Lease in J1 Visa

Can I person on a J1 visa lease a car? I was trying to get a Honda HRV 3 year lease deal. Their bank reportedly denied the lease deal due to visa status. Any input from a person with similar experience vs
one who has an idea in this matter?


likely not b/c it is a student visa, right?

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My thought is

  1. It’s a J-1 Visa, they will leave
  2. Where did a J-1 Visa Holder get any kind of credit rating to get a lease? Usually you need to have over a year of history right?

My answer?
Just get a cosigner, I assume you are living with someone like a sponsor family right?

if all fails, maybe explore the possibility of a 1-pay lease where you’re making all the payments upfront in one lump sum. Some automakers offer that option.

An audi dealer in CA didn’t let a friend do one pay. I had to co-sign. He actually had a working visa, but because J-1 students used to do one pays, eventually kept the cars longer than the term and then dump it after they graduate and move back.

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J 1 visa is 1 year usually but extendable, they do have SSN, credit history and driving license.

Interesting that the J1 could build enough of a history to qualify for a lease.

Hey Dilip, I am on an H1-B and my initial visa in 2015 was valid for 1 year too. I think companies like BMW, Audi, etc won’t be open to leasing but there are ones out there that will lease to you. My first lease was a 2015 Infiniti Q50 and believe me, they did not even ask me for my visa status lol. Just my credit card information and proof of insurance.

Just shop around and ask dealers if they’ll lease to you on a J-1 visa. I am positive you’ll find someone willing to do it

From personal experience (I was on F1 and investigated heavily on how to do that with visa expiring within 6 months), here is my takeaways in summary:

  1. Your problem is short credit history, it doesn’t have to do with the dealer not wanting to sell you a car or anything like that. It is the bank that won’t pay for the car for you to lease it.

  2. I know others suggested shopping around at dealers but if the bank is not going to pay for it, even if you show up with $25k in hand and want to do a one-pay lease, you can’t, the problem above still remains. (I know it sounds stupid yes, but it is what it is).

  3. Your best bet in your situation: get a co-signer with good credit that is a us citizen or green card holder. Their credit history will remedy the problem. Of course that means they have to be liable as well, you may not have someone willing to do that.

  4. If you don’t have someone to add as a co-signer you have the following options:
    a) instead of getting the lease through the auto financial company try the bank you have your accounts with, they will likely to be more lenient to provide you with a loan, this option sacrifices some incentives likely.
    b) Don’t lease. Get a reliable used vehicle (although now is probably the worst time) and keep it for a few years until you switch to F1 or H1B visa where things get easier as schools/employers can guarantee your visa renewals and long-term stay in the country.
    c) Go get a brand new vehicle with cash if you want, then sell it when you leave the US, likely not the most savvy financial decision, but its your money.

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Just got a J-1 passed through Mazda (Toyota is their bank) - Nissan also has a program for it. Honda will auto-decline for J-1s in my experience. Chase is hit or miss.

And no, i don’t do IL deals

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