Getting a personal loan as a H-1B visa holder

Gabriela Peratello

The H-1B visa allows immigrants to live and work in the US on a temporary basis. H-1B visa holders may stay in the US for a few years, or could look to change their H-1B visa to a Green Card, to get permanent resident status.

This guide runs through some top picks for personal loans for H-1B visa holders.

We’ll also introduce Wise as a great way to send and receive international payments — cutting the costs if you need to pay or get paid from overseas.

📑Table of Contents

Advantages and difficulties of getting a loan as an H-1B visa holder

AdvantagesDifficulties
  • Build a US credit history
  • Consolidate existing debts with a better interest rate
  • Cover one off expenses
  • Apply online for convenience
  • Traditional lenders may not consider H-1B visa holders
  • The very best APRs may not be available
  • You’ll usually need a valid visa covering the entire loan period

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What are the personal loan options for H-1B visa holders?

If you’re in the US on a H-1B visa you may be considering taking a personal loan. While this is possible, you might find that traditional lenders aren’t the best option when it comes to getting a loan for a non-US citizen¹.

Let's take a look at some H1-B personal loan options — we’ll profile some of the top providers for H-1B visa holders in just a moment. You can also learn more about the H1-B visa here.

ProviderEligibility — US citizensEligibility — H1-B visa holder
American ExpressX
Avant
DiscoverX
LendingClubX
SoFi
Stilt

Avant²

Avant provides loans, credit cards and banking services, and has over 1.5 million customers. Unsecured personal loans can be used for a variety of needs, and offer fast funding and fixed repayments.

APR9.95% — 35.99%
Loan Amount2,000 USD — 35,000 USD
Repayment Terms2 — 5 year repayment options

SoFi³

SoFi loans are offered to US citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents on a range of eligible visas — including H-1B holders. There are no fees when you set up your loan, and SoFi offers unemployment support and protections to help you rearrange your loan if you lose your job.

APR4.74% — 19.28%
Loan Amount5,000 USD — 100,000 USD
Repayment Terms2 — 7 year repayment option

Stilt⁴

Stilt exists to provide financing to immigrants and other underserved communities. Loans are available for a broad range of reasons, with no cosigner required, and no SSN.

APRMinimum APR 7.99% — you’ll be able to see the APR you’re offered when you apply
Loan AmountMinimum loan amounts vary by state
Repayment TermsNo penalty for early repayments

How to get a personal loan as an H-1B visa holder

Getting a personal loan as an H-1B visa holder is likely to mean applying through a specialist provider as traditional banks tend not to be willing to lend to people with temporary resident status. However, one advantage of this is that applications are typically processed online, with documents and supporting information uploaded for convenience.


While the steps may vary between providers, the typical process is as follows:

Step 1. Apply online — add your personal details to check eligibility

Step 2. Upload verification documents

Step 3. Check the offer and sign a promissory note

Step 4. Funds will be transferred to your bank account — this may take 1 - 3 days

Step 5. Schedule and make repayments


Which documents will you need for getting a loan?

The exact documents you need to provide will vary by provider. The most commonly requested include:

  • Proof of identity: driving license or passport for example
  • Proof of address: usually a credit card bill, bank statement of utility bill
  • Valid H-1B visa
  • Proof of income: pay stubs or a letter from your employer
  • Proof of affordability: details of any other loans and financial commitments

Send money internationally with Wise

If you need to send or receive international payments you could save money with Wise.

Wise international transfers use the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees. Transfers are fast and secure, and always arranged online or through the Wise app for convenience.

If you send and receive money frequently, you may also benefit from the Wise Multi-currency Account. Hold 50+ currencies and switch between them with the mid-market exchange rate whenever you want to. You’ll also get your own bank details for 10 currencies so you can get paid like a local from all over the world.

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Can H-1B visa holders get a bank account?

H-1B visa holders are able to open a bank account in the US. In fact, it’s often a requirement if you’re going to get a personal loan, to make it easier to schedule repayments.

Before you open a bank account it’s worth shopping around to find the one which works best for you — some banks may not offer all account products to all customers, so it’s important to thoroughly check eligibility requirements before you get started.

Credit limitations for H-1B visa holders

As non-US citizens, H-1B visa holders may face some additional barriers when it comes to getting credit or a loan. This may mean a higher APR, or a lower available limit, depending on the situation and the provider’s own policies.

It’s common for banks and specialist providers to require customers to hold a valid visa for the entire duration of the loan period. This could limit your options if your visa is due to expire in the near future.

How do you build credit as an immigrant?

Building a US credit score is a good idea if you’re likely to remain in the country for the long term. Credit scores are used commonly by banks and lenders when assessing creditworthiness — but any previous credit score you had in your home country is unlikely to transfer to the US.

Build a credit score by taking and responsibly using credit products like a secured credit card or unsecured personal loan. By making regular, on time repayments, and not exceeding your line of credit, you’ll quickly start to build a US credit score which can be handy if you ever need financing in future.

Why would lenders not work with H-1B visa holders?

H-1B visas are issued on a temporary basis. While many H-1B visa holders will go on to apply for a Green Card, and may even ultimately gain US citizenship, traditional banks and lenders may be wary of working with visa holders in case they default on the loan and leave the country.

Mainstream banks may also struggle to assess the creditworthiness of H-1B visa holders, because they lack US credit history. Specialist providers tend to take a more holistic view of creditworthiness, which can mean they extend loans to otherwise underserved customers.


Getting a personal loan as an H-1B visa holder may be trickier than securing financing as a US citizen — but it’s not impossible. Use this guide to help you find the right provider for your needs, and don’t forget to check out Wise the next time you want to make an international transfer.


Sources:

  1. LendingClub - Qualifying for a personal loan
  2. Avant - Personal loans
  3. SoFi - Personal loans
  4. Stilt

Sources checked on 01.12.2021


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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

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