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Mortgages for foreign nationals

  • The UK economy would flounder without its influx of foreign nationals
  • So why do lenders make it so hard for non-UK citizens to buy a home?
  • We’ll help erase the barriers that High Street lenders needlessly raise!

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    A question people continually ask us is, “Can a non-UK resident or foreign national get a mortgage in the UK?”

    Yes. And no! On the High Street, you’re going to struggle. You’re a specialist borrower. Not all in-branch staff handle applicants outside their remit with confidence.

    But if you go through a specialist broker who can interpret your situation to a lender? Yes, you can get a UK mortgage, even if you’re not a UK citizen.

    That’s because specialists (like us) don’t deal with in-branch staff or call centres. We go to the top and deal with underwriting teams direct. We know from many years’ experience that underwriters are more concerned about two things:

    1. Your credit history, and
    2. That you have the appropriate permission to live in the UK and work.

    Here, we’re going to help you satisfy those requirements.


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    Make it a priority to build up your credit score as soon as you start working in the UK. Without a solid credit history, you’re unlikely to be successful wherever you apply for a loan.

    Cred-ability tip for foreign nationals:

    There are several steps you can take to begin making this happen:

    • Open a bank account;
    • Make payments by direct debits;
    • Always make sure you pay all your bills on time.

    It’s imperative you create a clean credit file that UK mortgage lenders can trace.

    Guidelines for foreign nationals applying for a UK mortgage

    Lenders offering mortgages for foreign nationals insist that you meet certain criteria. One of these is that you have the appropriate permissions to work in the UK.

    The documentation they need as evidence will state:

    • How long you have left remaining on your visa
    • The type of visa you have
    • How long you have been living and working in the UK

    In most cases, the document needs to show that you’ve either:

    • Lived and/or worked in the UK for at least 12 months
    • Have 24 months remaining on your visa
    • Or sometimes, both

    A few high street lenders have less strict criteria if certain conditions are met. For example, if the loan-to-value is less than 75% (meaning you have at least 25% deposit), they can be more flexible with other elements.

    Visa categories and how they affect mortgages

    The type of visa you have will affect your mortgage options. Each lender sets its own lending criteria for foreign nationals. Submitting your application to one who accepts your status and circumstances is critical!

    We can help you find the right lender for you. But as a guide, here is what the three main types of visa could mean for your mortgage potential:

    Family visa:

    Family visas allow family members and dependants of people with another type of UK visa to join them in the UK.

    This could include married or civil partners, children, grandchildren, parents, and blood relatives.

    Tier 1 or 2 Work visa:

    More and more lenders are offering mortgages to Tier 1 and Tier 2 visa holders. The longer you have remaining on these types of visas, the better.

    The longer the time left, the greater your likelihood of securing a mortgage. On average, lenders look at around 1-2 years remaining to satisfy their lending criteria.

    UK Ancestry visa

    Some lenders are willing to consider mortgage applications from UK Ancestry visa holders. These are issued to Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent born in the United Kingdom.

    To ensure your mortgage application has the best chance of success, seek the best guidance. A specialist mortgage broker can give you the support you need.

    Mortgages for European Union and European Economic area citizens

    Lenders treat citizens of the EU and EEA the same as British citizens for mortgage purposes. This includes the 27 member states in the EU, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

    Although Switzerland is in neither the EU nor EEA, they’re treated the same as EU citizens.

    At present, there’s no suggestion that this outlook will change as a result of Brexit. But please do check any changes made since the UK left the EU.

    Can self-employed foreign nationals get mortgages in the UK?

    Yes! They can. And it makes no difference whether you’re self-employed or a permanent employee on payroll.

    You will need to show a minimum of 12 to 24 months’ trading history. Most lenders need to see this in English if your work history is documented in another language.

    We will work with you to show a lender your income in the best possible way. This will help you achieve the best mortgage possible for your situation.

    Buy-to-let mortgages for foreign nationals

    Lenders assess buy-to-let mortgages for foreign nationals similarly to standard mortgages. It’s worth repeating here, though: you must build up a credit history that UK mortgage lenders can trace.

    That said, some UK lenders go further. They offer buy-to-Let mortgages to non-UK national residents overseas.

    Whichever type of mortgage you need, talk to someone who knows specialist mortgages. Remember, as a foreign national, you are a specialist borrower. A specialist broker can help to translate more than just your documentation.


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