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By Pete Mugleston | Mortgage Advisor

Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 4th December 2020*

Foreign national mortgages can be a complex topic, so it’s crucial that you get the right advice if you’re in the market for one. That way, you could boost your chances of success and chances of ending up with the best rates that you qualify for.

Although lots of websites and forums claim to have the answers to important questions about mortgages for foreign nationals, many will find it’s often difficult to get reliable advice. And keep in mind, bad advice can cost you time and money.

To prevent more people from being misinformed, we’ve compiled a handy guide for non-UK residents seeking a mortgage, and you’ll find the following topics covered below…

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What is a foreign national mortgage?

Even if you’re not a UK citizen, it’s still possible for you to get a mortgage. A foreign national mortgage is a type of mortgage for those who meet the following three criteria:

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


Most foreign national mortgage lenders take into account two key factors when assessing if applicants are suitable for a mortgage:

  • How long you have left on your visa to stay in the UK
  • What type of visa you have (Some lenders offer mortgages to those on a Spouse Visa but not, for example, a Student Visa)
  • How long you have been in the UK

The majority lenders will want you to either have lived or worked in the UK for at least 12 months before they’d offer you a foreign national mortgage.

To stand a better chance of getting a mortgage as a foreign national, it will help if you have at least two years left on your visa when applying.

The best way to find out more about guidelines and how they could affect you is to make an enquiry with us so we can put you in touch with a specialist tailored to your needs and circumstances.

Can I get a foreign national mortgage in the UK?

Yes! An ever-increasing number of mortgage lenders are offering foreign national mortgages and we work with expert brokers who arrange these products every day. Speaking to them before you press ahead with your application could save you time, money and potential marks on your credit report. What’s more, our broker-matching service is free!

How to get a foreign national mortgage

First step, if you haven’t done so already, open a bank account and keep it active. Being in a permanent job in the UK is also a great way to make your application more attractive to lenders.

If neither option is for you, some lenders accept mortgages paid from an overseas income or in foreign currency, see our guide to getting a mortgage with overseas income for more information.

Don’t let bad advice scare you into thinking you can’t get a mortgage in the UK without a British passport.

We also work with specialist foreign national mortgage brokers who can offer bespoke advice on these products – make an enquiry to speak with one of them over the phone today.

Visa classes and how it affects lending

When it comes to foreign national mortgages, your visa type is very important – as for many it determines status – and again links to the lending criteria of checking how long you have been in the country and will stay there.

Here are the three main types of visas and what they could mean for your mortgage potential:

  • Family visa:
    These visas cover those who are married and live with their spouse, as well as blood relatives i.e. child, parent etc.
    There is an option for a joint application if a foreign national on these visas, which has many benefits and it also allows you to work.
  • Tier 1 or Tier 2 Work visas:
    Getting a mortgage on either visa you increase your chances of a successful application the longer you have left on your visa.
    The majority of lenders will ask that foreign nationals have around 1-2 years left as this gives them more confidence you’re able to stay in the country long enough to cover payments for the full term of the mortgage.
  • EU citizen:
    Normally entitled to the same mortgages and lending options as a UK citizen but this is, of course, dependant on if you have credit history here that can count towards your application.

The easiest way to make sure you’re on the right track and get support from those who know all about how best to apply with your visa situation is to reach out to us. The brokers we work with can give you the specialist guidance you need.

Buy to let mortgages

Buy to let mortgages for foreign nationals in general are judged by mortgage lenders, in terms of risk, in a very similar way to a standard mortgage. A long term stay, either before or post-application is encouraged, especially since it gives them more credit history to check.

This means the process is often simpler for those who have full working UK permits, permanent residence rights in the UK or have lived in the country for two years.

That’s not to say lenders won’t consider those who don’t fit those requirements, as the dedicated brokers we work don’t discriminate – so don’t hesitate to make an enquiry.

Non-UK resident buy to let mortgages

Yes, this is possible although the process is less straightforward than it would be for a foreign national living in the UK. There are flexible lenders out there who offer non-resident buy to let mortgages to foreigners based abroad who have a 20% deposit, and this includes customers who are first-time landlords or registered as self-employed.

You can expect the lender’s identity, anti-money laundering and funding source checks to be more stringent under these circumstances because of the increased risk.

While it might be more difficult to get a buy to let mortgage if you’re a non-resident, keep in mind that it’s possible if you find the right lender. 

They can be difficult to track down if you don’t know where to turn, but the good news is that the advisors we work with have deep relationships with these specialist mortgage providers and would be more than happy to introduce you to them.

Commercial mortgages

Yes, it is possible to get a UK commercial mortgage if you’re a foreign national. We work with international mortgage brokers who arrange business mortgages for customers from overseas.

One thing to keep in mind is that commercial mortgages work and are assessed differently to residential. You can read more about this in our guide to commercial mortgages or make an enquiry for specialist advice.

Foreign national mortgage rates and lenders

As mortgage rates change it’s best to focus on averages when trying to determine if you will get a good one. Mortgages for foreign nationals can also be a little complex. Being a foreign national may place you in a position where you are viewed as more of a risk to lenders, though other factors are also kept in mind.

Things that may affect you – or create a higher possibility of being declined would be things like – adverse credit historyincome sourcedeposit size and property type to name a few of the common factors.

Speak to an expert on foreign national mortgages

If you have questions about where to find foreign national mortgages and need the right advice make an enquiry to speak with a specialist broker.

Allow a team of experts to help match you with a broker that suits your needs and circumstances. Using our services won’t have an effect on your credit rating and of course won’t cost you a penny because there are zero fees.

Updated: 4th December 2020
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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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