Car Loans for Non-Residents

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

No obligation. It won't affect your credit score.
Written by 
Savvy Editorial Team
Savvy's content writing team are professionals with a wide and diverse range of industry experience and topic knowledge. We write across a broad spectrum of finance-related topics to provide our readers with informative resources to help them learn more about a certain area or enable them to decide on which product is best for their needs with careful comparison. Meet the team behind the operation here. Visit our authors page to meet Savvy's expert writing team, committed to delivering informative and engaging content to help you make informed financial decisions.
Our authors
, updated on September 11th, 2023       

Fact checked

At Savvy, we are committed to providing accurate information. Our content undergoes a rigorous process of fact-checking before it is published. Learn more about our editorial policy.

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 is difficult. It’s difficult, but not impossible.

Why lenders are reluctant to lend to temporary residents

Lenders are wary of temporary residents, even if they have a work permit, because they are higher risks 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. Sometimes, temporary visa holders my breach the limits of their visa by working more hours than they are entitled to, or with employers other than their visa sponsor. If temporary workers breach their visa conditions, it means instant cancellation and 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. Arrivals with bridging or provisional visas 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 are working in Australia with a temporary work permit, a lender may approve your car loan. However, a lender is 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 the rest of the population.

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.

Why choose Savvy for your car loan?

Helpful guides on car loans

When should you give up driving?

Studies done at the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety in Queensland (CARRS-Q) have found that along with age, drivers and pedestrians alike become more fragile. They have concluded...

Do you prefer green or grunt in your car?

According to a survey of 9,500 drivers across Asia-Pacific by Ford (a promotion to spruik their EcoBoost “green” engine) 80% polled said they consider fuel economy as the most important...

Car loans for uber drivers

Car loans for Uber drivers – a primer

What cars does Uber allows you to drive? Uber itself places restrictions on what car drivers may use. Drivers must also be over the age of 21, have a spotless...

Car maintenance basics explained

Car maintenance is meant to help you improve the overall performance of your vehicle, and also to extend its life. Because of this, it is necessary for you to understand...

Is Car GAP Insurance Worth It?

Let's say you owe $10,000 on your car loan. A huge truck slams into your parked car and completely writes it off. The truck drivers' insurer will pay $9,000 agreed...

6 driving habits that are damaging your car

1. Dragging your brakes when driving downhill The one thing that will burn your brake pads and disk quicker than anything is dragging your brakes when you are driving downhill....