Mortgages for non-uk citizens

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Mortgages for non-uk citizens

Non-residents in the UK or British Expats can successfully secure a mortgage in the UK and get their foot on the property ladder.

However, those trying to apply have found it much more difficult in recent years.

Unfortunately, for non-UK residents, the risk is naturally higher when applying for a mortgage. This means a tougher investigation into their financial and employment is expected.

In this blog we will discuss if non-UK citizens can get a mortgage, mortgage options and how to get a mortgage in the UK.

For further help regarding mortgages as a non-UK citizen please give the Alexander Southwell Mortgage Brokers team a call on 03300 432428, or email us at


Can non-UK citizens get a mortgage?

Mortgages for non UK residents are commonly granted, individual banks set their own terms when you apply for a mortgage as a foreign national.

The finance can be secured on residential and commercial property that you will use in the UK, either as a base, or as a buy-to-let.

Whilst some high street banks do offer the option of a foreign national mortgage or expat mortgage, the number is small as lender requirements tighten.

Despite this, it is possible for you to be able to apply for a UK mortgage as a foreign national or non-UK citizen.


How much can a non-uk resident borrow?

The amount available to borrow for a mortgage on a UK property, is dependent on personal circumstances. Primarily, the size of the deposit or Loan to Value and total traceable income.

Most lenders will offer mortgages for up to six times the annual income of the applicant(s). The actual amount will vary when other factors get incorporated, such as; financial outgoings and other debts.

However, you may be able to borrow more from a private lender as they look at broader income and net worth, compared to high street banks who often just look at annual salaries when working out their mortgage offer.

For an accurate statement on how much you can borrow – take a look at our mortgage calculator.

Loan to Value for UK mortgages

Loan to Value (LTV) is the amount you need to borrow compared to the property value, it is one of the measurements lenders use to determine the mortgage products that are suitable for you.

Mortgage requirements in the UK

Getting a mortgage in the UK is relatively straightforward, however, those with less than 2 years of residency and without work, maybe faced with a higher fee or more stringent requirements.

This is why getting the correct mortgage advice is key to the process.

They may be offered less favourable mortgage terms, higher investment rates, or a bigger deposit.

Foreign national mortgages:

A foreign national mortgage is for those who meet the following lending criteria:

  • You’re a non-uk citizen or don’t have permanent residency in the UK
  • Born outside of the EU but have indefinite leave to remain or permanent residency.
  • This can also apply if you’re an EU citizen too.

Offshore Mortgage

This type of mortgage is available for those looking for a residential property within the UK to use as a holiday home for themselves or others when travelling to the country.

Seeking an offshore mortgage can prove to be much more complex than a mortgage within the UK, so seeking the right legal advice from lawyers and a broker can be extremely beneficial when applying to get an offshore mortgage.


Residential currency mortgages:

This type of mortgage is perfect for those looking to buy a property in the UK, but whose salary is in a different currency.

This mortgage allows you to take out the loan in the same currency you are paid in, which is an excellent option to avoid inflation and currency exchanges.


Mortgages for EU and non-EU citizens:

If you are a citizen from an EU country then you will find it’s much easier to obtain a mortgage in the UK, as lenders will often treat you the same as a UK resident. However, you will want to meet these criteria:

Requirements for EU citizens:

  • Have a UK bank account
  • A permanent job in the UK
  • Lived in the UK for 3 years

This also applies to non-EU citizens with indefinite leave to remain.

Requirements for non-EU citizens without indefinite leave to remain:

Without the permanent right to live in the UK, finding a lender who will approve a mortgage loan can be a difficult task, especially if you’re uncertain about where to begin your search.

If you are not an EU citizen, and have no traceable credit score, then there may be some additional requirements you will have to meet.

Despite this, thousands of citizens without indefinite leave to remain apply for a mortgage in the UK every year.

Asking a mortgage broker for advice is the most efficient way to find the best mortgage if you don’t have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Your own ability to apply to get a mortgage rely on a number of factors, such as:

  • A valid UK work permit
  • A valid Visa
  • Permanent residency in the UK
  • A UK bank account
  • A permanent job in the UK

Post-Brexit application process:

From 2021, if you are an EEA, EU citizen or Swiss national applying to get a mortgage in the UK, you will need to provide evidence of your “settled” or “pre-settled” status.

  • A “settled” status will usually be granted once you have live in the UK for a five year period continuously, also called “continuous residence”
  • “Pre-settled” status is granted if you have not lived in the UK continuously for five years. Unless you are applying as the existing close member of an EU citizen, EEA or Swiss national.

Getting a credit history in the UK

Increasing your credit score shows mortgage brokers that you will be able to keep up repayments on your mortgage, and gives you a higher chance of getting a mortgage.

To make sure you have a good credit score before applying for a UK mortgage, try to make regular deposits into your current UK bank account.

Additionally, you could apply for a credit card, where you can spend and pay back your credit each month.

To improve your chances of getting a mortgage you can also:

Keep a bank account open

For starters, you will want to open up a UK bank account, or keep your existing bank account active.

