Key Points
  • Temporary residents in Australia often face challenges when seeking financial services, including car loans, but there are options available.
  • Many lenders require borrowers to be Australian citizens or permanent residents, but common acceptable visas include the 482 temporary skills shortage visa and student visas, while working holiday or bridging visas may not be favored.
  • To qualify for a car loan, temporary residents typically need a decent income, some form of credit history, a visa with sufficient validity, identification documents, a deposit, and take out comprehensive insurance for the vehicle.
  • Temporary residents should be prepared for higher interest rates, limited loan options, and stricter eligibility requirements.

While many lenders require the borrower to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, common acceptable visas include the 482 temporary skills shortage visa, and student visas. Visas that provide pathways to permanent residency are generally looked upon more favourably, while working holiday or bridging visas may not.

Types of Car Loans Available to a Temporary Resident

When comparing options in the car loan market, there’s generally four popular choices.

Secured Car Loans

These loans are secured against the vehicle you are purchasing. If you default, the lender can repossess the car. The primary benefit of secured car loans is that they generally offer lower interest rates due to reduced risk for the lender.

To qualify for a secured car loan, you will need to provide proof of income, residency status, and sometimes a deposit. Because they are using the car as security, there’s a chance they could be more relaxed in other areas such as your type of employment.

Unsecured Car Loans

Unlike secured loans, unsecured car loans do not require collateral, making them riskier for lenders. The benefits include more flexibility and might have quicker approval processes.

However, these loans come with higher interest rates and are generally more dependent on your credit score or history. If you have a thin credit history you might face a higher interest rate, even if you have stable, high-paying employment.

Novated Leases

A novated lease is a three-way agreement between you, your employer, and a finance company. One of the significant benefits of a novated lease is that the payments are made from your pre-tax income, potentially reducing your taxable income. After the lease period you will also likely be granted the opportunity to purchase the vehicle.

Typically, novated leases are available to those with full-time employment and residency status. They might preclude those on temporary skilled work visas.

Benefits of leases typically include a bundled price for servicing, maintenance and insurance. On the other hand there may be restrictions as to how you use the vehicle, or how many kilometres it can do per year.

Personal Loans for Car Purchase

Personal loans used to purchase a car offer flexibility in both usage and repayment terms. The eligibility for personal loans depends on your credit history, income, and residency status.

These loans can be a good option if you prefer not to secure the loan against the vehicle. This can open you up to a wider variety of vehicles, however usually comes at the expense of a higher interest rate.


VariableNew1 yearMore details
  • Get the option to choose to reduce your regular payment amounts if you opt for balloon payment
  • Available for purchasing new and demo vehicles
  • $5,000 to $150,000 loan amount
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.

loans.com.au – New Car Loan - Home Owner Special

  • Get the option to choose to reduce your regular payment amounts if you opt for balloon payment
  • Available for purchasing new and demo vehicles
  • $5,000 to $150,000 loan amount
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
FixedNew99 yearsMore details
  • Lower Interest Rates
  • No Hidden Fees
  • A quick and easy, 100% online application. No printing. No paper. No fuss.

OurMoneyMarket – New Car Loan

  • Lower Interest Rates
  • No Hidden Fees
  • A quick and easy, 100% online application. No printing. No paper. No fuss.
FixedNew1 yearMore details

Firstmac – New / Demo Car Loan (Fixed)

    FixedNew, Used99 yearsMore details

    SocietyOne – Unsecured Car Loan Excellent Credit

      VariableNew, Used99 yearsMore details

      Latitude Financial Services – Variable Car Loan

        Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

        All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here.

        The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans for the relevant amounts and terms are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for unsecured personal loans are applicable for unsecured loans only. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

        Monthly repayment figures are estimates only, exclude fees and are based on the advertised rate for the term and for the loan amount entered. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

        Rates correct as of June 22, 2024.View disclaimer

        Banks' Visa Requirements for Car Loans

        Below is a general roundup of the major banks' personal or car loan visa requirements. Other lenders might differ. Note, eligibility was correct at the time of writing, and might be different between loan types.

        ANZ

        • Includes all temporary visa arrangements that allow one to work in Australia; may be extendable to family members. Also includes business visas. Working holiday visas aren’t accepted.

