Is it possible to get a UK mortgage for foreign nationals?
Yes, it’s possible. You don’t have to have a UK passport in order to take out a buy-to-let, residential or commercial mortgage. You’ll have to apply for what’s called a foreign national mortgage.
These mortgages are no different in terms of how they operate to a standard mortgage but can be more complex to apply for given lenders generally view overseas borrowers as higher risk.
Do you have an acceptable visa? Have you been in the UK long enough? And do you have a big enough deposit?
These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself and research before investing time and resources into a mortgage application
Unfortunately, not just anyone from anywhere can take out a mortgage in the UK. Lenders need reassurance that, despite not being a UK citizen, you’ll be committed to repaying the loan. To ascertain that, there are a few questions they’ll be asking.
- What type of visa do you have? Not all visas are acceptable to mortgage lenders. Those on student visas, for example, can be rejected because such a visa implies a short stay but a working visa is more acceptable as it signals a longer-term arrangement.
- How long is left on the visa? The further away the expiration date is the better the chances of approval as it implies you’ll be in the country long enough to be committed to the property.
- How long have you been in the UK so far? It’s not unusual for lenders to stipulate that an applicant must have been in the UK for over a year. Some lenders even state a five year minimum.
- Where will the money for repayments come from? If you derive a salary from UK employment or self-employment, that will work in your favour. If you plan to remain living overseas and use foreign income for the repayments, the country, currency and company you work for will influence approval as well as interest rate.
Certain lenders may also have their own criteria applicants would have to meet. For example, some lenders only loan to those from a pre-set list of countries. They may have stipulations about the level of spoken English. It is possible they will instil minimum income requirements and maximum loan to value (LTV) ratios. As with any mortgage application, lenders will also be looking at your deposit, income type and the property in question. At the same time they will conduct more stringent checks on your income, expenditure and credit history.
Seen as a riskier product, interest rates for non-UK resident mortgages tend to be higher than on other mortgage types. They usually lie between 3% and 6%. You’ll likely be at the higher end if you have bad credit, a smaller deposit and an inconsistent or overseas income.