International Student Blog

Understanding Auto Loan Options for International Students

Understanding Auto Loan Options for International Students

While studying abroad in the United States, international students typically have to leave behind the comforts of their home. One of the comforts may be your automobile. Many international students in the United States look into options so that they can have an automobile while in the United States. However, just like tuition is expensive and an international student may need international student loan options, cars can also be expensive in the United States. Thankfully, there are international student auto loan options available to help fund the purchase of a car.

Do I Need to be a U.S. Citizen?

Much like international student loan options, there are lending partners out there who will help you secure an auto loan option without a social security number or credit history. These lending partners are not as common as those who would provide auto loan options to US citizens, but they still exist. There may be some lenders that require cosigners for international student car loan options, but it is not as widespread as needing a cosigner for international student loan options. In other words, you may likely have an easier time finding an international student auto loan option without a cosigner than you would finding an international student loan option without a cosigner.

Just like applying for an international student loan option, getting a car loan option for a student with no credit requires a number of documents on the borrower’s part. Please keep in mind that the documents you will need vary by lending partner, and may even vary by state, so please check with your potential lending partner and secretary of state to see exactly what will be required of you. Usually though, you will need at least the following to apply for an international student auto loan option:

  • Your Student visa: Whatever student visa you are currently on, such as an F1 visa or J1 visa, you will need to have a copy of it on hand;
  • Proof of lawful presence: This can again be your student visa with the corresponding stamp, or an employment authorization card or drivers license;
  • Finance qualification form: This will show the lending partner information regarding your living situation, employment (if applicable), and financial situation.

There may also be more required of you. Please make sure to check with your lending partner and secretary of state before applying for an international student auto loan option so you have all of the right documents. Another great place to go for some basic introductory research is the Homeland Security webpage for international students, which can be found here.

Can an International Student Have a Driver’s License?

Yes, an international student can have and obtain a driver’s license. The first thing that you should do is meet with your designated school official. They can easily guide you through the state-specific steps in order to acquire an international student driver’s license. Then, a good place to check for more information would be your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website. Please keep in mind that some states require a social security number to have a license. If you are in a state that does, and you need a car loan without a SSN, you will need to go to the Social Security Administration office and get a form SSA-L676. This form can then be used for an international student car loan in place of a social security number.

After all of the above is straightened out, and you have the necessary documents, you may still have to take both a written and practical driving test to receive a temporary or permanent license. Even if you have a valid license in another country, you still may be required to take the tests. Not every state accepts out of the country licenses – please check before getting your license if you will be required to take the tests.

Insurance and Registration

After you have secured a car loan option for an international student in the US, there still may be more required of you. It is a requirement in many states to have auto insurance in order to drive your car legally. There are many different auto insurance providers in the United States (if you have watched television at all in the US, I’m sure you’ve seen commercials for some) that provide insurance on a number of different levels at almost every price point imaginable. Similar to how there are car loan options for students with no credit, there are insurance providers out there who will provide international student car insurance to those without a credit history.

Registering your car is a necessary legal step to take, regardless of the state you are in. For the most part, this step requires information you have already provided for an international student auto loan option or to get auto insurance. Depending on the state, you may even be able to register your car online! However, if you cannot register online, you may have to go to the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in order to register your vehicle. Typically, in order to register your car, you need to provide a valid driver’s license and a proof of insurance.

Nomad Credit Can Help

At Nomad Credit, we can help you find auto loan options that do not require credit history or a social security number as well as answer any questions or concerns you may have while studying abroad in the United States.

For more information, visit Nomad Credit. In addition to international student auto loan options we will help you find the best option for international student education loan options or study loans as well.

If you have any questions, send an email to and we will happily help!

John Romanucci

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