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7 Options for Student Loan Refinancing for International Borrowers

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

Cecilia Clark
By
Last updated on June 3, 2024

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Options for Student Loan Refinancing for International Borrowers

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Min. credit score
Fixed APR
Variable APR
Learn more
MPOWER Student Loan Refinance

MPOWER Student Loan Refinance

Check rate
on MPOWER's website
on MPOWER's website
COMPARE RATES
on Sparrow’s website
on Sparrow’s website
Best for Borrowers with no co-signer

None

11.74-11.99%

N/A

Check rate
on MPOWER's website
on MPOWER's website
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

4.5
/5
Best for Borrowers with approved immigration status

650

5.24-9.99%

6.24-9.99%

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Read review
5.0
/5
Best for Borrowers with approved immigration status

670

5.95-9.99%

N/A

Brazos Student Loan Refinance

Brazos Student Loan Refinance

Read review
4.0
/5
Best for DACA borrowers and borrowers with a green card

690

4.40-7.25%

4.99-8.79%

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Check rate
on Earnest's website
on Earnest's website
5.0
/5
Best for DACA borrowers and borrowers with a green card

650

4.99-9.74%

5.89-9.74%

Check rate
on Earnest's website
on Earnest's website
Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

Check rate
on Nelnet Bank's website
on Nelnet Bank's website
5.0
/5
Best for Borrowers with a U.S. citizen co-signer

Mid to High 600s

7.12-11.19%

7.60-14.50%

Check rate
on Nelnet Bank's website
on Nelnet Bank's website
Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

4.5
/5
Best for Credit union members

Does not disclose

N/A

N/A

Our pick for

Borrowers with no co-signer

MPOWER Student Loan Refinance
Check rate
on MPOWER's website
on MPOWER's website
MPOWER Student Loan Refinance

MPOWER Student Loan Refinance

4.0
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

11.74-11.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

MPOWER focuses on international student loan refinancing, specially for original lenders from India, the U.S. and the UK.

Pros
  • DACA and international students can qualify.
  • Can refinance an international student loan.
  • You can refinance your parent's loan in your name.
Cons
  • Only one loan term available.
  • Few options for struggling borrowers.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Unavailable.
  • Minimum income: None.
  • Loan amounts: $2,001 to $100,00.
Available Term Lengths10
Read Full Review

Our pick for

Borrowers with approved immigration status

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

Min. credit score

650

Fixed APR

5.24-9.99%

Variable APR

6.24-9.99%

Key facts

Non-permanent resident aliens (including DACA recipients and asylum seekers) must have valid documentation showing immigration status is current, including a valid E-2, E-3, H-1B, J-1, L-1, or O-1 Visa or a Form I-797A or I-797B. These documents must be accompanied by an approved Green Card application documented with an I-140 approval notice (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) or receipt or approval of an I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence). DACA borrowers must have valid Employment Authorization Document showing immigration status is current and must either have applied for DACA (I-821D) or Permanent Residency (I-485). Asylum borrowers must have a valid Employment Authorization Document and must have applied for both Permanent Residency (I-485) and application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal (I-589).

Pros
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Dedicated Student Loan Debt Specialist available for borrowers.
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 Lengths5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
DisclaimerFixed rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.99% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 6.24% APR to 9.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 13.95% APR; 15- and 20- year terms are capped at 13.95% APR. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/24 and are subject to change at any time. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.
Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

670

Fixed APR

5.95-9.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Borrowers must provide proof of permanent residency card.

Pros
  • You can refinance without a degree.
  • Forbearance of 24 months is twice as long as most lenders.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Cons
  • Loans aren’t available in Alaska, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington, Washington D.C.
  • You cannot postpone repayment if you re-enroll in school.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Does not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: Minimum $7,500. Maximum depends on creditworthiness and debt-to-income ratio.
Available Term Lengths10, 15 or 20 years

Our pick for

DACA borrowers and borrowers with a green card

Brazos Student Loan Refinance
Read review
Brazos Student Loan Refinance

Brazos Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

690

Fixed APR

4.40-7.25%

Variable APR

4.99-8.79%

Key facts

Borrowers must be a non-citizen with government issued, non-expired documentation of permanent resident status, if not applying with a U.S. citizen co-signer.

