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Checklist For Non-US Citizens Looking To Buy, Finance Or Lease A Car

Public transport in the U.S isn’t accessible to many people in the U.S and at some stage during your U.S stay you might be in a situation where you need a car. Unfortunately, most people aren’t in a position to just outright purchase a car from savings or general income either. In this case, many people will need an auto loan.

Although it might be a little trickier getting an auto loan if you are an H1B visa holder (as opposed to a permanent resident), auto loans for non-U.S citizens are available. We have addressed the issue of getting an International Student Car Loan here. We provide more details if you are an H1B visa holder below.

3 Requirements For An Auto Loan As A Non-US Citizen

Buying, financing or leasing a car as a non-us citizen in the U.S is possible if you are an H1B visa holder. The process to get one might just be a little lengthier. Below are the three requirements for auto loans for non-U.S citizens.

You Need A Driver’s License

You can apply for a U.S driver’s license if you are staying in the U.S on a long-term basis (even if the person in question is an h4 visa holder). You don’t need to be a permanent resident or U.S citizen. You can apply for your driver’s license at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (also known as the DMV).

You will need the following documentation to apply for a driver’s license:

Form DS 2019

Form I-94

Your passport with your visa

Proof of our legal presence or residence in the U.S

Your Social Security Number or Form SSA-L676

Other state-specific documentation

You Need Auto Insurance

To get an auto loan, you will need to have auto insurance. Having auto insurance is a requirement for all drivers under U.S law. In some states, you might even need auto insurance before you can get your driver’s license. Fortunately, it won’t be too difficult to get auto insurance – even if you aren’t a U.S citizen.

You Need An Auto Loan

This might feel like the typical chicken and egg question of which comes first. But, if you’re serious about getting a car, the seller will probably want to see some sort of proof that you can back the deal. This is where a pre-approved auto loan or letter stating that you will be able to one.

Most people don’t have the finances to buy a car outright and will need the assistance of an auto loan. Unfortunately, if you are not a permanent resident or U.S citizen this will be the most tricky step. Most people can simply just apply for a loan while at the dealership, but this is not the case for foreign nationals.

Most banks and conventional credit institutions don’t offer auto loans for non-U.S citizens due to the risk involved. Fortunately, there are institutions like Stilt that specializes in it. With Stilt, you don’t need a social security number and many of the common issues you will face when applying for an auto loan for non-U.S citizens can be avoided by using Stilt’s services. Stilt offers personal loans for non-U.S citizens which you can use to buy your car.

Documents Required For An Auto Loan As A Non-US Citizen

The documentation you’ll need to get your auto loan differs from state to state and will also depend on the institution at which you apply for your loan. So it will probably be easiest to make sure you have most of the common ones at hand.

Finance Qualification Form

As a foreign national, you will most likely not have a proper credit score or comprehensive credit history. So, you will have to provide the lender with other information such as your employment, former credit history, living arrangements, and financial situation, so that they can assess the risk involved in giving you a loan.


You will need to provide the lender with your visa so that the lender can verify how long you intend to stay in the U.S. If your visa is going to expire soon, chances are they won’t provide you with a loan.

Letter From Employer

Lenders will want to know the details of your employment since your employer will provide the funds to repay the loan. The letter should detail your employment status, benefits, salary, and employment term.

Payment Documents

This will be documents such as your utility bills, phone bills, medical and/or life insurance documents, etc.

Proof Of Lawful Presence

This will be the documents proving that you live in the U.S legally. An easy one is your visa, but other documents include:

your driver’s license

employment authorization document


Can I Get An International Student Car Loan?

If you are a foreign national studying in the U.S, you may also be able to get an auto loan.

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