Top 3 Personal Loans for F-1 Visa Holders

Posted by Frank Gogol
Updated on May 17, 2022

International students on F-1 visas often find it stressful to study abroad as there are large costs involved. These essential costs include tuition and boarding. Fortunately, if you are a student in the U.S. on an F-1 visa, you aren’t stuck. There are lenders in the U.S. who offer loans to nonresidents as well as international students to help out when things get sticky.

What is an F-1 Visa?

F-1 visas are visas specifically for those students who wish to study or further their education in the U.S. (i.e. for international students). This visa is required if you want to study at an academic institution like a(n):

  • University
  • College
  • Public or private school
  • Seminary
  • Conservatory

If you only want to do vocational training study at another non-academic institution, you will need an M-1 visa.

It’s important to note that F-1 visas or only for people visiting the U.S. on a temporary basis. An F-1 visa is, therefore, a non-immigrant visa.

Can Students with an F-1 Visa Get a Personal Loan?

If you are an F-1 student, you can get a personal loan like F-1 Visa loan, but isn’t necessarily an easy process. One difficulty may be your credit score. It is likely you haven’t been in the U.S. long enough to build up a good credit score (or even an average one). Most lenders generally require a two-year credit history and a valid credit score.

Fortunately, there are lenders who will offer you other options. One such option is to have a cosigner.

Cosigners as an Option to Get an F-1 Visa Loan

Cosigners sign with you for an F-1 loan and bind themselves jointly for the debt. To the lender, this is extra security as they can claim it from your cosigner if you can’t repay the loan.

As the lender relies on the cosigner as security, they often require the cosigner to have:

  • proof that they are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • a good credit history and credit score
  • history of a steady income
  • proof of living in the U.S. for longer than 2 years

Other Options to Help You Get an F-1 Visa Loan

Some lenders also give you the option to provide other proof that you are a good candidate to get an F-1 visa loan. One option could be providing nontraditional credit accounts such as a utility bill or an insurance account. Some lenders might even accept a credit rating or credit history from a foreign credit reporting agency.

Other lenders also look at non-credit related factors such as being employed, or your monthly income to determine if you are an eligible borrower.

3 Types of Personal Loans You Can Consider

Type

Description

Maximum amount

Short-term loan

These loans are typically designed for smaller amounts of money which is needed for a legitimate purpose.

The repayment terms can vary anything from a few weeks to months.

Repayment of the loan usually happen in one big payback amount, and not in installments.

$1,000 – $2,250

Installment loan

With this type of loan, you repay the loan amount with more than one installment scheduled over a specific period.

This is a good loan to choose when you want to build a good credit score.

Generally up to $5,000.

Unsecured loan

Unsecured loans are loans that are not secured by an asset or other collateral as a guarantee for repayment.

Fixed interest rates and terms usually apply.

Generally, up to $100,000, but some lenders give more for specific purposes.

Top Personal Loans for F-1 Visa Holders

Before you apply for a personal loan, make sure you do your research. Not all personal loans are the same. Some factors you should take into account are:

Personal Loans
 for Visa Holders!
Check Loan Options
Loans for up to $35,000. No cosigner required. No prepayment penalty.
  1. The term of the loan – this is over how many months you will pay back your loan. Shorter periods mean larger monthly paybacks but less interest accruing and vice versa.
  2. Monthly payment amount – this is a big factor and should be decided based on what you can afford each month.
  3. Interest – make sure when you look at the various interest rates you still take the fees into account as some loans with lower interest rates charge higher fees. This is where APR comes in handy.
  4. APR – means the annual percentage rate. This shows the amount of interest and other fees that come with the loan.

Below are some of the best F-1 Visa loans:

Lender

Rate (APR)

Term

Cosigner requirement or option?

LendingClub

5.98%–35.89%

3-5 years

Yes, there is an option to have a cosigner

SoFi

6.199%-15.365%

3-7 years

No cosigner requirements but possibly a cosigner option

Stilt

7.99%–15.99%

2 years

No

Earnest

5.25%–14.24%

1-3 years

No

LendingPoint

15.49%–34.99%

2-4 years

No

If you’re an F1 student looking for a personal loan, you have options. Which option makes the most sense for you, however, depends on a couple of factors. Is going to be up to you and your situation to determine what the best interest rate and loan term will be and if a cosigner for your loan is possible. Luckily, there are more than few options with rates, terms, and cosigner requirements for every situation.

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Need a Loan? Get One in 3 Simple Steps

If you are considering applying for a personal loan, just follow these 3 simple steps.

Apply

Apply online for the loan amount you need. Submit the required documentation and provide your best possible application. Stronger applications get better loan offers.

Accept

If your application meets the eligibility criteria, the lender will contact you with regard to your application. Provide any additional information if required. Soon you’ll have your loan offer. Some lenders send a promissory note with your loan offer. Sign and return that note if you wish to accept the loan offer.

Repay

The loan then gets disbursed into your U.S. bank account within a reasonable number of days (some lenders will be as quick as 2-3 business days). Now you need to set up your repayment method. You can choose an autopay method online to help you pay on time every month.

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About Stilt

Stilt provides loans to international students and working professionals in the U.S. (F-1, OPT, H-1B, O-1, L-1, TN visa holders) at rates lower than any other lender. Stilt is committed to helping immigrants build a better financial future.

We take a holistic underwriting approach to determine your interest rates and make sure you get the lowest rate possible. 

Learn what others are saying about us on Google, Yelp, and Facebook or visit us at https://www.stilt.com. If you have any questions, send us an email at [email protected]