Updated: December 17, 2021

Foreign National Mortgages

Are you a foreign national looking for a mortgage in the UK? How can you satisfy the lending criteria? Our in-depth guide walks you through the whole process.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: December 17, 2021

Mortgages for foreign nationals can be a little more complicated than for British citizens, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fulfil your dream of buying your own home in the UK, becoming a landlord or even purchasing business premises.

If you’re looking for a foreign national mortgage, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you’ll learn what criteria you need to meet to get one, what types of mortgages are available and where to get the professional advice you need.

Eligibility for a foreign national mortgage

Different lenders have their own criteria for making decisions on who to lend to. When it comes to mortgages for foreign nationals – that’s anyone who doesn’t have a UK passport (or the right to have one) – the criteria will depend on which of the following three groups you fall into…

  1. You are a non-UK citizen with permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
  2. You are a non-UK resident or you don’t have permanent residency in the UK. This means you either don’t currently live in the UK or you don’t have permission to live in the UK indefinitely.
  3. You are an EU citizen. Until recently, getting a foreign national mortgage as an EU citizen was straightforward. Since Brexit, this has become a little more complex which is why using the services of a mortgage broker can make the process much easier.

How your residency/citizenship status affects your application

If you have permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain, you will usually be treated in the same way as a UK citizen when it comes to mortgage lending, as long as you have lived in the UK for at least two years, have a permanent job and a good credit history.

If you don’t have permanent residency, you may still be able to get a foreign national mortgage if you are in the UK on a visa. There are three main types of visa and the lender criteria may vary depending on the type you hold.

Skilled Worker Visa (replaced Tier 2 scheme)

The longer you have remaining on your visa, the greater chance you have of being successful on your mortgage application. Most lenders will require around 1-2 years remaining to consider your application.

Family visa

Family visas which include spouses and close blood relatives (parents and children) allow for a joint mortgage application but some lenders may limit the loan-to-value (LTV) if one spouse doesn’t have indefinite leave to remain.

EU citizen

Generally EU citizens are entitled to the same mortgages and lending options as UK citizens although this may change in the future.

Getting the right advice on how your visa may affect your application is essential. We can help you find a mortgage broker who specialises in your situation and can advise you on all of your options.

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How to prepare for your application

Here we have rounded up all of the documents and paperwork you’ll need to prepare before you get started on your application…

Documents you’ll need

Proof of identity:
Proof of address:
Bank account:
Proof of income:

You’ll need at least two forms of photographic ID documentation – usually a passport and a driver’s licence or national identity card.

You’ll need to provide at least two official documents such as utility bills and bank statements showing your address.

You must have a UK bank account that has been actively used for at least two years. If you are living and working in the UK, this will also make you more attractive to lenders, so make sure you have your salary paid into your UK bank account.

Lenders need to know that you have the means to keep up mortgage repayments so you’ll need to provide evidence of your annual income. Lenders may request some or all of the following…

  1. Payslips (if employed)
  2. Bank statements
  3. Certified business accounts (if self-employed)
  4. Employee contract
  5. Evidence of regular bonus payments
  6. Applicant’s CV

Proof of Deposit

You’ll need to provide evidence of your deposit by providing bank account statements or other paperwork showing that they have a legitimate origin. Foreign national applicants are often subjected to greater scrutiny here as some lenders will believe that the risks of money laundering and other types of fraud are higher.

Other Financial Information

To make a lending decision, mortgage providers will take into account any other financial commitments you have and your financial history to assess whether you are a good credit risk. Be prepared to supply information relating to:

  • Your income and regular expenses
  • Statements and outstanding balances for any personal loans, store cards, credit cards or other finance agreements
  • Any properties owned including mortgage costs, running costs and rental incomes.

If all of this seems overwhelming, you don’t have to struggle with this on your own. Speak to a qualified mortgage broker who is very familiar with all the requirements, can identify which lenders are most likely to accept your application and can manage the process so nothing gets overlooked.

What types of mortgages are available?

Foreign nationals in the UK are able to apply for the following types of mortgage…

Residential mortgages

Residential mortgages for foreign nationals are the easiest type of mortgage to get if you simply want to buy a home for you and your family to live in.

Buy-to-let mortgages

Some lenders will offer foreign nationals buy-to-let mortgages so you can buy property in the UK to rent out even if you are non-UK resident. It’s likely you will need a substantial deposit- around 20% for most lenders- to consider your application.

In addition, there are usually more stringent financial checks to assess the funding source and meet anti-money laundering regulations.

As it can be harder to find the right lender in these circumstances, you can short cut the process by talking to a broker who understands both your needs and the available lending options so they can work with you to approach the lender that has the best chance of success.

Commercial mortgages

It’s possible as a foreign national to get a UK commercial mortgage for purchasing business premises but taking specialist advice is vital to ensure you get the best deal for you and your company.

Finding the right mortgage lender

Unless you’re already very familiar with the UK mortgage lending market, finding the right lender for your foreign national mortgage can be a minefield. Making the mortgage application with all the correct documentation can be quite overwhelming.

This is where a mortgage broker can relieve your stress and ensure you find an affordable mortgage deal, saving you time and money. At Online Money Advisor, our goal is to introduce you to the perfect broker to meet your needs. We have a vast network of brokers, all vetted and trained by us and our service won’t cost you a penny, but it could save you thousands.

Call 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry and we’ll set up a free, no-obligation chat between you and a broker who specialises in foreign national mortgages today.

Ask a quick question

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.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

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 OMA of course!

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FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the 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 that 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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