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If you’re an international student who took out student loans in the U.S. to pay for your education, you might wonder if you can refinance those loans. While it might be harder to refinance student loans as an international student, it’s possible with some lenders.
Here’s what you should know about refinancing student loans as an international student:
- Lenders for international student refinancing
- How to refinance student loans as an international student
- Challenges international students might face when refinancing
- Refinancing a student loan can be challenging as an international student
Lenders for international student refinancing
Many lenders that offer student loan refinancing — including most of Credible’s partner lenders — require you to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. However, you do have a few options for refinancing as an international student.
Here are Credible’s partner lenders that offer refinancing for international students who are resident aliens or visa holders:
|Lender||Fixed rates from (APR)||Variable rates from (APR)||Loan amounts||Loan terms (years)||Eligibility|
|4.4%+||4.67%+||$100,000 - $400,000 (depending on degree type)||5, 7, 10, 15, 20||Must have a credit score of at least 720, a minimum income of $60,000, and must be a resident of Texas|
|5.39%+1||5.39%+1||$10,000 to $750,000|
(depending on degree and loan type)
|5, 7, 10, 15, 20||Resident aliens with a:
|Compare personalized rates from multiple lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!
All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2College Ave Disclosures | 5EDvestinU Disclosures | 3 ELFI Disclosures | 4INvestEd Disclosures | 7ISL Education Lending Disclosures
Brazos offers student loan refinancing to residents of Texas with a credit score of at least 690 and a minimum income of $60,000. Depending on your degree, you can finance anywhere from $10,000 to $400,000 of student loan debt with repayment terms of five to 20 years.
To qualify for a student refinance loan with Brazos as an international student, you’ll need to provide government-issued documentation of permanent resident status or apply with an eligible cosigner.
With Citizens, you can refinance $10,000 to $750,000, depending on your degree and loan type. To refinance with Citizens as a non-resident, you must have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
This means Citizens could be a good choice for refinancing as an international student if you have someone willing to apply as a cosigner.
Check Out: Private Student Loan Consolidation
SoFi offers refinancing from $5,000 up to the full balance of your qualified education loans, which could make it a good option if you have a high student loan balance.
To potentially qualify for refinancing with SoFi as a non-resident, you must be a visa holder who has at least two years before your status expires or who has applied for an extension.
SoFi isn’t one of our partner lenders, but you can use Credible to fill out a single form in two minutes and compare prequalified rates from other lenders who offer student loan refinancing.
Learn More: How to Refinance Student Loans
How to refinance student loans as an international student
If you’re ready to refinance your student loans, follow these four steps:
1. Check your credit history
When you apply for refinancing, the lender will review your U.S. credit history to determine your loan interest rate. If you have bad or no credit, you’ll likely have a difficult time getting approved for a loan.
It’s a good idea to check your credit reports before applying to see if there are any areas where you can improve. You can use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to view your credit reports if you have a U.S. credit history.
If you find any errors in the reports, dispute them with the appropriate credit bureaus to potentially boost your credit score.
If this is the case, it could be a good idea to spend some time building your credit to improve your chances of qualifying for refinancing in the future.
2. Compare rates and terms
Each lender has its own student loan refinancing rates and terms, so it’s a good idea to compare as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you.
Be sure to consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms and any fees the lender charges. After comparing lenders, choose the loan option you like best.
Or you might opt for a longer repayment term to lower your monthly student loan payment and lessen the strain on your budget.
While having a longer term means you’ll pay more in interest over time, having a lower payment could be worth it depending on your situation.
You can use our student loan refinancing calculator below to see how much you can save by refinancing your student loans.
3. Complete your application
Once you’ve decided on a lender, fill out the full application and submit any required documentation, such as pay stubs or visa paperwork.
To simplify the process, gather your documentation ahead of time so you have everything you need.
4. Manage your payments
If you’re approved, be sure to keep making payments on your old loan while your refinance is processed. Afterward, consider signing up for autopay on your new loan so you won’t miss any payments in the future.
While this might not seem like much, every little bit counts when it comes to reducing your total repayment costs and potentially paying off your loan faster.
