Loans for immigrants are an excellent option for undocumented entrepreneurs to finance their dreams of starting or growing their businesses in the US.
The problem and the real difficulty lies in the possibility of accessing business financing. The truth is, the sources of capital are more limited for undocumented immigrants.
Moreover, many financial institutions are reluctant to lend capital to undocumented immigrants without an SSN.
At Camino Financial, we believe in you and your dreams; that’s why we make a daily commitment to help immigrants that have decided to start small businesses in the USA.
In this article, you can learn everything about business loans for immigrant business owners in the US and how this community can access capital sources to build their company.
The Importance of Small Immigrant Businesses in America
For decades, immigrants have driven the economy of the United States. And this is one of the main reasons why loans for immigrants are significant too.
A report by the New American Economy found that, in 2017, about 3.2 million immigrants ran their own businesses. That’s one in every five entrepreneurs in the country.
Plus, between 2000 and 2013, immigrants accounted for 48% of the growth in US business ownership.
These data suggest a considerable potential in the impact that this population can have on the country’s economy in general.
Despite these revealing numbers, loans for undocumented immigrants can be tough to access.
Can Immigrants Get Loans in The US?
Yes! Undocumented individuals can access loans.
Fortunately, some organizations and companies understand the challenges of being an immigrant entrepreneur in the US and are willing to work with them.
Depending on the lender, an immigrant will need to provide a form of identification, Social Security Number, or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to receive capital.
In some cases, if you don’t have a credit score yet, a guarantor will also need to sign your loan application.
Camino Financial is an alternative lender that offers business loans for immigrants even if they only have an ITIN.
Types of Credit and Business Loans For Immigrants in the USA
There are different small business loans and credit options that lenders offer.
You can use an immigrant business loan for different purposes, from covering your basic needs to financing your own business.
These are the most common business loans for immigrants:
1. Short-term loans
The time to repay a short-term loan, as the name suggests, is short: usually less than 18 months, and in some cases less than a year.
The requirements for this type of credit are not as strict as those for longer-term loans for immigrants, making them an excellent option for immigrants without a credit history.
Although they can be ideal for new entrepreneurs, frequent payments and higher interest rates can affect new company finances that don’t have a stable cash flow.
2. Equipment loans
These loans are very convenient for immigrants who are just starting their businesses.
The collateral needed is the piece of equipment itself. This means you will not have to offer your personal assets as collateral.
This financing alternative focuses on businesses with a high demand for equipment and tools, such as workshops, restaurants, beauty salons, etc.
To apply for an equipment loan, you will have to submit a quote including the price of the equipment to buy, have an established credit history, and other business documents.
The useful life of the equipment determines the term of this type of capital.
3. Merchant Cash Advances
Although it is not a loan in itself, you can receive cash with these merchant cash advance loan options. You’ll receive an advance on future sales made with credit and debit cards.
In return, you will have to pay a percentage of those sales plus a fee.
They are a quick way to get working capital in the short term. You don’t need to put up collateral or have a high credit score.
You will need a copy of your driver’s license, your bank statements, tax returns, and your credit score, among other documents.
Although the application and approval process is simple, cash advances are costly and the loan amount depends on your sales.
Another type of credit: Personal loans
Undocumented individuals may also be able to access a personal loan to finance their businesses.
A personal loan is a quick and easy alternative to obtain funds to invest in your company. First, however, you should consider whether the amount (which is usually relatively less than in other types) is enough to cover your needs.
Also, a personal loan might not be the best idea if you need business financing, mainly because the loan amount might not be enough.
You can also access business credit cards, even if you don’t have an SSN.
What are the Best Lenders For Immigrants?
We have just seen the different types of loans for immigrants that may be a good fit for you, but where do you actually go to apply for credit? While there are many lenders’ options, what is the best alternative for immigrants?
1. Credit unions
These are good options to access lending products. Credit unions assist immigrants, who usually avoid turning to banks because of their stricter requirements, including an SSN.
Besides other resources offered by credit unions, you can find business loans for immigrants.
The requirements are basic, such as submitting your rent records or bills for public services, in addition to an ITIN number.
2. Online lenders
These are another increasingly popular alternative. Online lenders offer a faster and more convenient option than a bank since their requirements are more flexible.
It is possible to compare rates and request a loan from the convenience of your home and get an answer in a matter of minutes.
Also, you can receive the loan funds directly into your bank account in a few days.
At Camino Financial, the process is fast and completely online. You don’t need a Social Security Number: your ITIN is enough.
Requirements to Apply for Small Business Loans for Immigrants
Some online lenders may require applicants to prove they are legally living in the country to give business loans for immigrants.
The most common requirements are:
- Certain types of Visas. Some lenders choose to lend to immigrants with any of a valid visa, such as TN, E, J-1, H1-B, and O. (Not required by Camino Financial)
- A Social Security Number (Not required by Camino Financial, we accept ITIN)
Asking for a loan can be a challenge for non-U.S citizens residents without a Social Security Number.
If this is your situation, you must request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the IRS.
