The best 6 loans for immigrants

Gabriela Peratello
21.04.22
6 minute read

If you’re new to the US, you might be wondering about the process for getting personal loans for non-US citizens. This guide has you covered, with all you need to know about personal loans for immigrants, and personal loans for non residents. 

And if you’re paying for your US loan from a different country you’ll also need a fast, secure, and cheap way to move your money. To help with this, we’ll introduce Wise as a great way to send payments internationally with low fees and the mid-market exchange rate.

📑 Table of Contents

Can non-US citizens get loans in the US?

Non-US citizens who are living in the US with a valid visa, as well as Green Card holders, will often be able to get a personal or business loan. However, it’s good to know that individual banks and financial service providers set their own eligibility requirements — so when it comes to loans for immigrants in the US, picking a specialist provider might be the most reliable way to find the product you need.

Which types of loan will a non-US citizen qualify for?

In most cases, non-US citizens applying for a loan in the US will need to go through a specialist provider — but platforms do exist to offer a broad range of loan types. These include personal loans, business loans, student loans and home loans. 

Can DACA immigrants get a loan?

Yes. DACA immigrants can get loans in the US — but typically this will be through a specialist provider like Stilt — more on some top choices for loans for immigrants in the US in just a moment.

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What are the best loans for immigrants?

The best loan for you will depend on the amount you’d like to borrow, the loan term you’re thinking of, and your personal situation. It’s well worth checking out a few different providers to compare the options before you choose — fees and rates can vary widely. 

Here are a few top picks for immigrant loans, whether you’re looking for a personal loan, or specifically for business loans for immigrants.

Lending Club

🏆 Best for: peer to peer loans for immigrants

You can apply for a Lending Club¹ loan if you’re a US citizen, permanent resident, or living in the US on a valid long term visa². Lending Club is a peer to peer lending platform, so you’ll enter the details of the loan you need and be matched with lenders who can help. Then you can review the options including the terms and APRs offered, and pick one which suits you.


APR: 7.04% to 35.89%³

Minimum credit score: varies by product type and value

Repayment options: broad range of terms available

Cosigner requirements: cosigners not required, but can be added to applications if preferred

Loan amount/limit: up to 40,000 USD 


Lending Club prosLending Club cons
  • No prepayment penalties if you want to close your loan early
  • See multiple loan offers to pick the right one for you
  • lBroad range of financial services available aside from personal loans
  • Origination fees may apply
  • APR may be high, depending on your situation and requirements

College AVE

🏆 Best for: college/student loans for immigrants

If you’re studying in the US — or looking to refinance a previous student loan — you might be able to access funding through a specialist company like College AVE⁴. If you’re not a US citizen the chances are you’ll need a cosigner to help with your application — but College AVE loans are approved for 90% of applicants, making this a good bet⁵.


APR: 1.19%-12.99%

Minimum credit score: varies by product type and value

Repayment options: 5 — 15 year terms available

Cosigner requirements: cosigners required — typically must be a US citizen or Green Card holder

Loan amount/limit: 1,000 USD to 100% of school certified cost of attendance


College AVE prosCollege AVE cons
  • Fast eligibility check and application process
  • Loans for undergraduates, post graduate, refinancing and more
  • Low APRs available, depending on the situation
  • Cosigner required
  • APR varies based on your situation and requirements

Upgrade

🏆 Best for: no cosigner loans for immigrants

Upgrade⁶ is a digital provider offering a range of financial products including personal loans. You can apply for a loan if you’re a US citizen, Green Card holder, or living in the US on a valid visa⁷.


APR: 5.94%-35.97%⁸

Minimum credit score: varies by product type and value

Repayment options: 24 - 84 month terms available

Cosigner requirements: cosigners not required

Loan amount/limit: 1,000 USD to 50,000 USD (some states have slightly different limits)


Upgrade prosUpgrade  cons
  • Check eligibility and get a quote without impacting your credit score
  • Funds should arrive 24 hours or less after approval⁹
  • See multiple loan offers to pick the right one for you
  • Origination fees apply
  • APR may be high, depending on your situation and requirements

Stilt

🏆 Best for: broad range of options, including DACA immigrant loans

Stilt¹⁰ offers loans to customers who are physically present in the US, have a US bank account and a US address. Applications are assessed based on the individual situation


APR: From 7.99% 

Minimum credit score: varies by product type and value

Repayment options: 6 - 36 month terms available¹¹

Cosigner requirements: cosigners not required

Loan amount/limit: up to 35,000 USD¹²


Stilt prosStilt  cons
  • Check eligibility and get a quote without impacting your credit score
  • Apply in 5 minutes, get a decision in 24 hours or less
  • Repay early with no extra cost
  • APR may be high, depending on your situation and requirements
  • Relatively short duration loans only

SoFi

🏆 Best for: higher value loans for immigrants

SoFi¹³  personal loans are available for US citizens, permanent residents and visa holders (E-2, E-3, H-1B, J-1, L-1, or O-1), aged 18 or over, in eligible states¹⁴.