You may be asked to provide payslips over a specific period of time, so having a bank account will make that process easier for you.

Mortgage lenders will want to see a traceable credit history in the UK before agreeing to give you a mortgage.

Have a permanent job

The majority of lenders will have the requirement of you having either worked or lived in the UK for at least 2 years before offering a mortgage.

Having a permanent job in the UK also makes your application more appealing too. You may be asked to show a contract of employment when applying, to prove your income.

If you are self-employed, you will be required to provide several years of business accounts to your mortgage broker. You can read more about our self employed mortgages or make an inquiry for specialist advice.

If none of these are available to you then please keep in mind that some mortgage lenders do accept payments from income made outside of the UK or paid overseas.

Getting a mortgage as an EU national with bad credit.

Every UK lender has their own rules about what they class as bad credit, if you think that your credit score is too low, or your credit report is poor you should have a specialist broker check your availability to apply for a mortgage.

However, EU nationals tend to have more traceable credit history in the UK, as UK lenders recognise credit reports from the EU.

This makes it much easier for lenders to determine whether the borrower presents a risk for repayments.

As an EU national you may find that your choice of lenders is particularly small, and depending on the credit report itself, you may be charged higher interest rates.

Getting a mortgage as a non-EU national with bad credit.

As a non-EU national, you won’t have a recognised credit history in the UK. However, this doesn’t mean that mortgage options aren’t available to you.

Some lenders may require you to live in the UK for a minimum of 2 years before you will be able to apply for a mortgage, whereas other lenders can be more concerned about your right to work in the UK. This is why it is critical to speak to an expert broker when looking for Mortgages for non-uk citizens.


Visa classes and its effect on getting a mortgage in the UK.

Mortgage lenders will also take into account what your visa type is when applying for a mortgage. As for many it determines status, this links back to the criteria of how long you’ve lived in the UK and how long is left on your visa.

The three main types of visa are:

1. Family Visa

These visas cover those who are married and living in the UK with their partner, this also covers blood relatives. Some lenders offer the option for a joint application for citizens with this visa.

2. Tier 1 or tier 2 work visas

Getting a mortgage on either of these visas increases your chances of success on your application.

If you have around 1-2 years left gives lenders confidence you will be living in the UK long enough to keep up repayments on your mortgage.

3. EU citizen

EU citizens are normally entitled to some of the same mortgage and lending options as UK residents, although in some cases it’s not essential, having a UK credit history can count strongly towards your application.

 Can I apply for a mortgage if my tier 2 visa is about to run out?

There are a selection of UK lenders that will consider a mortgage offer even if your visa is about to expire.

However, these lenders will often ask for a higher deposit, which can be between a 20 – 40% range.

A higher deposit is to reduce any loss if you were to leave the UK and default the agreement with your lender.

They will also take other factors into consideration, such as your income and the total amount of the mortgage you are applying to.

Can non-UK residents apply for buy-to-let mortgages?

A buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage enables the buyer to rent out their property, and is assessed on how much on the property’s profitability.

In the same way that standard mortgages are judged, a non-resident looking to apply for buy-to-let mortgages will be assessed in terms of risk.

As discussed, a long term stay, either before or after applying for a property in the UK, means that you will have a traceable credit history.

Also make sure you have a few years left on your visa from the date you apply to get a mortgage, most lenders require 3 years left on your visa, but some will accept 2 years.

However, there are additional costs and differences you should consider when applying for a buy-to-let mortgage.

Interest rates

Interest rates for BTL properties are often higher than residential mortgages rates, therefore your repayment costs of your loan will be significantly more.


The deposit you put down on a buy-to-let property is higher than one you would put down on a standard loan.

You are typically required to put down 20% of the property value, but to open up the property market more you should put down 25% for this loan.


Check out our buy-to-let mortgage page for more information on these types of loans.

Mortgage lenders for non-UK citizens

Mortgages for foreign nationals can also be a little complicated. You may be placed in a position where you are seen as more of a risk to lenders.

You will find that most lenders do not offer mortgages to foreign nationals, so you may find you have fewer mortgage when looking for Mortgages for non-uk citizens options.

Speak to an expert on mortgages for foreign nationals

You should use a specialist mortgage broker that has expertise in this type of finance as they will find it easier to offer you a mortgage on a property in the UK.

They understand how each lender seeks information about your application in an effective way, and can give advice to help make the process much easier.

Our Specialist fee free broker will also know what documents and information will be needed and will be able to submit this with the application, making the process a lot easier for you.

Alexander Southwell would love to help you during this process, give the Alexander Southwell Mortgage Brokers team a call on 03300 432428, or email us at for further inform

Jamie Alexander Mortgage Broker & Advisor
Jamie Alexander

At Alexander Southwell Mortgage Services we pride ourselves on giving easy to understand advice, removing unnecessary information to ensure getting a mortgage doesn’t become a tedious task around your general day to day routine. We aim to help you now, in the future and provide a service you would recommend to friends and family.

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