U.S. Car Loans for Foreign Nationals- Fact or Fiction?

Let’s face it. Driving your own car gives you flexibility and freedom to come and go as you please. But if you are living abroad can you get an auto loan if you are not a U.S. Citizen? The answer is: yes, you can.

Luckily, citizenship is not a factor in creditworthiness. Lenders primarily base their loan decisions on borrowers having a verifiable and positive credit history. Since you will be securing credit in your name without a U.S. credit history, other forms of documentation may be required, including:

• Finance/Lease Qualification Form– requests information about your assignment, credit history, living arrangements and employment in the U.S.
• Copy of Work Visa in the U.S.– helps finance companies verify your intention to stay in the U.S. for the duration of your lease and loan term.
• Employment Letter- confirms your salary, additional benefits and allotments, as well as your term of employment.
• Housing related payments- including rent, utilities, phone bills, and cable TV service.
• Insurance-related payments- including medical, life and automobile insurance. Note: an automobile insurance binder is required in order to take delivery of your vehicle.
• ITIN- even if you are not a U.S. taxpayer, the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number issued by the Department of the Treasury is commonly used for opening a bank account and getting a driver’s license.
• Ability to pay the loan back- copies of current paystubs and recent W-2 forms show proof of steady employment. At least a 12-month employment history is typically required.
• Proving that you are “lawfully present” in the U.S.-  documents showing this can include a Driver’s License, Passport, Social Security Card, a Permanent Resident or Green Card, an Employment Authorization Document Card, and your Visa with a legible entry stamp.

Whether financing through a car dealership or through a lender, getting into the driver’s seat in the U.S. is just a few steps away…

Apply- submit a loan application with your personal and employment information, required documentation and the loan amount, (price of the vehicle plus sales tax).

Get a Loan Decision- Turnaround time can take a few days or a few hours, depending on the lender. If approved, you will get a statement of intent listing specific payment details, surcharges, down payments, rebates, sales tax and your monthly payment.

Shop- Negotiate the best pricing you can for your favorite vehicle. Haggling is expected at most dealerships, so do your research. Having financing already in place can lead to exceptional pricing, especially at the end of the month when dealers have a lot of inventory they are trying to move out. Make sure to do price and rate comparisons because the “easier” and “faster” it is to apply and drive, the more likely it is that prices and loan rates are inflated to pay for these “conveniences.”

Sign your Contract- You will sign a finance contract in agreement to the terms provided when your loan was approved. It will include important details about your loan, and payments will coordinate with the price agreed upon when you shopped for your car.

Take Delivery- The car dealership will collect a registration fee from you of $200 or less in order to obtain license plates and a registration sticker on your behalf. Registration renewals are required every two years, which costs under $100. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) assigned at registration is required by your insurance agency in order to provide you with an auto insurance binder.

Drive into the Sunset- Soon you will be driving your own car to wherever the U.S. roads take you!

Feel free to contact AutoSource for more information on how we help you get financing on a car in the US!

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