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Foreign National Mortgage

Information to help foreign nationals understand the UK mortgage sector and which lenders might be the best prospect if you need a competitive mortgage on a UK property as a global expatriate.

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

Almas Uddin2023-05-09
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Mortgage options for foreign nationals

If you wish to buy a UK property as a non-citizen, or a foreign national, it is vital to work with a broker to assess the suitable foreign national mortgage options.

Many people believe that they are ineligible for a mortgage because they aren't British citizens, which is simply untrue! There are plenty of mortgages for foreign nationals buying in the UK, although not always through mainstream banks.

The Revolution Brokers team has collated this brief guide to explain how foreign national mortgages work and the eligibility criteria.

For help buying a property in the UK, whatever your residency status, and understanding the foreign national mortgage guidelines, give us a call on 0330 304 3040, or email at [email protected].

How Do UK Mortgages for Foreign Nationals Work?

Foreign national mortgages are available for applicants who:

  • Live in the UK but aren't a permanent resident.
  • Are not a British national but have the leave to remain indefinitely.

Lenders offering mortgage loans for foreign nationals will need to consider what sort of visa you have, how long you have lived in the UK, and how long you have remaining on your visa approval.

Most mortgage providers will consider applicants looking for UK mortgages for foreign nationals who have lived and worked in the UK for at least a year and have at least two years left to run on their visa - although a broker can usually negotiate these points. In essence, the mortgage rules for foreign nationals are no different than for anybody else.

However, the lender will need to ensure that they are balancing out any risks and have confidence that they are offering foreign national mortgage loans with all the due diligence checks carried out.

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How Can I Get a Foreign National Mortgage?

There are lots of things you can do to strengthen your application and improve your chances of mortgage approval, by understanding the mortgage rules for foreign nationals, for example:

  • Open a UK bank account and use it actively.
  • Look for a permanent job role in the UK.

Even if you don't have a permanent role, you can sometimes use foreign source income or foreign currency income towards mortgage affordability. Mortgage lenders will also need to check what sort of visa you have to ensure they meet the foreign national mortgage guidelines.

Most lenders will consider:

  • Family visas covering spouses, dependents and other immediate family members.
  • Works visas in Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Lenders will usually need to see a year or two remaining on your visa to consider an offer to lend. It isn't impossible to secure foreign national mortgage loans with another visa type. However, it can be harder to prove affordability if you don't have a great deal of credit history in the UK.

Can I Get a Buy to Let Mortgage for Foreign Nationals?

Getting an investment mortgage is usually less straightforward. However, if you have a long-term visa and a clean credit history, you improve your approval chances. Lenders usually need at least a 20% deposit and may have requirements about the amount of landlord experience you have, as well as a minimum annual income.

A buy to let mortgage for foreign nationals also needs to meet the general affordability criteria. The lender will need to know that you can keep up with the repayments, even if you move overseas or aren't planning to remain permanently in the UK.

The key is around whether the rental income will comfortably cover the mortgage costs and how likely it is that you will remain in the UK permanently. Applicants for UK buy to let mortgages for foreign nationals with complete work permits or permanent residency with at least two years of living in the UK are likely to be offered the most attractive rates.

Are There UK Non-Resident Commercial Mortgages?

Yes, foreign nationals can apply for commercial mortgages for businesses purchasing premises to operate from or commercial rental properties. Just as you can find a buy to let mortgage for foreign nationals through an experienced foreign national mortgage broker, you can also find business loans.

Again, the lender will consult the mortgage rules for foreign nationals and consider criteria such as affordability, stability, security, the source of the deposit, how much deposit you can put down, and the type of business premise you wish to purchase.

What are the Standard Rates on Foreign National Mortgages?

There aren't any fixed rates, and the mortgage you are offered will depend very much on your circumstances, with each application assessed on a case-by-case basis. Lenders don't often publish fixed rates for mortgages for foreign nationals buying in the UK since this is a specialist lending area. Instead, they will assess each foreign national mortgage application on merit.

The risk is higher since there is a greater likelihood that the applicants for UK mortgages for foreign nationals will relocate - and that they won't be able to trace the source of their income, or verify their credit history, as they would with a citizen.

