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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

Last updated: 8th April 2019 *

Can I get a mortgage with a visa?

We have lots of enquiries from customers who are struggling to get a mortgage as they do not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and are currently residing here as a holder of a visa.

This can make it difficult to find a lender who will accept applicants with a visa, as well as finding one who provides an interest rate and terms that work for you.

The good news is that the advisors we work with often arrange mortgages for clients with visas, and know the lenders across the UK who are more likely to approve you.

To give you all the information you need about getting a mortgage on a visa, we’ve created this guide which includes information on:

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

This may be possible, depending on the type of visa. Specifically for mortgages for visa holders, 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 with some lenders it can also help if you have been living and working in the UK for several years beforehand.

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. That’s why it’s important to speak to one of the experts we work with, who can guide you through the process.

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

Yes, there are lenders who are more likely to lend 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 of 25% is required and as well as this, 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.

Contact an advisor for more information.

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 visas differently depending on their criteria, so it can be helpful to check with a mortgage advisor before applying to avoid any rejections as well as application fees.

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

Visa Mortgage Available on Visa type?
Tier 1 Visa Mortgage Yes
Tier 2 Visa Mortgage Yes
Tier 5 Visa Mortgage Yes
Spousal Visa Mortgage Yes
Ancestry Visa Mortgage Yes
Work Visa Mortgage Yes
Student Visa Mortgage Yes

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 there to be at least 2.5 years left, although the type of visa and if the income from the visa holder are needed for the mortgage mean this isn’t always essential.
  • 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.
  • 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) if they have recently entered the country or have less than 2.5 years left on their current visa.

If you don’t meet the above criteria down to a tee, don’t panic. The advisors we work with have access to specialist 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.

As well as this, it also grants the visa holder the right to work in the UK.

For a lender, this eliminates the risk of the borrower having their visa declined and therefore also decreases the risk of them not being able to work any pay for their mortgage.

Therefore, if you meet the eligibility and affordability criteria of the lender you are applying with, then potentially yes, you could get a mortgage on a spouse visa.

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 possible as this allows the lender to consider both incomes.

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.

However,if you are finding it difficult to get a lender to approve your mortgage because of their visa policies, then it may be beneficial to apply with just your income.

This means that the lender would solely look at your income when calculating affordability but it could also mean that visa requirements for the second applicant are overlooked.

Some people find that this allows them to access better mortgage rates without the need take the mortgage in a single name.

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

Buy to Let mortgages in general can be more difficult to obtain as lenders view this type of mortgage as more risky. This is because the borrower (and future landlord) will need to depend on the income provided by tenants paying rent in order to pay their mortgage.

For experience landlords, who have a proven track record of being able to find tenants and pay their mortgage, there is 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.

Therefore, the requirements for a Buy to Let borrower can be more stringent, especially for a visa holder.

What are the requirements for a Buy to Let mortgage with a visa?

Depending on the lender, you may need to meet the following criteria:

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

There are specialist lenders who specifically deal with mortgages for Buy to Let customers on visas. It’s also important to know that even in instances where you might not meet all of 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. Talk to the advisors we work with here for more information.

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

The affordability checks for an applicant with or without a visa should be the same and therefore the amount you can borrow will be based on your income, outgoings, age and credit history.

Of course, every lender has different level of generosity as to how much they will lend. Most cap their lending at 4 x your annual income, whereas some will cap at 5, and a handful, in the right circumstances will even consider 6 x 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 ‘bad credit’ could suggest they have had issues with mismanaging their finances.

Because of this, some lenders will reduce the amount they are willing to lend and will ask for a higher deposit so the borrower owns more equity in the property.

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 as this can save you money on application fees and also prevent mortgage rejections on your credit file.

Make an enquiry to 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 negotiated successful visa mortgages previously 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 have no real experience.

This can unfortunately lead to misinformation and even result in borrowers being turned away for loans, simply because they have been advised incorrectly.

Talk to one of the advisors we work with here and they can put you in touch with a broker that’s had real experience with visa mortgages and is in the best position to help you.

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 an enquiry here.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances.  – We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Updated: 8th April 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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