Getting a Mortgage on Tier 2, Spouse and Other Types of Visas

Are you hoping to buy a property but are on a visa? Read on to find out whether this is possible and if you fit the eligibility criteria.

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Home Mortgage Application Getting A Mortgage On Tier 2, Spouse And Other Types Of Visas

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: March 13, 2024

In this article, we’ll explain how to get a mortgage in the UK with a visa, what types of visas are acceptable to mortgage lenders and how a broker can help boost your chances of success.

Can you get a mortgage in the UK with a visa?

Yes, but as a foreign national it isn’t as straightforward as if you were a UK resident. The requirements can differ depending on the type of visa you have, and lenders will consider additional factors such as how long you’ve been in the UK and the length of time left on your visa.

What if you don’t have indefinite leave to remain?

You don’t need indefinite leave to remain to secure a mortgage, though if you do and/or you’re on a spousal visa, you should find more options open to you.

The complexity of this area means seeking the right kind of support is essential, which is why we’d always recommend speaking with a broker who specialises in mortgages for visa holders to help determine your eligibility and find the deal that’s right for you.

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Are the lending requirements different?

Yes. Alongside the usual eligibility checks, you’ll need to pass other more specific lending criteria in order to be approved.

For example:

  • You’ll normally need a minimum of 12 months remaining on your visa (though more is preferred) unless you have confirmation from your employer that your work permit is being renewed.
  • You’ll need to have been in the UK for at least two years to build a suitable credit score, though this can vary – some lenders will accept less, while others expect more, in some cases a minimum of five years.
  • Your credit footprint must be clean.
  • Affordability checks may be stricter and minimum income requirements higher – often at least £75,000.
  • You’ll likely need to prove full-time employment with appropriate payslips.
  • Deposit requirements are often higher and as such you’ll qualify for a lower loan-to-value (LTV). Some lenders stipulate that deposits must come from the applicant’s own resources as well (i.e. they can’t be gifted).

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How to get a mortgage with a visa

Here are the key initial steps you should take to stand the best possible chance of securing a visa mortgage:

  • Collate all of your documents together. Remember, you’ll need to provide plenty of supplementary evidence to prove to lenders your visa status, employment and affordability profile, so make sure you’ve got everything to hand.
  • Check your credit score. Most lenders will accept nothing less than a stellar credit score if you’re seeking a visa mortgage, so make sure yours is up to scratch – and if you notice any errors or areas you could improve on, now’s the time to sort it.
  • Speak to an expert broker. Once you’ve gathered together the correct documentation, checked your credit score and are sure you match the criteria (outlined above) the next step is to speak with a broker, They will know the lenders who are potentially able to accept visa applicants to save you time and stress. They’ll be able to help you work through the process too and will make sure you stand the best possible chance of acceptance. Get in touch to see the difference this kind of support can make.

Bear in mind the more general requirements for the mortgage application process too, so you know what to expect when applying.

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Types of visa acceptable to lenders

The type of visa you’re on can have a huge part to play in your mortgage eligibility and the criteria the lender will set.

Here’s an overview of the types of visas that may be acceptable to mortgage lenders.

Tier 1 visa

Tier 1 visas can no longer be applied for, but if you already have one, you should be able to find a suitable mortgage provided you meet the criteria. For example, you’ll typically need to have been in the UK for at least two years and will ideally have at least a year left on the visa.

Affordability generally won’t be an issue for this kind of application, given that tier 1 visa-holders are normally either in well-paid employment, are entrepreneurs or can make significant investments into the UK.

Tier 2 visa

Tier 2 visas – or skilled worker visas – have broadly similar requirements to tier 1. Lenders’ main concern will be how long you’ve been residing in the UK and the length of time left on your visa. You’ll also typically need a UK-based current account in order to be eligible. 

Spousal visa

Spousal visas – granted to those married to UK nationals – are typically treated the same as tier 1 and tier 2 visas, with the visa holder granted the right to live and work in the UK.

This kind of visa is deemed less risky by lenders and therefore should make it relatively easy to secure a mortgage, and getting a joint mortgage on a spouse visa should be even easier (provided the other applicant is a UK national with permanent right to remain).

Ancestry visa

There are a few lenders that will accept applications from those with an ancestry visa, but you’ll likely need a larger deposit and will need to pass all other affordability criteria, together with more typical mortgage visa requirements (length of time in the UK, etc.).

Student visa

If you have a student or tier 4 visa, there are only a handful of lenders that will offer you a mortgage. You’ll still need to have been in the UK for a certain length of time and will likely need a larger deposit – which can be provided by family members – and it may be easier to be accepted if you’re applying for a joint mortgage with a UK national.

British National Overseas (BNO) visa

Hong Kong nationals on a BNO visa should certainly be able to secure a mortgage, provided they’re able to prove full-time employment, have a larger deposit (typically at least 25%) and, again, have ideally been living in the UK for a minimum of 12 months and have a minimum of one/two years remaining on the visa.

Which visas aren’t acceptable?

Not all visas will be suitable for a mortgage, most notably tier 5 visas. These are for temporary workers and, given the nature of the visa – which will normally be issued for a maximum of 12 months – it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to secure a mortgage. Similarly, refugees will almost certainly be declined.

Which lenders will accept these applications?

There are quite a few lenders who will accept visa applicants, including high street names, such as:

  • Santander: Accepts tier 2 mortgage applications, provided the property is for the applicant’s own use.
  • NatWest: Maximum LTV is 75%. However, for those seeking a mortgage on a spouse visa – where one applicant has a permanent right to remain – the LTV can increase to 95%.
  • Halifax: Applicants without permanent right to remain will either need to have been in the UK for at least five years, be seeking an LTV below 75% or earn more than £100,000.
  • Barclays: Has a higher LTV limit than the norm for visa mortgages of up to 90%.

This is just a snapshot of the criteria imposed by mortgage lenders, bear in mind that your choices will be more limited if you don’t have indefinite leave to remain.

Please note lenders mortgage terms and criteria can be subject to change. Speaking to a mortgage broker is the best way to keep track of the terms and conditions available at any given time.

Speak to a broker who specialises in mortgages for visa holders

Sure you fit the criteria and ready to start the process? Then you’ll need to find the broker to suit, which is where we come in. Not all advisors have the necessary experience in visa mortgages to help you secure the finance you need, but our unique broker matching service takes away that risk – just tell us a few details and we’ll match you with the ideal broker to ensure you’ve got expert advice on your side.

It’s free, there’s no obligation and it couldn’t be easier to get started – just call us on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll do the rest. 

Maximise your chance of approval with a dedicated specialist broker

Get Started Phone Icon 0808 189 2301

FAQs

Potentially, though not many lenders will accept such applicants and you’ll likely need to meet even stricter criteria. Indeed, many lenders will only consider buy-to-let mortgage applications if you’ve got a tier 1 or 2 visa, or if you’re seeking a joint mortgage where one applicant is a UK citizen. Speak to a broker if this is something you’d like to find out more about.

Ask a quick question

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects.

Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

Get in touch today

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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