However, that doesn't mean to say that you can't get competitive rates! As a foreign national mortgage broker, the Revolution Brokers team is always on hand to provide independent advice about ways to strengthen your foreign national mortgage application and negotiate more attractive terms. The rates will differ between a residential and buy to let mortgage for foreign nationals and again for a commercial loan.

Which are the Best Foreign National Mortgage Lenders?

You may find that high-street banks or mainstream lenders don't offer foreign national mortgage loans. This lending sector is more specialist, and a lot of banks don't have the focus on providing outstanding foreign national mortgage UK products.

However, there are many specialists, and as a foreign national mortgage broker, the Revolution Brokers team will ensure you find the best deals on offer. It's crucial to avoid applying for mortgage loans with the first lender you come across. While you may or may not have a credit history in the UK, if you make an application to a lender who doesn't offer foreign national mortgage loans, there is a risk that you could damage your chances of future approval.

Are There Mortgages for Foreign Nationals in London?

As you might expect from our thriving, multicultural capital, millions of Londoners live in the UK with permanent residency status or have indefinite leave to remain. There is a sizable market for foreign national mortgage products for people who may have lived in Britain for many years and yet find that their citizenship status is a barrier to finding competitive foreign national mortgages due to restrictive banking criteria.

If you have lived in Britain for at least a year, have a work history, and have two years or more left on your visa, you can indeed find reasonable rates on mortgages for foreign nationals in London. Likewise, if you have a long-term permit or permanent resident status, there is no reason you can't find a great deal through an independent foreign national mortgage broker.

Knowing the mortgage rules for foreign nationals is vital, so you apply to the lenders with appropriate eligibility policies and offering competitive foreign national mortgage loans.

What are the Foreign National Mortgage Guidelines?

One of the complexities for so many people looking for a foreign national mortgage is that the rules depend on the lender's policies in question. They can be stricter with credit history and anti-money laundering checks, which is a normal part of applying for a foreign national mortgage.

However, one may have strict regulations about not lending to anybody who doesn't have UK citizenship. In contrast, other foreign national mortgage lenders regularly deal with applicants who are settled in the UK! Having all of your paperwork in excellent order is perhaps the easiest way to improve your chances of approval for foreign national mortgage loans.

That means things such as:

  • Visa status and residency permits.
  • Employment history and contracts or payslips.
  • Evidence of your time spent in Britain.
  • Tracing of your deposit source and earnings source.

The better presented your foreign national mortgage application, the less risk the lender will perceive, and the greater your chances of swift approval at market-leading rates.

Expert Advice on Mortgages for Foreign Nationals in the UK

Suppose you're looking for a mortgage of any kind as a non-citizen. In that case, it is crucial to consult an independent, whole-of-market broker to understand which mortgages you are eligible for and which lenders will most likely approve your application. Our teams will assess the best foreign national mortgage lenders for you, based on their policies, and whose criteria we feel your circumstances align with best.

It's also crucial to have support in understanding the regulations around foreign national mortgage lenders, and we'll ensure your application is robust and can pass all of the required eligibility checks. Give mortgage advisors a call on 0330 304 3040, or email us at [email protected] to get the process started!

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

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FCA disclaimer

The content included in our articles, blogs, web pages and news publications is based on information accurate at the time of writing. Note that policies and criteria can change regularly throughout the UK mortgage lending market, and it remains essential to contact the consultation team to receive up to date guidance. The information included on the Revolution Brokers site is not bespoke to any circumstances or individual application scenarios and therefore is not intended to be used as financial advice. The content we share is designed to be informative and helpful but cannot be relied upon to provide individual advice relevant to your mortgage requirements. All Revolution team members are fully qualified, trained and experienced to provide mortgage advice of an independent nature.

We collaborate with lenders and providers who are regulated, authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Should you require specific mortgage borrowing types, some products such as buy to let mortgages may not be FCA regulated. The Revolution team can provide further information about regulated and unregulated lending as required. Please remember that a mortgage is a debt which is secured against your home or property. Your home can be at risk of repossession if you do not keep up with the repayments or encounter any other difficulties in managing your mortgage borrowing responsibly. This also applies to any remortgage or home loan secured against your property, including equity release products.

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