APR: From 5.74% to 21.78% with all discounts applied¹⁵

Minimum credit score: varies by product type and value

Repayment options: 2 - 7 year terms available

Cosigner requirements: cosigners can be added to application, must live at the same address as the primary applicant

Loan amount/limit: 5,000 USD to 100,000 USD


SoFi prosSoFi cons
  • Check eligibility and get a quote in 60 seconds
  • Same day availability
  • Personal loans offered to visa holding immigrants in the US
  • APR may be high, depending on your situation and requirements
  • If you want to add a cosigner they must live at the same address as you

Small Business Administration

🏆 Best for: small business loans for immigrants

Looking for a business loan? The US Small Business Administration (SBA)¹⁶ works in partnership with loan providers to offer loans to business owners who may otherwise struggle to get funding. In some cases, these loans are available for non-US citizens — although you’ll have a better shot if you’re a Green Card holder.

With SBA you’ll be connected with a range of providers which may be able to offer you a loan based on your situation.


APR: Varies by provider — but generally considered to be one of the most affordable options out there

Minimum credit score: varies by product type and value

Repayment options: Varied terms available

Loan amount/limit: 500 USD to 5.5 million USD


SBA prosSBA cons
  • Connect with a range of providers to find one which suits your needs
  • SBA acts as a guarantor
  • APR may be high, depending on your situation and requirements
  • Only offered where businesses have been unable to get funding from any other source

Requirements for getting a loan as a non-US citizen

Usually to get a loan as a non-US citizen you’ll need to provide proof of your legal residence in the US. 

If you’re a visa holder, most providers will only allow you to take out a loan which lasts for less time than your visa term — they want to make sure you’re planning on being in the country for the duration of the term in case of missed payments or other problems.

The processes for applying for your loan will vary — but in most cases you’ll be able to take the following basic steps:

Step 1. Enter some personal details online to generate an instant quote or pre-approval

Step 2. View available loans and pick the one you prefer

Step 3. Apply for your loan, submitting all required documents

Step 4. Once your application is approved the funds will be deposited into your bank account directly

Which documents will you need?

The specific requirements will vary by provider but are likely to include:

  • Your valid passport, with your Green Card or visa
  • Proof of address
  • Your SSN or ITIN
  • Proof of your income — you may also need to give further details about your personal finances to show the loan’s affordability
  • If a cosigner is required, they’ll also need to present personal information and documents

Where can you get loans for undocumented immigrants?

While undocumented immigrants might have a harder time getting a loan from a regular bank, there are still providers which can help. As an example, Stilt — profiled above — is a popular provider with a focus on helping both documented and undocumented immigrants to access funding and financial products. 

In short, if you’re looking for loans for undocumented immigrants in the US you’ll need to shop around the find providers which can help — but it is possible, so don’t lose hope.

Pay for your US loan from abroad using Wise

If you’ve taken a loan in the US but need to make repayments from an overseas bank account, you need Wise

Wise international payments are fast and cheap — and use the real mid-market exchange rate every time. That means there are no sneaky hidden fees or hiked up rates to push up the overall costs. Just secure, simple, online and mobile payments in 50+ currencies.

Get your Wise account in minutes 🚀


Regular banks aren’t often all that well set up to offer loans to immigrants in the US. However, there are specialist providers there to fill the gaps, offering personal, business, home and student loans to immigrants, Green Card holders and more. 

Use this guide to get you started in finding the right provider for you — and don’t forget to check out Wise if you need to repay your US loan from a bank account in a different currency.


Sources: 

  1. Lending Club
  2. Lending Club FAQ - eligibility
  3. Lending Club FAQ - rates and fees
  4. College AVE
  5. College AVE - undergraduate loans
  6. Upgrade
  7. Upgrade FAQ - minimum borrower requirements
  8. Upgrade FAQ - rates
  9. Upgrade FAQ - loan process
  10. Stilt
  11. Stilt FAQ - loan duration
  12. Stilt FAQ - maximum loan amounts
  13. SoFi personal loans
  14. SoFi support - eligibility
  15. SoFi FAQ - personal loans
  16. SBA loan program

Sources checked on 04.20.2022

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