It is possible to get a car loan with an H1B visa, but it can be difficult and may depend on how much time you have left on your current visa. Many of the steps in the H1b loan process are the same as those for a U.S. citizen.
Since an H1b is reserved for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, you should meet the income requirements of most lenders. If you have only been in the U.S. for a short period of time, thus not meeting the time-on-job requirements of traditional lenders, some lenders may be willing to look at how much longer you have on your current visa and whether you have an optional renewal period available to you.
Steps to Finance a Car with an H1B Visa
You may need to open a credit card account prior to applying for a car loan to establish a credit score of some kind. Even if you cannot get a traditional card, you can open a secured credit card account. These are not the same as a pre-paid card and are available from many of the same banks that offer more traditional credit cards.
Once you have opened a credit card account, start building a down payment. Lenders look at a down payment as a commitment to repaying a debt. With a limited credit report, you may need as much as twenty percent of the total purchase price of the car as a down payment. This is cash owed on the day of purchase. Most of the time, you can trade in an existing vehicle for additional funds, or a trade allowance that can be applied to your next purchase. However, since you are already on a visa, it’s not as likely that you have an existing car to trade in. If you purchased a vehicle in cash at an earlier time, however, this can be a good way to secure the funds you need for a down payment.
Lastly, you will want to shop your loan around. Approach several lenders to find the lowest possible interest rate and best repayment terms. Since you may have the most difficulty getting approved by traditional banks, be sure to become a member of a credit union and apply for a loan there. If that fails as well, look for an online specialty lender. Many of these lenders have looser lending guidelines and are more apt to look at your personal story instead of just your credit score.