Keep in mind the following: the requirements mentioned here refer only to the documents necessary to prove your identity to access business financing.
This table summarizes the main requirements for the most common types of financial assistance for immigrants.
|💰||Accept ITIN?||No credit history accepted?||Type of payment||Annual Interest Rate||Loan amount|
|Camino Financials’ small business loan||Yes||Yes||Monthly||12-25%||$5,000 to $400,000|
|Other small business loans||No||No||Monthly||13%-71%||$5,000 to $500,000|
|Merchant Cash Advance||Depends on the lender||Depends on the lender||Daily||40-150%||$2,500 to $250,000|
|Line of credit||No||No||Monthly||7-25%||$10,000 to $100,000|
|SBA Loan||No||No||Monthly||7.5-10%||$500,000 to $5.5M|
What is an ITIN?
The Personal Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, is for non-US citizens who need to pay taxes but cannot receive a Social Security Number.
To request an ITIN number, you must fill out a form and mail it or process it in person at an IRS taxpayer help desk.
You can also take it to an acceptance agent authorized by the Internal Revenue Service.
You must also include proof of identity during the application process, like your passport or driving license. You’ll receive your ITIN number in about six weeks.
Camino Financial is one of the new lenders willing to grant you credit only with an ITIN. This is a great opportunity for undocumented immigrants who needs business financing. Read here how to get ITIN loans to get that financing.
Do I Need a Credit Score or Credit History to Apply for a Loan?
To grant the best loans, banks verify the borrower’s credit history. Still, this kind of background is impossible to prove in this case.
In other words, those who have never applied for a loan before or don’t have a credit card because they are new immigrants in the United States don’t have a credit history yet.
An immigrant in a new country must start building a credit history from scratch. That’s why it can be difficult to access credit until you have proof of a stable income.
Besides, the higher the credit score, the better. You’ll have more chances of accessing a loan and receive more favorable terms and interest rates.
Building a credit history takes time. Follow these tips to achieve it faster:
- Open an account at the bank of your choice. Also, apply for a secured credit card, in other words, a card backed by the funds you deposit into the account.
- Automate your payments. Pay all your bills automatically through your online bank account. This will ensure you always pay your bills on time, from public services to other types of credit.
- Make the best use of your credit card. If you have an international credit card issued in your country of origin, you may be able to ask the bank to issue you a US credit card.
- Request your landlord to report your rent payments. They can inform your payments to Experian, one of the leading credit bureaus.
- Review your credit report whenever you have a chance and correct any mistakes you find.
SBA loans might not be the best option for you. SBA loans are usually given only to a permanent resident.
Immigrant Business Grants
An alternative of loans for immigrants is business grants. Non-profit organizations or state governments usually give them.
You can use this type of funding to start a business and are available to individuals or groups.
These grants are more attractive than a loan because you do not have to pay back the money.
But this also means there’s a lot of competition to access and that the application process can be complex.
Some of these business grants for immigrants are:
1. Wilson / Fish Alternative Program for Refugees
This is an assistance program of the US Department of Health and Human Services, which promotes employment, cash, and other help to immigrants.
These grants come through states, voluntary resettlement agencies, and non-profit resettlement organizations.
To receive assistance from this program, immigrants must prove their immigration status or submit an asylum letter.
2. Microenterprise Development Program for Refugees
This program is also run by the Department of Health and Human Services and its goal is to help immigrants start or expand their own businesses.
In addition to providing money, this program also offers training in key areas, such as accounting, marketing, and administration.
3. Rural business development grants
Administered by the US Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, this program focuses on rural areas and those who do not necessarily work in agriculture.
The program offers assistance through working capital, training, and real estate, among other resources.
Only companies with less than 50 employees whose income doesn’t exceed $1 million can access this grant.
Camino Financial: the most trusted lender for undocumented immigrants
As you’ve seen, there are many funding options. But we’re probably the best one for you.
At Camino Financial we have experience working with immigrants.
The process to apply for a small business loan with us is very easy: you only need to present your ITIN. In addition, you don’t need to put up collateral, have a strong credit score or have a previous credit history.
Our loan amount ranges between $5,000 and $400,000 to fit any of your business needs. Our repayment term ranges from 24 to 60 months so that you can choose the time.
One additional benefit of our loans for immigrants is that after 8 months of making timely payments, you can graduate to another loan with better terms and interest rates.
With advantages like these, it’s possible to grow your business in the US.
Consider a Business Loan From Camino Financial
These are the steps to follow to apply for a business loan with us:
- Complete a concise online application. You will know instantly if you qualify.
- A business loan specialist will contact you to match you with the type of loan that best suits your needs. You must also authorize Camino Financial to download your most recent banking activity.
- These are the other documents to submit: Proof of company registration, licenses and permits, last year tax returns (for loans over $50,000) and ITIN or EIN.
- Sign the loan contract and receive the money directly in your business bank account. You can receive your business financing within 2 business days!
Start growing your business with the help of a lender that understands you! We are willing to help you build your dreams, regardless of your immigration status.