Pros
  • Offers more repayment terms than many lenders.
  • 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
DisclaimerBrazos Refinance Loan fixed rates from 4.40% APR to 7.25% APR (with Auto-Pay Discount). Variable rates from 4.99% APR to 8.79% APR (with Auto-Pay Discount). Interest rates on Brazos loans are capped at 9.90%. Lowest variable rate of 4.99% APR assumes a current Thirty-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) of % plus a 2.03% margin minus the 0.25% Auto-Pay Discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a Brazos loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the Brazos variable rate loan, the Thirty-day Average SOFR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. Auto-Pay Discount. The interest rate in effect will be reduced by 0.25% if either the borrower or the cosigner authorizes automated (ACH) payments from any bank account. This ACH interest rate reduction, referred to as the Auto-Pay Discount, applies only when full principal and interest payments are automatically drafted from a bank account. This interest rate reduction will not continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment. The Auto-Pay Discount will terminate if the automatic bank account payments discontinue or there are any three instances of insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan. A borrower may requalify upon reauthorization of automatic payments from a valid bank account. 2. Refinancing Federal Loans. While refinancing government loans as well as private loans may help many borrowers, federal loans have certain benefits that can help borrowers who experience financial distress. Private loans typically don’t have the same benefits. Everyone’s situation is different, so think carefully about refinancing your government loans and talk about it with a trusted advisor. 3. Credit Review and Approval. If you choose to apply for a Brazos Student Loan, Brazos Parent Loan, or Brazos Refinance Loan and continue your application past the pre-credit eligibility stage, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for Brazos to be able to issue you a Brazos loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. The initial credit review is based on review of all the information you and your cosigner (if applicable) provide during the application process and the information obtained from your credit report(s). If you pass the initial credit review, you will need to provide acceptable documentation such as your income verification before the final loan approval. 4. Brazos Education Lending Corporation (Brazos) is a part of a group of several non-affiliated nonprofit companies that are all managed by The Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation, Inc. and are commonly referred to as the Brazos Managed Companies. The first of the Brazos Managed Companies was organized in 1975 in Waco, Texas, as a secondary market for student loans. Since that time, the Brazos Managed Companies have, on a combined basis, served an estimated 2 million student borrowers and have helped fund an estimated $30 billion in student loans.
Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check rate
on Earnest's website
on Earnest's website
Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

650

Fixed APR

4.99-9.74%

Variable APR

5.89-9.74%

Key facts

Borrowers must possess a Permanent Resident Card (10-year non-conditional or 2-year conditional), be a DACA recipient, be an Asylee or hold an H-1B visa with a U.S. Citizen cosigner.

Pros
  • Customizable payments and loan terms.
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Cons
  • Loans aren't available in Nevada.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 760.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation and have income or a job.
Available Term Lengths5 to 20 years
DisclaimerActual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 6.14% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.

Our pick for

Borrowers with a U.S. citizen co-signer

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance
Check rate
on Nelnet Bank's website
on Nelnet Bank's website
Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

Mid to High 600s

Fixed APR

7.12-11.19%

Variable APR

7.60-14.50%

Key factsBest for borrowers with strong finances.
Pros
  • International students can apply with a co-signer who is a qualified U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You can see if you'll qualify and what rate you'll get without a hard credit check.
Cons
  • Does not discharge loans in cases of death or permanent disability.
  • Doesn't allow biweekly payments via autopay.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 - $500,000. Maximum loan limits subject to limits on total student loan debt.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least an undergraduate degree.
Available Term LengthsMultiple term options
DisclaimerFixed interest rates range from 7.12% APR (with auto debit discount) to 11.19% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. Variable interest rates range from 7.60% APR (with auto debit discount) to 14.50% APR (without auto debit discount). Variable rates for Nelnet Bank Refinance Loans are calculated using either (a) the One-Month SOFR; (b) the 30-day Average SOFR; or (c) the forward-looking term rate based on SOFR as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and/or The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth day (or the next business day) of the immediately preceding calendar month. The variable rate may reprice and change on the first day of each month if the SOFR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month SOFR index is 5.32% as of June 1, 2024. Lowest rates listed above include an interest rate reduction for eligible applications, enrollment in auto debit, and are available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may increase over the life of the loan. The lowest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (i.e., auto debit) payments. The lowest rate is available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range. Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is cancelled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan. Your actual savings, if any, may vary based on interest rates, balances, remaining repayment terms and other factors. Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. Nelnet Bank offers various payment assistance programs to assist you if you are currently struggling to make payments. Contact us at [email protected] or 800.446.4190 to get more information. This referral partner is not the creditor of Nelnet Bank loans and may receive compensation from Nelnet Bank for the referral of Nelnet Bank loan customers. For federally-held student loans, interest (currently at 0%) will resume September 1, 2023 and payments (currently suspended) will begin, starting in October. Please be aware, refinancing your federally-held loans will disqualify them for any federally-held loan benefits such as potential debt forgiveness and the remaining payment suspension and 0% interest. Carefully consider your options.

Our pick for

Credit union members

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

N/A

Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Navy Federal members are eligible to apply regardless of immigration status.

Pros
  • Forbearance of 18 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Greater-than-minimum payments allowed via autopay.
Cons
  • Available only to existing Navy Federal Credit Union customers
  • Students cannot refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • $7,500 minimum to $125,000 for undergraduates, or $175,000 for graduate students.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least an associate degree.
Available Term Lengths5, 10 or 15 years

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 see your 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.

» MORE: How international students and immigrant workers can get a credit card

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.

STUDENT LOAN REFINANCE RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 26 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and the top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 41 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Last updated on June 3, 2024

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Options for Student Loan Refinancing for International Borrowers

  • MPOWER Student Loan Refinance: Best for Borrowers with no co-signer
  • SoFi Student Loan Refinancing: Best for Borrowers with approved immigration status
  • Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance: Best for Borrowers with approved immigration status
  • Brazos Student Loan Refinance: Best for DACA borrowers and borrowers with a green card
  • Earnest Student Loan Refinance: Best for DACA borrowers and borrowers with a green card
  • Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance: Best for Borrowers with a U.S. citizen co-signer
  • Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance: Best for Credit union members

Further reading

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