Most commonly referred to as a work visa, an H1B visa provides individuals a way to come to the United States from another country for the purpose of establishing or changing careers.
With an H1B visa, individuals have several benefits available to them, including building a work history and life in the United States. However, visa holders may find it challenging to get the financing they need for some of life’s bigger expenses, especially when they first arrive.
Getting loans as a visa holder is difficult for a variety of reasons. This guide offers insight into what’s needed to qualify, where to get a personal loan for H1B visa holders, and other considerations along the way.
On this page:
- Difficulties of Obtaining a Personal Loan for H1B Visa Holders
- What to Expect When Applying for an International Personal Loan
- Where to Get a Personal Loan for H1B Visa Holders
- How to Get a Loan as a Visa Holder
- Other Things to Keep in Mind
Difficulties of Obtaining a Personal Loan for H1B Visa Holders
Most individuals who live outside the USA do not have a credit score or history in the country since these details do not translate well from one country to the next.
Similarly, a work visa is meant to be a temporary status and lenders see visa holders as a higher risk than US citizens. If they default on the loan, lenders may find it difficult to collect on the outstanding debt if the visa holder is back in his or her home country.
While there are these challenges, H1B visa holders do have a handful of options when they need a personal loan.
What to Expect When Applying for an International Personal Loan
Having an H1B visa does not eliminate your options for getting a personal loan should you need one, but it does mean you face different hurdles in securing a loan.
Lenders are wary of providing longer-term personal loans without collateral to individuals who will only be in the country for a short period of time. Without an asset to back the loan, a personal loan lender may view H1B visa holders as a higher risk because of the difficulty the bank or credit union faces in collecting on the loan in the future.
Personal loans are designed to provide a fixed sum of money that is then repaid over several years, typically between three to five years.
Some personal loans may be used to finance a new or used vehicle, to cover unexpected bills or major purchases, or simply as a cash cushion should a need arise in the future. More significant loans, such as mortgage loans used to purchase property, present the same challenges to H1B visa holders, but there are options from select lenders.
When applying for a loan, it is necessary to evaluate your current financial picture, including credit score and history in the United States, your income and employment, and the length of your visa before speaking with a lender about a personal loan.
Where to Get a Personal Loan for H1B Visa Holders
Currently, there are only a few lenders that specifically state they will consider H1B visa holders applying for a personal loan including the following:
Stilt is an online lender solely focused on providing financing solutions to individuals in the United States on a visa. The company offers a simple online platform that allows H1B visa holders to apply for a loan if they are physically living in the US on a valid visa and they have a US-based bank account in their name, as well as a US-based phone number. Applicants must also live in one of the approved states Stilt lends in, which include AZ, IL, FL, TX, PA, CA, MI, NY, NJ, UT, WA, GA, and WI.
Stilt offers personal loans to H1B visa holders with interest rates as low as 7.99%. Loans are offered with loan terms ranging from six to 24 months with a maximum personal loan amount of $25,000.
All applications are submitted online, and the lender may provide approval in as little as one business day.
Avant is another online lender that allows H1B visa holders to apply for a personal loan through its online platform. The lender offers a quick and transparent process for individuals with minimal or bad credit score and history, with little information required as part of the application process. Unlike Stilt, Avant does require a Social Security number as part of the application.
Avant offers personal loans with interest rates as low as 9.95% and loans are available in all 50 states. Repayment terms for Avant personal loans range from 24 to 60 months, and borrowers can receive up to $35,000 based on credit history and financial need. There is an administration fee that can be as high as 4.75% on a new loan.
Avant can approve and transfer funds for a personal loan in as few as two business days.
Nomad is another online platform that allows visa holders to search for lenders able to provide personal loans to non-US citizens. Through Nomad, individuals are matched with potential lending partners after completing a short application. A Social Security number is required, but visa holders are eligible to apply.
Nomad personal loans come with varied interest rates and repayment terms based on the lenders matched with the applicant. Loan applications are submitted online and approval may be provided in as little as two business days to well-qualified borrowers.
How to Get a Loan as a Visa Holder
Knowing which lenders are able to provide personal loans to you as an H1B visa holder is the first step in securing the right loan for your financing needs. However, there are also other steps you can take to improve your ability to get approval from lenders.
First, having a strong credit score and history within the United States is helpful; lenders want to see that you are responsible for repaying your debts. If you do not have established credit history, having a US citizen as a cosigner can be helpful in getting approval for a personal loan.
It is also important to recognize that the lenders who do provide personal loans to H1B visa holders want to feel confident you will be in the country for at least the length of the loan. If your visa is set to expire soon, consider renewing it or extending it to ensure you can show lenders you will be in the US for as long as the loan remains in repayment.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
If you are planning to remain in the United States for longer than your visa status provides, applying for citizenship or to be a permanent resident removes many barriers to getting the financing you may need in the future.
Also, having verification of employment and income is beneficial in getting approval for a personal loan, as lenders want to see you have steady cash flow over time. These are simply extra steps you will need to take as an H1B visa holder with a low credit score or no credit report at all.
The good news is that as an H1B visa holder, you have personal loan options. The few lenders mentioned above are often the best place to start when searching for financing solutions.
However, you can improve your chances of getting approval by establishing a financial track record in the United States, having a US citizen with good credit as a cosigner, and having verifiable income as a visa holder. Always be sure to comparison shop for the best personal loans before accepting funds and consider your ability to repay the loan over time.
If you aren’t approved, you can take a look at credit cards or – if you are a student – student loans for international students.
Author: Melissa Horton
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