        Commonwealth Bank

        • Many working and student visa types are acceptable, including the 482. Working holiday and bridging type visas are not.

        • Visa must be valid for a minimum one month from the end of the loan term.

        NAB

        • Many visa types are accepted.

        • Ineligible visas: Visitor Visa (exception, a Special Category Visa - NZ Citizen is acceptable), Working Holiday, Student, Exchange/gap year, Transit/short stay/seasonal and Bridging.

        Westpac

        • Westpac accepts many visas, particularly skilled work and business visas, and their partners.

        • 100, 103, 113, 124, 132, 143, 151, 155, 176, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 457, 482, 487, 489, 491, 801, 820, 835, 856, 857, 858, 887, 888, 890, 891, 892, 893 are accepted.

        What You’ll Need to Qualify for a Car Loan

        Securing a car loan as a temporary resident involves meeting specific criteria, which may vary between lenders. Common requirements include:

        Decent income

        You’ll need to show evidence of a stable, fairly well-paying job if you’re on a work visa. Income requirements could be at least $50,000 per year, and may be higher for visa holders compared to permanent residents or citizens.

        You will likely need to provide at least the past two payslips plus bank statements showing where your salary is paid into.

        A credit history

        You might need some form of credit history or profile in order to boost your chances of approval. Some lenders might be lenient for new residents with limited local credit history, and allow a valid international credit report.

        If you’ve read this and started panicking, don’t; comprehensive credit reporting regulation introduced in 2014 means that all kinds of various things are on your credit report, such as your phone bill and electricity account. If you have paid these off on time, you boost your chances of having a decent credit score.

        An appropriate visa length

        Common acceptable visas include 457, 482, and student visas. However it’s not usually enough just to have the right visa.

        Lenders typically require a visa with at least six months of validity remaining, or a period of time valid after the car loan ends. Considering many car loan terms are for three years or longer you’ll want to make sure your visa is valid for longer than this.

        Further, you’ll usually need to demonstrable intent to reside in Australia for a significant period. Longer visa validity may increase approval chances.

        Identification documents

        If you don’t have an Australian drivers licence you’ll likely need to supply your passport at the time of application. You might also need to provide payslips, bank statements, an electricity or phone bill to confirm your identification. You’ll also need to provide evidence of an appropriate visa.

        On the driving side of things, if your drivers licence from your home country is in another language, you’ll likely need to get an international drivers permit or licence.

        A deposit

        For some, but not all lenders, a deposit may be required. This reduces the loan amount, and also demonstrates fiscal responsibility. You are also providing ‘equity’ in the car, which can be handy if you write it off (e.g. crash it) or need to sell.

        A handy guide is to aim for a 10% deposit, which on a $50,000 vehicle purchase is $5,000.

        Appropriate insurances

        Many lenders when lending for new cars require borrowers to take out comprehensive insurance. This is to cover your vehicle and others in an accident, and differs to the state-run CTP program, which is for injury liability.

        Note that if you’re new to the country, have a limited driving history, or are using the vehicle for rideshare you will likely face a more expensive premium.

        What to Keep in Mind Before Applying

        There’s a few key ingredients to keep in mind before applying for a car loan as a temporary resident or visa holder.

        Higher Interest Rates

        Temporary residents often face higher interest rates compared to citizens or permanent residents. This is especially true for unsecured car loans or if your credit rating is not strong. Lenders perceive temporary residents as higher-risk borrowers due to the uncertainty surrounding their long-term stay and income potential in the country. Therefore, it's essential to be prepared for potentially higher monthly payments.

        Different Terms or Loan Types

        The range of lenders and loan types available to temporary residents is often more limited. Non-residents may not have access to the same variety of loan products as citizens or permanent residents. Some lenders may offer specialised loans for non-residents, but these can come with less favorable terms or higher rates. It's crucial to research and compare different lenders to find the most suitable loan options for your circumstances.

        Stricter Eligibility Requirements

        As a temporary resident, you will need to provide additional proof to demonstrate your ability to repay the loan. Since you may not have an extensive financial history in Australia, lenders will require other forms of assurance. This might include having a higher-paying job in a permanent position, providing a substantial deposit, or agreeing to stricter loan terms or a lower loan amount. Ensuring you have stable employment and sufficient savings can significantly improve your chances of approval.

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