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Visa requirements for mortgages

Can you get a mortgage with a Visa? Find out how here.

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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: 19th August 2019* | Published: 8th April 2019

Can I get a mortgage with a visa?

If you’re in the UK on a visa and struggling to get a mortgage because you don’t have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, it can be difficult to find a lender who will accept applicants with a visa, and even harder to find one offering interest rates and terms which work for you.

Your best bet is to talk to a mortgage broker who knows which lenders will accept mortgage applicants who happen to be in the UK on a visa at the time of applying for their mortgage. 

Talk to one of the expert mortgage brokers we work with by calling Online Mortgage Advisor on 0800 304 7880 or make a quick online enquiry. We’ll match you with a mortgage broker experienced in helping people in the UK on a visa.

Or keep reading to find out what to expect when getting a mortgage on a visa. 

This guide includes:

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Can I get a mortgage in the UK if I’m in the country on a visa?

Depending on the type of visa you have, this may be possible. 

When it comes to mortgages for visa holders, some lenders may require you to have a visa with a long expiry date.

Ideally, a visa with more than 2.5 years is preferable and some lenders prefer you to have been living and working in the UK for several years before you apply for a mortgage.

Every situation is unique and lenders all have differing criteria around visa type, the loan to value ratio and whether the income from the visa holder is required for the mortgage. 

If you or your partner are in the UK on a visa and want to get a mortgage, we recommend speaking to an expert broker, like the ones we work with, who can find a mortgage lender and help guide you through the application process.

Can I apply if my visa is about to run out?

Yes, some mortgage lenders will consider lending to borrowers who haven’t lived in the UK for a long period of time and also to those who have little time left on their visa.

The conditions of the mortgage may stipulate that a larger deposit, up to 25%, is required and you may find that the interest rate of the mortgage could also be higher.

There are competitive lenders in the market, and the brokers we work with can find and compare these for you, to ensure the rate and deposit size required is affordable for you.

Call 0800 304 7880 or make a quick enquiry to talk to a mortgage broker with experience in arranging mortgages for people in the UK on a visa.

What types of visa are accepted on a mortgage application?

There are many different types of visas that can be accepted on a mortgage application.

Each lender will consider the various forms of visa differently, depending on their lending criteria. A mortgage broker will be able to advise you which lenders will be more likely to accept your application, this way you will avoid any potential disappointment as you’re less likely to have your application declined and you could save money on application fees by finding the right lender first time around. 

Below are the types of visas that may be accepted on a mortgage application in the UK:

  • Tier 1 Visa
  • Tier 2 Visa
  • Tier 5 Visa
  • Spousal Visa
  • Ancestry Visa
  • Work Visa
  • Student Visa

How are mortgages for tier 1 and tier 2 visa holders assessed?

Tier 1 and tier 2 visa holders can be accepted for a UK mortgage if they pass the provider’s standard eligibility checks.

In addition to meeting the lender’s general mortgage requirements, tier 1 and tier 2 visa holders could also be assessed based on the following factors:

  • The visa’s expiry date:
    Most lenders will want you to have at least 2.5 years left on the visa, although this isn’t always essential. It will depend on the type of visa and whether the visa holder’s income is needed to contribute to the mortgage payments.
  • The amount of time they’ve lived in the UK:
    Most lenders prefer tier 1 and 2 visa holders to have been living and working in the UK for several years ahead of any mortgage application.
  • The amount of deposit they have: 
    The minimum deposit requirements for a residential property in the UK are usually 5-10%, but tier 1 and 2 visa holders may be asked for more (around 25% is standard). 25% will almost certainly be required if you’ve only recently entered the country or have less than 2.5 years remaining on your current visa.

If you don’t perfectly match the above criteria, don’t panic.

The expert brokers we work with have access to specialist mortgage lenders who arrange mortgages for tier 1 and tier 2 visa holders every day, including customers with the minimum level of deposit, people who only recently entered the country and those with less than 2.5 years left on their visa.

Can I get a mortgage on a spouse visa in the UK?

A spousal visa is a type of visa that provides people who are married to UK residents with the permanent right to live in the UK. A spousal visa also grants the visa holder the right to work in the UK.

For a lender, this eliminates the risk of a borrower having their visa declined because lenders view it as decreasing the risk of the borrower being unable to work and pay for their mortgage.

If you’re on a spouse visa in the UK and meet the eligibility and affordability criteria of the lender you’re applying with, then you should be able to get a mortgage. 

A mortgage broker with experience of borrowers on visas would know which lenders would consider your mortgage application and help ensure your application was successful. Call 0800 304 7880 for free expert advice.

Will my partner’s spousal visa prevent us from getting a joint mortgage?

A spouse visa gives the holder permission to work in the UK so a joint mortgage application could be achievable.

This could result in you being able to apply for a larger mortgage, as with most lenders, the higher the income, the higher the loan they’ll consider granting.