You can estimate how long it’ll take to pay off your student loan debt using our student loan repayment calculator.
Check Out: Private Student Loan Repayment Options
Challenges international students might face when refinancing
Unfortunately, refinancing as an international student can be more complicated than it is for domestic students. Here are a few challenges you might run into along with possible solutions:
1. Lack of credit history
When you apply for refinancing, you might find that you don’t have a U.S. credit history — or don’t have enough of a credit history to generate a credit score.
If this is the case, it’s a good idea to spend six to 12 months building your credit before applying again.
Here are a few options that could help:
- Apply for a U.S.-based credit card. Using a credit card to make purchases and monthly payments can be a quick way to begin establishing credit. As an international student, you might have to start with a secured credit card, which will require a deposit to open the account. There are also some cards designed specifically for international students, such as the Deserve EDU card, that don’t require applicants to have a Social Security number.
- Ask if you can be an authorized user. If you have a friend or relative who has a credit card, ask if they’ll add you as an authorized user to their account. As an authorized user, you can benefit from the payment history and age of the account, which could help build your credit even if you don’t make any purchases with the card.
- Get credit for your rent payments. On-time rent payments could help you build a positive payment history, which plays a major role in your credit score. If your landlord doesn’t report your payments to the credit bureaus, consider signing up for a service like CreditMyRent or LevelCredit to have your payments count toward your credit.
A few ways you might be able to improve your credit include:
- Making on-time payments for all of your bills
- Paying down any existing loan balances you have
- Avoiding new loans
Learn More: How to Pay Off $50,000 in Student Loans
2. Finding a cosigner
Adding a cosigner to your refinancing application could improve your chances of qualifying for a loan and might also get you a lower interest rate.
In some cases, refinancing lenders might require you to have a cosigner to apply for refinancing as an international student.
Keep in mind that a cosigner doesn’t have to be a relative — they just need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has good credit. If you don’t have family in the U.S. who can act as a cosigner, consider asking a trusted friend instead.
Check Out: How to Pay Off $100k in Student Loans
3. Proving your visa status
To qualify for refinancing as an international student, you’ll typically need one of the following types of visas:
When you apply, the lender will ask to see a copy of your visa. It’ll also consider other factors that might indicate how likely you are to stay in the U.S. and repay your loans. Some of these requirements might include:
- A U.S. checking or savings account
- Proof of income and employment history
- A current lease agreement or bills showing your payment history
Learn More: How to Pay Off $200,000+ in Student Loans
Refinancing a student loan can be challenging as an international student
Not every lender offers student loan refinancing as an option for international students, so there may be a higher demand for refinancing with the lenders who do. This could make it more challenging to refinance.
But while refinancing your loans as an international student might be difficult, it could be well worth the extra effort. If you refinance, you might be able to lower your interest rate or reduce your monthly payment — or both. This could help you save money over the life of your loan and potentially get out of debt faster.
If you decide to refinance your student loans, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.
1$16,943 savings disclaimer: Savings estimates assume the analyzed consumers will make full, on-time monthly payments for the full life of the loan according to the terms of their promissory notes. Actual savings may be higher or lower. Average $16,943 savings calculation based on (1) information the users shared with Credible about their original loans (such as loan balance, repayment term, and rate) and created an account between Nov.1, 2019 and Dec. 1, 2020; and (2) actual loan terms for those same users who refinanced into a student loan with a shorter repayment term than the weighted average of their previous loan’s(‘) remaining months to full amortization, calculated using information the users shared with Credible . This calculation excludes borrowers who refinanced to a loan of a similar or longer duration or who reported loan terms that deviate from normal user experiences, including: (i) any loan term with less than one (1) year or more than twenty-five (25) years remaining before refinancing; (ii) monthly loan payments greater than $5,000 per month before refinancing; and (iii) any existing loan amount (before refinancing) that deviates more than five (5) percent from the loan amount disbursed upon refinancing. Our calculations do not take into account variable factors such as the borrower’s potential eligibility for loan forgiveness, variable interest rates, deferments, late payments, underpayments, missed payments, or pre-payments. Please note that your actual savings may vary depending on interest rate, balance, loan terms, credit score, and other factors.