The Complete Guide to Loans for Foreigners in the U.S.

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Foreigners in America are categorized as citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), and visa holders.
  • Citizens have the most rights, including working, voting, and obtaining a U.S. passport.
  • Permanent residents with green cards can stay and work but cannot vote, while visa holders stay based on visa terms and may have the right to work.
  • Lenders like Stilt in the U.S. offer loans to visa holders, providing personal loans for rental deposits, car purchases, or education expenses.

The United States is a land of opportunity. Millions of people come from other countries to build a better life here. But, being a foreigner in the U.S. has its obstacles. You can’t work without a permit, you can only stay as long as your visa is valid, and do you even have access to loans or other credit?

Below we take a look at foreigner loans and how you can use a foreigner loan to finance your personal needs.

Who Are Considered Foreigners in America?

There are three main categories of people who are legally allowed in America:

  • Citizens
  • Permanent residents
  • Visa holders

Citizens of the U.S. are allowed to work and vote. They can apply for a social security number and they have the right to a U.S. passport. Permanent residents own green cards. They are allowed to stay and work in the U.S., but they can’t vote.

Visa holders are typically referred to as foreigners. Some of them have the right to work, but all are allowed to stay in the U.S. based on the terms of their visas. Visa holders are only allowed to be in the U.S. as long as they have a valid visa.

Are There Loans for Foreigners in the U.S.?

So, if you aren’t a citizen, can you get a loan in the U.S.? What if you are an H1B visa holder? And if yes, what will qualify you to get a foreigner loan in the U.S.?

The good news is there are lenders in the U.S. who provide loans to visa holders. Not all lenders are willing to provide foreigner loans, but there are still some who do. These loans aren’t only for foreigners, but foreigners can qualify if they meet all the eligibility criteria.

What are Foreigner Loans?

Technically there isn’t such a thing as a foreigner loan. A foreigner loan is simply a personal loan which is also available to foreigners.

Personal loans are unsecured loans. This means you don’t need to supply something of value as security for the loan. Personal loans can also be used for whatever you want, so you don’t need to say why you need the loan or what you will use it for. You just need to qualify for it.

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3 Reasons You Might Need a Foreigner Loan

Foreigner loans can be extremely useful. There can be many reasons why you might need one. Here are the three biggest reasons visa holders take out foreigner loans.

For Rental Deposits

Moving to a new place can be quite expensive. The cost of moving your personal belongings, your plane tickets, and any extra expenses pile up quickly. And these costs don’t even include the rental deposit usually required when you get a new place.

Security deposits are limited per state, but it can sometimes be up to 3 months’ rent. Some landlords will even demand deposits for pets. Not many people have the type of cash saved to be able to pay 3 months’ rent in advance as a deposit. A foreigner loan for rental deposit can help you to cover this cost so that you can move into your new home.

For Cars

The U.S. has some reliable public transport options in the bigger cities. But, you might need a car where you are currently living. A foreigner loan for a car can help you buy the vehicle you need. Some loans will even accept the car as security for the loan. This will help you get a lower interest rate on the loan, which will help to cheapen the monthly installments.

For School

F1 visa holders are in the U.S. to study. The reality is the U.S. has some of the most expensive tuition fees in the world. A foreigner loan for school will help to cover your study related expenses while you are in the U.S. Even international students are eligible for student loans if all the qualification criteria are met.

Why Banks in the U.S. Don’t Like Lending to Foreigners

Lenders take a risk when they offer loans to people. The possibility exists that someone won’t be able to repay their loan. With foreigners, this risk is even higher due to different factors.

Here are the top four reasons why banks don’t lend to foreigners.

Lack of Credit History

Your credit history is a record of your financial dealings. Foreigners often haven’t spent enough time in the U.S. to have an adequate credit history. Banks then can’t judge your ability to manage credit. Instead of taking the risk, they rather refuse to lend any money to foreigners.

You Can Leave at Any Time

Most loans have long loan terms. These loan terms often stretch beyond the visa period of a foreigner. Foreigners can also just decide to leave and go back home at any time. Banks are afraid that foreigners will leave the U.S. before a loan is repaid which will prevent them from getting their money back.

Foreigners Can’t Get Cosigners

Banks will ask foreigners to get cosigners to qualify for a loan. A cosigner must be a permanent resident of the U.S. with an adequate credit score. Many foreigners don’t know people in the U.S. who can help by being their cosigners.

Foreigners Don’t Have the Documentation

Getting a loan requires a few legal processes which require valid documentation. Some foreigners don’t have the necessary paperwork and, therefore, can’t qualify for loans with banks.

Read More


Foreigner loans can be a great solution for your personal finance needs.  So whatever your need may be, apply for your foreigner loan today!

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Frank Gogol

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.

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