Can A Non-U.S. Citizen Apply for An SBA Loan?

Before approaching for a small business loan for new business, the one question that hovers in the brains of the owners is: can a person who is not qualified as a United States citizen apply for an SBA loan? Though the answer is yes— it’s not the same in all cases. Generally, legal permanent residents or LPRs, better known as green card holders, can qualify for SBA financing. However, things really can get a little more complex if a borrower is not a legal permanent resident.

As part of the SBA loan application process, each “proprietor, general partner, officer, director, LLC managing member, and 20%+ owner” of a business applying for a business loan New York must provide a document to their lender titled as SBA Form 912 (Statement of Personal History).  

The SBA clearly states that their funding is available for “businesses that are 51% owned and controlled by persons who are not citizens of the US provided the persons are lawfully in the United States.” However, it’s always up to the discretion of an individual lender whether they want to provide a loan to a non-citizen or not. To speak with clarity, if a lender wants to go forward with the loan application process, they would need to get a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-551, better known as a green card, from the borrower.

SBA Loan Approvals for Non-Green Card Holders and Foreign Nationals

If a potential SBA loan application does not have a green card available because they are not a legal permanent resident (LPR), the lender needs to determine the borrower’s status. According to the guidelines provided by the SBA, potentially eligible statuses include:

 “A documented alien admitted to the U.S. for a specific purpose and for a temporary period of time”

An individual granted asylum or a temporary refugee with LPR status

“An alien subject to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)”

However, to be eligible, a Small Business Funding must also meet other requirements, including:

Present management must have operated the business for a minimum of 12 months before the application date, or, they will need to personally guarantee the loan.

The borrower must have enough U.S.-based collateral to repay the loan in full at any time during its term. In some cases, where a business owned/managed by citizens of foreign countries, foreign business entities, or non-immigrant aliens opting for the SBA loans as small business opportunity fund can also be eligible for SBA financing, as long as it meets the aforementioned conditions.