Foreign National & Visa Mortgages; buying a property without permanent right to reside in the UK
Buying a property whilst on a visa
The majority of UK mortgage lenders do not accept applications from individuals who don't have a permanent right to reside here.
But this doesn't mean it's impossible to get a mortgage; or that deals are only offered by obscure lenders.
If you try to work out for yourself whether a mortgage is possible based on the information provided online, however, you risk prejudicing your ability to buy a home by making false assumptions.
The information below reflects the current criteria for owner occupation as of 05/06/2023. If you are interested in Buy-to-let mortgages for foreign nationals please refer to this page.
Our advice service for applicants on a visa
As an independent broker and advisor, we find lenders who can accept your circumstances, including your visa and any other nuances that affect lenders' suitability.
We conduct a fact find with you to establish your needs and recommend the most suitable products from those lenders who should be able to accept your application, and then we arrange that loan for you.
This includes us completing all application forms, and collating all the necessary documents for the application, which we then pre-screen before submitting the loan application, to ensure that it is likely to be accepted.
We handle the application from submission to offer, including liaising between the lender, surveyors and solicitors to ensure timely completion.
We do not treat visa applications as being of higher complexity, so you will only pay the same advice fee we would charge a UK national.
Typically just £299 is paid upon full approval for a purchase application. No fee is payable to us if an application is declined: for any reason.
There are exceptions, such as when applying for a self-build mortgage; however, they do not apply to most applicants, and we would agree on any fee with you at our initial consultation.
There may be other fees to pay to the lender depending on the product chosen.
If you are applying for a re-mortgage, we normally offer a fee-free service and work solely on the commission received from any lender.
EU & EEA Citizens with pre-settled or settled status
These applicants will usually be treated as British nationals, so subject to all other criteria, are usually acceptable at all loan-to-values. Most lenders have different requirements for the length of residency in the UK, but there will typically be suitable options.
EU citizens without either pre-settled or settled status will normally need to attain this or be subject to the following visa rules below; except for Irish citizens who have automatic right to reside in the UK.
The minimum requirements for the amount of time remaining on a visa
Many mortgage advice firms' websites can be misleading on this subject. Often, they say there is a requirement for a minimum of 2 years left on the visa; some sites might say one year or even six months.
Different lenders have different rules though, so it depends on factors such as the deposit amount, loan size, visa type etc.
In general, there are lenders able to work with very little remaining time left on a visa, even if it's less than six months.
Some lenders insist upon having two years remaining validity, but most of these lenders are only available with a 25% deposit anyway. Hence these lenders may provide additional options for suitable customers, but having a short period remaining on your visa should not be a reason to delay buying a property for most customers.
What is more important to most visa applications is the type of visa, the period of residency in the UK, income level and deposit amount, as covered below.
Applications with 25% or more deposit
Applicants with a deposit of 25% or more have a broad range of potential lenders, so there is usually a suitable lender, even for applicants who only arrived in the UK one or two months ago: including those on a refugee visa, who otherwise have few options.
Applicants who have resided in the UK for more than five years
If you have been permanently resident here for five years or more (or for joint applicants, if either party has lived here for five years), excluding any holidays or breaks of less than three to four months, there will be potential high street lending options available up to 95% loan to value.
This applies to most visa types, including but not limited to Tier 1, Tier 2, Skilled worker, Investment, Entrepreneur, Global Talent, Spousal, Dependent, Ancestry, Student and Graduate visas.
Applicants with less than five years of permanent residency in the UK
If either applicant has a permanent right to remain in the UK or is an EU citizen with settled or pre-settled status, options will usually be available up to 95% loan to value. Subject to credit scoring and other criteria.
If household income exceeds £100k per annum, 95% will typically be possible, again subject to credit scoring and other criteria.
Failing this, if both applicants have resided in the UK continuously for more than two years, then 90% is usually possible.
For those applicants who do not meet these caveats, most loans are limited to a 75% loan-to-value maximum.
Other websites often state that applicants must have resided in the UK for at least a year or two. Although this information may be applicable to some lenders, it is a generalisation and not accurate for some of the lenders we deal with.
Rightmortgageadvice.co.uk has arranged several mortgages successfully in the last 24 months for applicants with only two or three months of residency in the UK, albeit with a large deposit of 25% or more.
Deposits from overseas, family gifts and loans
Due to anti-money laundering regulations, we must satisfy ourselves regarding the source of your deposit.
That does not mean bringing a deposit from overseas is a problem; or that gifts from family members overseas are a concern. And we deal with these frequently.
However, we will need evidence of where your deposit has come from. Sizeable transactions from overseas need appropriate evidence; of where the funds originated from (for example, 3-months statements for an overseas investment product or a solicitors letter confirming the proceeds of a house sale abroad).
Where gifts are made: by family members, consideration will be given to their size and the risk of money laundering they pose. Large gifts will need similar evidence of their source.