I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.See all posts Frank Gogol
How to Get an Auto Loan Without an SSN
Life in the U.S. might be great, but immigrants sometimes struggle with basic things due to a lack of paperwork. Many people living and working in the U.S. don’t have a Social Security Number (SSN), for example. Having an SSN makes life so much easier, especially when it comes to getting a driver’s license. And of course, you need a license before you can get an auto loan.
So what can you do as a foreigner living on a visa in the U.S. if you need an auto loan but you don’t have an SSN? Is it possible to get an auto loan without an SSN? You’ll be surprised to know that it is indeed possible. Here’s how.
What Is a Social Security Number?
First, let’s get clear on exactly what a Social Security Number is. An SSN is a unique 9-digit number given to a U.S. citizen or resident who applies for one. The government uses it to track the income made throughout the holder’s life as well as the number of years worked. People then apply for their Social Security benefit payment when they retire. Some may also apply for a disability income in certain instances.
People also use an SSN to apply for federal loans, open bank accounts, apply for passports, get a driver’s license, and many more activities. Initially, it was used to track earnings and contributions toward Social Security. Today it has also become a way to identify someone in the U.S.
People keep their SSN safe and secure since it is a prime piece of information used for fraud and identity theft.
Driver’s License Without an SSN
As a visa holder, you don’t get an SSN. Before you can get an auto loan you need to get a driver’s license, however. Is it possible to get a driver’s license without an SSN? The good news is it is possible.
12 states in the U.S. allow people without an SSN to get a driver’s license. They will, for instance, allow someone to apply for a driver’s license with their ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). If you are already living and working in the U.S. you may already have your own ITIN to file your taxes. Each state will probably have its own requirements, however, and you’ll need to research your specific state to check your eligibility criteria.
Make sure your paperwork is in order. Get all the required documents as requested by your home state and apply for your driver’s license without an SSN.
Can I Buy a Car Without a Social Security Number?
The next question is probably figuring out if you need an SSN to buy a car. You actually don’t! Even a student visa holder can buy a car.
It’s quite simple to buy a car. Find the one you want. Arrange to buy it from the current owner or dealership and pay the agreed price. Some legal requirements need to be fulfilled to transfer the asset from the seller to your name. But, nothing prohibits you from buying a car without an SSN.
How to Buy a Car Without a Social Security Number
Now that you know you can buy a car without an SSN, let’s take a look at how. Chances are you, like most people, don’t have the savings to buy a car in cash. Especially not if you are a student in need of a car. So you will need to get an auto loan without an SSN.
You need two things to get an auto loan approved:
- U.S. driver’s license – You need to go to your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and ask how you can get your license without an SSN, as discussed above.
- Car insurance – Lenders require applicants to have car insurance. You must comply with your state regulations detailing the minimum required insurance. Get multiple quotes and choose the best option for your situation.
If you have these two things in place you simply need to choose the car you want to buy and then find the right lender for an auto. Don’t just accept the first offer you get. Some dealerships may offer expensive fees and interest rates. Get multiple loan offers and choose the best (most likely the cheapest) one for you.
Car Insurance Without an SSN
One of the requirements for an auto loan is to have car insurance. But how will you get car insurance without an SSN? And is it an option if you are a student?
Yes, it is!
You will need a driver’s license before you can get car insurance. So you first need to go to your local DMV and get your license. Then after you have acquired one you can start shopping for car insurance.
Many companies in the U.S. offer car insurance and some even offer no guarantor car insurance. You can minimize the time spent looking for car insurance by contacting insurance agents. They maintain a relationship with companies that offer car insurance so they’ll be able to connect you to companies ready to serve you and your specific circumstances.
Car Loan Without an SSN
We’ve now covered in detail how you can get a driver’s license and car insurance without an SSN. Once you have these in place, you can get an auto loan. Keep in mind, as a visa holder, you will probably encounter a few obstacles if you apply for an auto loan with a traditional lender.
Why U.S. Lenders Won’t Lend to Visa Holders
Visa holders can have a tough time getting access to credit. Some U.S. lenders simply don’t lend to visa holders. This can be very frustrating. Why don’t they lend to visa holders?
Here are the most common reasons:
- Traditional lenders are afraid that visa holders will pack up and leave to go back home before their loans are repaid. If this happens it will be very hard to get their money back.
- Some immigrants don’t have the right paperwork, and as a result, can’t apply for traditional loans.
- Immigrants often don’t have a strong credit score. They haven’t yet spent enough time in the U.S. to build good credit. Traditional banks are then reluctant to lend to them since they don’t have a way to judge their creditworthiness.
- Some lenders require immigrants to have a cosigner on their loans. But many immigrants simply don’t know someone who’ll agree to be their cosigner.
So as a visa holder, you might have a tough time applying for an auto loan at a traditional lender. You don’t need to worry, though. You can still apply for loans at non-traditional credit providers like online lenders. Let’s take a look at how this option could work.
How to Get a Loan With No Social Security Number Through Stilt
Stilt offers personal loans for whatever you need. Even though it isn’t technically an auto loan, you can use the loan to buy a car.
You can get a loan of up to $25,000 which currently starts at an APR of 7.99%. You repay the loan in monthly installments and you won’t even suffer an early payment penalty if you pay back your loan faster than planned.
The good news is you don’t even need an SSN or a cosigner to qualify for the loan. Visa holders who comply with Stilt’s simple eligibility criteria are welcomed to apply.
This is how the process works.
Apply online for the loan you need. Make sure you complete the online application form with all required information and submit your application.
Get Your Offer
You’ll receive feedback within 24 hours. Supply any additional information if required. Soon you’ll have your loan offer and a promissory note. Sign and return this note if you want to accept the loan.
The loan will be disbursed into your U.S. bank account within 2-3 business days. Set up your repayment method online. An autopay option will help you pay on time every month by automatically deducting the repayment from your account.
Getting a loan with Stilt is that easy!
- Getting a Car Loan Without Credit History
- Car Financing With a New Job
- How to Remove a Cosigner from a Car Loan
- Auto Loans For Non U.S. Citizens
- Personal Loans as Auto Loan Down Payments
Life without a Social Security Number can be tricky. It’s definitely more difficult to own a car without one. But immigrants have hope! It is possible to own a car without an SSN. You don’t even need the full amount of cash on hand. You can get an auto loan without an SSN to buy the car you need. Get your paperwork in order and apply for your auto loan today!