Whether F1 visa international student can lease BMW/Benz/Porche?

Dear Hackrs,

I’m sorry to trouble you. I’m new to this forum and I have some questions about the leasing. I’m now at Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Now I’m a master student here (F1 visa with ssn) and I will graduate in the next year. I wonder whether it is possible that I can lease a car (BMW/Benz/Porche) using my F1 visa status?

Based on what I searched, it seems that for BMW, it is a little hard to get approval for F1 visa status? How about I use a cosigner from one of my friend?

For Benz, I’m not sure whether there is any policy that allow student like me to lease a new car?

What kind of things I should prepare for making my approval probability being higher?

I hope to lease a new BMW M X5 or Benz AMG GLE.

If you know the details about this, could you please give me some resources or some suggestions?

(some additional information)
my F1 visa will end at 2024. Although I will graduate in 2022, I plan to work here and stay here.
For the cosigner, actually I have a friend can help me for this
But I’m not sure whether this means a very high down pay or a very high monthly pay?

Thanks a lot.

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You can lease however if you are looking for a AMG GLE, you will probably get approved if you do a one-pay lease or with heavy down.

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@Calvin.MB is a great MB dealer and we both do Mercedes. Give us a shout if you need help with Porsche or X5 M, I do all three brands and more, I don’t remember if Calvin will ship.


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I know BMW has a foreign executive program to lease cars to foreign workers in the US, it had a slightly bumped MF if my memory serves me right. Not sure about students but if anyone can do it, probably would be BMW FS. Whether it can be pulled thru or not will most likely depend on your approved period of lawful stay in the US which is the validity of I-20 for F1 students I believe. If you are a master student with an I-20 expiring in 2 years, I’m not saying no, but be prepared for lots of back and forth as most sales/finance guys out there probably don’t know anything about it either. Try find a broker or dealer here who actually pulled similar deals.

TBH i’m surprised that MB would lease to someone without established credit and with a visa status that would presumably be unknown after graduation? I guess with enough money anything is possible. I’m a greencard holder and it was difficult enough getting a lease within 6 months of establishing residency and that was with a job etc.

It doesnt seem like budget is an issue given the requirements, so I’d probably just look to do a long term car rental. There are companies like Expat Car Sales and Leasing | International AutoSource that specialize in these kind of things too.

Yeah, had a buddy who couldn’t lease from Audi/BMW/Merc because of his F-1 visa. This was in OH, though. But, it’s the first time I’ve heard this happen.

I do not ship for leases :frowning:

The general theme I have noticed across manufacturers is that your current visa has to be valid throughout the term of the lease. So if your visa has 2 years left, you lease has to be a 2 year or shorter term. A 3 year lease would be declined in this circumstance. Also these deals usually require a decent down payment, no derogatory marks on your credit (if you have anything established in the US), and typically a tier 2 or 3 approval.

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How do they even know OP is on visa ? I don’t remember they ask in the application either.

This is interesting. I have friends who are on H1B visa and they were definitely approved for a 3 year lease even though their visa technically expired in the next 2 years. I say technically because they had a 3 year extension that their employer could file for, but again that’s not a guarantee by any means.

Driver license depending on state says Temporary. Also with limited credit history they would look more into it. Honda and Acura have systems in place which check through SSNs. Its the hardest to get anyone on a work visa for Honda or Acura and this has changed recently in the past 2 years I would say.

Depends on the type of visa. Usually if their company writes a letter stating that they will extend or renew their visa, that is enough to get approved.

In this case, a student visa without a written job offer will be a tough sell without a significant down payment.

I just want to say I’ve personally pushed sketchier things through in the past , large sums of money talks. Audi A4 money in China is often Porsche money in the US. I discussed this in a previous comment.


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Grad student? Have you looked at the Taycan? Assuming you will be working at Google in one year.


Yep I’ve seen this to be a common practice. Which is funny because the company might decide otherwise in the next couple months and nobody would care.

I don’t see any issue with your visa status. But, usually they will just look at your visa duration to ensure the lease falls within that. The Bank is owning the car, not you. So, you will have more problem with financing the car than leasing. If you put a bit more down to reduce the risk for the bank, I guess you are good. Back in the days when I was on F-1 status, the dealer told me they can only give finance for the visa duration. And then, they offered they can give me lease instead to reduce monthly payment.

Gonna go with ‘NO’. Unless it’s a deal with a big CCR and one pay. IIRC F1 status doesn’t even allow you to work full time in the US no matter what the plan is after graduation (unless you end up with an employer willing to sponsor you down the road).

Absolutely can be done. Last time I saw one done the person needed a copy of their visa, a letter from the employer that had a work commit that at least covered the duration of the lease, along with appropriate income. Most of the time I saw 24 month leases work best. As @FuzzyIBJ said most finance folks are unfamiliar with this process. Reach out to Sam at @autopia as he is a pro at these deals and knows the dealers that can easily push them.

F1 visa is a student visa, as far as I can tell, OP is not employed (maybe a TA income at best), I think you are confusing it with H1-B.


No problems. Make sure you have employment income. Build credit. I did it when I first came to US. Work with a dealer who will get it through or explain any deficiencies.