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Car Loans for Non-Residents

Explore car loan options for non-residents and temporary visa holders working in Australia.

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors
, updated on April 23rd, 2024       

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Getting around in Australia as a temporary resident usually means you have to take the train. Or if you’re feeling a bit lavish, you can take a taxi or an Uber everywhere. Finding a lender or broker that will approve you for finance without permanent residency or citizenship may be difficult, but it isn't impossible. Find out more about your car loan options right here with Savvy today!

Why lenders are reluctant to lend to temporary residents

Lenders are more wary of temporary residents, even if they have a work permit, because they represent a higher risk than permanent residents or citizens. Since most work permits have an expiry, lenders would rather place a “sure bet” on someone who has no reason to skip out on a loan by returning to their home country. Temporary visa holders may breach the limits of their visa by working more hours than they're entitled to, or with employers other than their visa sponsor. If they breach their visa conditions, it could mean instant cancellation, which would mean they must return home. Of course, these are worst-case scenarios, but banks and lenders think of every eventuality and factor that into their decision.

Some types of visas are better than others

Banks and lenders generally favour temporary work visas and student visas with a path to permanent residency. If you have a visa sponsor, this can work towards your approval in the eyes of lenders. Bridging or provisional visa holders without expiry dates are usually declined for finance, as income isn’t taken into consideration. These visas are dependent on a decision by the government, which could go either way.

What that means for you

If you're working in Australia with a temporary work permit, a lender may approve your car loan. However, they're well within their right to set a loan term that fits within your visa’s time limit. This means your repayments may be higher than loans with standard terms (five years is usually the standard). Since you fit a higher risk profile, they may only approve your loan as a “sub-prime” borrower. “Sub-prime” borrowers tend to be people with bad credit. That means higher interest rates compared to borrowers with average or good credit.

What you can do to help your case

Like any type of loan, it helps to have as much information about your finances and residency as possible so your lender can make an informed decision. Proof that you pay your bills on time and in full, that you have steady income and a sponsor that vouches for your good conduct helps you gain approval, and perhaps even a (slightly) better interest rate. As always, you should seek advice from a financial professional before applying for a car loan as a non-resident.

Car loans and 457 (and 482) visas

The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, also known as the subclass 457 visa or simply the 457 visa, was a common accepted visa by lenders when it came to car loans. It was considered one of the most suitable visas for car loan applications, with some lenders approving applications for loans shorter than the visa period.

However, the 457 visa was abolished in Australia in 2018, being replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, also known as the 482 visa. This visa is another common one for car loan applications as it can grant stays as long as four years (or five years if you’re a Hong Kong passport holder).

If you’re living in Australia on a 482 visa, you can enquire about a car loan with Savvy and we’ll check whether your profile is suitable for approval with one of our trusted lending partners.

Why choose Savvy for your car loan?

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