If you’re finding it difficult to get a lender to approve your mortgage because of their visa policies, you may find it necessary to apply with just your income. 

While this means the lender would look only at your income when calculating affordability, it might also mean that visa requirements for the second applicant are overlooked.

You may find that this opens up the possibility of better mortgage rates without the need to take the mortgage in a single name.

To get the mortgage you really want, talk to a broker who knows which lenders would be willing to grant mortgages to people in the UK on spousal visas. Call 0800 304 7880 or make a quick enquiry and speak to one of the expert advisors we work with.

We'll find the perfect visa mortgage expert for you - for free

Save time and money with the right mortgage advice, first time

  • Network of over 200 brokers all with whole of market coverage
  • Save up to £400 per year with a mortgage expert matched to you
  • We've helped over 88,000 people get the right advice
  • Our quick & easy form only takes a couple of minutes to complete

Can I get a Buy to Let mortgage on a Visa?

In general, buy-to-let mortgages can be more difficult to arrange since lenders view this type of mortgage as more risky because borrowers (and future landlords) depend on the income provided by tenants paying rent in order to pay the mortgage.

Mortgage lenders view experienced landlords with a proven track record of being able to find tenants and pay their mortgage as less of a risk.

However, for a borrower who has less experience, and perhaps less knowledge of the property and rental market in the UK, this can be more difficult.

Because of this, lender requirements for a buy-to-let borrower can be more stringent, especially if you’re also in the UK on a visa.

What are the requirements?

Depending on the lender, you may need to meet the following criteria for buy-to-let mortgages...

  • A Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa
  • Been in the UK for a minimum of 3 years
  • At least 1 year left on your visa
  • 25% deposit or more
  • Held a UK buy-to-let mortgage for 6 months OR live in a UK property which you own

There are specialist lenders who specifically deal with mortgages for buy-to-let customers on visas. Even if don’t entirely meet all the above criteria, there may be lenders who will consider your application.

The tier 1 and 2 visa mortgage brokers we work with can help you through the application process and put you in touch with the right lenders for you. 

Call 0800 304 7880 and get an introduction to an expert mortgage broker who can answer your questions and help you get the mortgage you want. The service is free and there’s no obligation to act on any advice given.

How much can I borrow on a mortgage as a visa holder in the UK?

The affordability checks for a mortgage applicant, whether you’re a visa holder or not, will be based on your income, outgoings, age and credit history. Whatever your surrounding circumstances, it’s these things lenders will assess to decide the amount they are willing to let you borrow on a mortgage.

Every lender has different levels of generosity as to how much they will lend. Most cap their lending at 4x your annual income, whereas some will cap at 5x, and a handful, in the right circumstances will even consider lending at 6x your annual income.

This will vary considerably if you have a more complex financial situation. For example, borrowers with bad credit can be seen as more of a risk as it could suggest that there have been issues with mismanaging finances in the past.

Because of this, some lenders will reduce the amount they’re willing to lend and will ask for a higher deposit so you own more equity in the property and the lender reduces their own risk.

Can I ask for help with calculating my affordability?

Yes, of course! The brokers we work with help borrowers calculate their affordability all the time.

They can go through your finances with you, looking at your:

  • Income
  • Outgoings
  • Debts
  • Dependants
  • Credit history

These aspects, along with your age and income source, allow them to provide a more accurate estimate that reflects your personal circumstances.

It’s important to know how much you can borrow before applying with a lender since this will save you money on application fees and also prevent mortgage rejections on your credit file.

Make an enquiry and talk to one of the advisors we work with to find out more about how much you could borrow or see our affordability section for more information.

Should I seek professional advice?

Working with an experienced broker who has previously negotiated successful visa mortgages can save you a lot of time. A lot of brokers claim to be whole-of-market, but when it comes down to niche areas they often have little real experience.

Unfortunately, this can lead to misinformation and may result in borrowers being turned away for loans simply because they’ve been given the wrong advice.

Talk to one of the advisors we work with. They can put you in touch with a broker who has real experience of visa mortgages and help you get the mortgage you want.

We'll find the perfect visa mortgage expert for you - for free

Save time and money with the right mortgage advice, first time

  • Network of over 200 brokers all with whole of market coverage
  • Save up to £400 per year with a mortgage expert matched to you
  • We've helped over 88,000 people get the right advice
  • Our quick & easy form only takes a couple of minutes to complete

Speak to an expert today

If you have questions about getting a mortgage with a visa or want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0800 304 7880 or make a quick online enquiry.

We’ll connect you with one of the brokers we work with who has wide knowledge and experience in arranging mortgages for people on visas in the UK. 

The service we offer is entirely free and there’s no obligation. Brokers we work with only get paid when you get the mortgage you want.

All the brokers we work with are whole-of-market, with access to all mortgage lenders in the UK. They know which lenders will consider mortgage applications from borrowers on visas, saving you time, money and a heap of hassle.

Updated: 19th August 2019
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2019 ©

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 info 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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