If you are a foreign national living in the UK and wondering if you can get a mortgage, you’ll be pleased to know that many mortgage lenders consider non-UK citizens.
Most visa holders are eligible to apply for a mortgage in the UK. When applying for a foreign national mortgage, it’s important to understand how factors like your visa status, credit history, residency duration, employment stability, and deposit size affect your chances of mortgage approval.
This helpful article will outline the factors to consider before making an application and provide valuable advice on securing a mortgage as a foreign national.
At Strive Mortgages, we specialise in arranging foreign national mortgages and have access to a wide range of specialist lenders. If you are looking to buy property in the UK in the near future, get in touch, and one of our experts will be on hand to help.
Is it harder to get a UK mortgage as a visa holder?
While UK mortgages are available to foreign nationals, they can be more challenging to secure. Depending on your circumstances, you may find you have a smaller pool of lenders to choose from compared to UK citizens. You may also be required to put down larger deposits or have a minimum period of 2-3 years of residency in the UK.
A wise move is to consult an experienced mortgage broker to explore your options and approach the right lenders.
What should a foreign national consider when applying for a mortgage in the UK?
There is actually no such thing as ‘foreign national mortgage products’. You should have access to the same terms and interest rates as a UK citizen. What is different is the lender’s criteria.
There are several factors that will impact your ability to get a mortgage as a foreign national, namely the length of time remaining on the visa, the type of visa and length of residency in the UK and the loan to value/ deposit level.
Factors to consider before applying for a foreign national mortgage include:
1. Length of time in the UK
Most lenders stipulate a 2-3 year residency in the UK to get a mortgage, so they can establish a track record of employment, address and credit history. However, there are some lenders that consider shorter periods, and some even consider applications from the moment you arrive in the UK.
An exception is likely to be made for a joint mortgage application. Applying with a UK citizen, someone with permanent residency status, or with a high income can open up more lenders and increase your chance of approval.
2. Remaining visa length
Most lenders insist on a reasonable period of time left on your visa at the point of application. The time required varies depending on various factors, including the visa type and the length of your residence.
Lenders require evidence of a stable income, paid into a UK bank account. While it is preferable to some lenders for applicants to have a permanent job, it is not vital, and many will consider income from self-employment.
While it’s possible to secure a mortgage as a non-UK citizen with as little as a 5% deposit, most lenders insist on larger deposits. Many lenders require a minimum of 25%.
5. Type of visa
Lenders will generally consider those on the following types of visas:
- Tier 2 Visa (Working Visa): For skilled workers residing in the UK.
- Spousal Visa: Allows individuals married to UK citizens to live and work in the UK.
- Tier 1 Visa: For foreign nationals such as entrepreneurs, investors, and more.
- Family Visa: For individuals with family ties in the UK.
Those with indefinite leave to remain should encounter very few restrictions when applying for a mortgage, as the permanent right to reside is considered lower risk by lenders.
6. Credit score
Mortgage lenders require evidence of a good credit history. If you’ve just arrived in the UK, it is a good idea to wait until you have been here long enough to build a credit history. A good starting point is to open a UK bank account, set up some direct debits and ensure you pay them in full and on time. You can check your credit report here.
7. Property use
If you are buying a property to live in, your options are different to if you are looking to secure an investment property with a buy-to-let mortgage. Buy-to-let mortgages usually require a minimum 25% deposit as standard.
8. Source of income
Most lenders require evidence of UK income, and most do not accept overseas income. If they do, it is likely that they will carry out stringent checks as to the validity of the income source.
9. Work with a mortgage broker
An independent mortgage broker will be up to date with lending criteria and can steer you towards the right mortgage providers to save you time and hassle. Brokers like Strive have access to a wide array of specialist and mainstream lenders, and can shop around to get you the best deal available.
If you speak to the mortgage adviser at your bank or go directly to a lender, then they will naturally just offer their own products. A broker can give you impartial advice and present a variety of options with the view of keeping your mortgage repayments as low as possible.
Strive Mortgages can help you get a foreign national mortgage
If you’re a non-UK citizen looking to buy a property in the UK, Strive Mortgages can help you to get a foreign national mortgage. We’ll be there every step of the way to guide you and ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
We specialise in mortgages for foreign nationals, and we know precisely which lenders to approach based on your circumstances. We’ll also take care of the entire mortgage application process to save you time and hassle.
Frequently asked questions about applying for a foreign national mortgage
Yes, it is possible to make a UK mortgage application without a UK passport. However, lenders usually have more stringent criteria for a foreign national mortgage and will consider factors such as nationality, income, length of residency, visa type and credit history.
As a non-UK resident (i.e. someone living outside of the UK) looking to secure a mortgage in the UK, the options are limited, although it’s not impossible. The vast majority of lenders consider non-UK residents as high risk, but there are some specialist lenders willing to consider applications from overseas borrowers.