No question about it, a car can make college life easy. But getting the money to buy one can be difficult, especially if you're an international student. You may not have a credit history or a social security number--two things many traditional lenders require. Also, many lenders see non-citizens as high-risk borrowers.
If you have the money to buy a car in cash, good for you! But if you don't, read on to find out how to get an auto loan as an international student.
Are There Auto Loans for International Students?
Yes, many countries have laws that allow international students to take other loans apart from student loans. For instance, international students and expats in the U.S. qualify for most personal and auto loans. But most lenders have reservations when it comes to immigrants. Lenders who give auto loans to international students usually look at other metrics tailored to their situations. Industrial Automation Equipment
What You Need to Qualify for an Auto Loan as an International Student
An international student may not have the same financing options as a local student, but with a little research, you can find lenders who deal with international students. These lenders have requirements that are easy to fulfill, but the approval process may be lengthy. If you’re an international student in the U.S., you’ll need the following documents to qualify for an auto loan:
Most lenders will require legal proof that you can drive a car in the U.S. before considering your loan application. Different states have varying requirements for issuing a driver's license. You can find out the requirements at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. You can also get detailed information on the Student Exchange Visitor Program fact sheet. The basic requirements include:
- Form DS 2019
- Form I-94
- Passport with visa
- Proof of U.S. residence
- Social Security number or Form SSA-L676
It’s worth mentioning that some states accept driver's licenses from other countries, such as Canada. If the state you live in doesn't accept a foreign driver's license, you may need to take a driving test to get a license.
All drivers in the U.S. are legally required to have auto insurance. In some states, you can't apply for a driver's license without it. Insurance tells lenders that you’re serious about car ownership and can even help you get a title pawn with good terms.
Also, most lenders require you to have auto insurance before they approve your loan. Once you have your driver's license, you can talk to your Designated School Official (DSO) for further guidance on auto insurances available to you.
You’ll also need to provide other documents to the lender to show that you can afford to repay the auto loan. These documents include:
- A finance qualification form
- An acceptable visa
- A bill, such as a utility bill
- Proof of lawful presence--such as a green card or an EAD card
- A letter of employment
Apply for the Auto Loan
Once you have all the required documents, it's time to apply for the auto loan. Do thorough research and compare different loans to find the best. Once you settle on a lender, confirm the specifics, like the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), whether the interest is fixed or variable, and the repayment term. Finally, get an auto loan you can comfortably repay as you study.