associated with this loan, the APR is the same as the actual interest rate for the loan. While the APR, once you proceed, may differ slightly depending upon the calculation methods and certain assumptions, the base rate and margin that you are charged will remain as stated. Auto-Pay Discount includes a .25% interest rate reduction when either the borrower or cosigner authorizes ACH payments of full principal and interest from any bank account. Certain other terms and conditions apply.

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Ways to refinance international student loans

Building a U.S. credit history

U.S. credit bureaus don't take into consideration credit history from other countries, so you’ll have to start from scratch. But as you live and work in the U.S. you can grow your credit profile.

Start building U.S. credit history. If you attended college in the U.S. and have student loans in repayment with a U.S. lender, you may already have some credit built. You can find out an existing credit history for free from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus — TransUnion, Experian or Equifax.

If you don't have a history or you want to continue building credit, apply for a credit card. Typically, credit lenders will want you to have a permanent address, a taxpayer ID number, income and a bank account. You might have to start with a secured credit card, which requires a cash security deposit.

Once you have a line of credit established, make payments each month, on-time and in full. Over time, you can build enough credit history to get your loans approved for refinancing by private lenders. Refinancing lenders look for borrowers with credit in at least the high 600s, a history of on-time loan payments and an income that is high enough to pay off the debt.

Refinancing if you have a visa

Some lenders may allow you to refinance, even if you have a working visa, as long as you have a co-signer who can meet credit history, income and payment history qualifications. Your co-signer will have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, as well.

Last updated on February 12, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's International Student Loan Refinancing Options for 2021