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Image of the UK and Northern Ireland in a pale blue colour, SAM Conveyancing guide for mortgages for non-UK Citizens

Mortgage for Non-UK Citizen

10/01/2019
(Last Updated: 12/04/2024)
3,191
7 min read
Key Takeaways
  • You do not need to be a British citizen to buy a house or get approved for a mortgage
  • Top Tip: Get a strong traceable credit history to improve your chances of approval
  • This article relates to non-UK citizens, but if you are a non-UK resident read Mortgage for Non-UK resident

Do you need to be a British citizen to buy a house?

No, you don't need to be a British citizen to buy a house.

You can get a mortgage as a foreign national buying in the UK; you can buy via a joint mortgage

You should note, however, that you might be expected to present a higher deposit (typically 20% to 25% of the price of the property involved) than the standard 10% expected of UK citizens.

Mortgages for non-UK citizens are being granted with increasing regularity but different lenders have different policies on granting them.

You must demonstrate a long and traceable credit history to your lender.

New to mortgages? Check out The Mortgage Process to find out exactly how it works.

Non-UK citizen vs. Non-UK resident - what's the difference?

This article concerns people residing in the UK who aren't UK nationals (UK citizens). If you are not resident in the UK, read our article on mortgages for non-UK residents.



Non-UK citizen? Looking for a mortgage to buy a home?

Our independent mortgage brokers can give you the best chance of success in getting a mortgage offer. They can find the right product for you from more than 90 lenders and more than 20,000 mortgages. Your initial consultation is free*.


Free Consultation* | 100% Impartial Advice | Access to Whole Market

    1

    What criteria do you have to meet to get a mortgage for non-UK citizen?

The most important factor of all, is your traceable credit history: we discuss how you can best help yourself in this regard in the next section. All lenders expect you to be able to prove your identity, place of residence, your income and any other relevant assets.

As a non-UK citizen you are looked at in terms of whether you are a European Union (EU) national or not. Generally, if you are an EU citizen but permanently live in the UK, you can apply for a mortgage. However, since Brexit, some banks have begun to reject EU national applicants as they are deemed higher risk.


What type of non-UK citizen can get a mortgage?

Foreign nationals are defined as anyone who does not have the right to a UK passport, but as long as you have the right to live and work in the UK, you should have some mortgage options available to you.


EU National

The 3 standard criteria are:
    1

    You must have lived in the UK for at least 3 years

    2

    You must have a UK bank account.

    3

    You must have a permanent job in the UK.

Lenders may have additional criteria for you to satisfy.


Non-EU National

    1

    You must have lived in the UK for at least 3 years

    2

    You must have permanent right to remain in the UK or indefinite leave to remain or at least a valid UK work permit.

    3

    You must have a UK bank account.

    4

    You must have a permanent job in the UK.

Permanent residency (PR) or indefinite leave to remain (IR) counts for more than a valid work permit, but some lenders are happy to proceed with the latter.


What if you don't have PR or ILR?

You may still be able to apply for a mortgage in the UK even as a non-EU national as long as you have one of the following visas:

  • Tier 1 or Tier 2 Visa
  • Residence Card
  • Family of a Settled Person Visa
  • UK Ancestry Visa

These visas apply to both sole and joint applications, where one or both of you are from outside the UK/EU. You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you're due to start work in the UK and you should get a decision within 3 weeks.


Higher Deposits are often required

Lenders often expect to have a larger than normal deposit from non-UK citizens for mortgage applications, often 20% or 25% of the selling price of the property involved (compared to a standard 10% deposit normally expected from a UK national).


What has changed for EU citizens getting a UK mortgage since Brexit?

The fundamentals described in this article have remained largely the same. However, EU nationals are now deemed higher risk than when Britain remained a part of the single market. As such, it is crucial to follow the tips discussed in this article to maximise your chances of obtaining a mortgage offer.


    2

    How do you build up your credit history to get a non-UK mortgage?

A man filling out a mortgage for non-uk citizenapplication form with the help of SAM Conveyancing

You should first get your credit report - which will outline your official UK credit history - by applying online to either Equifax, CallCredit, or Experian. You'll then know how mortgage lenders look at you as a credit risk in the first instance.

You build up your credit history in the same way as if you were a UK citizen. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Get on the UK electoral register.
  • Get a credit card and use it responsibly, always paying off your credit before the end of the month and making any required payments.
  • Stay at the same address - the longer you stay in any one place, the better your credit standing becomes.
  • Have at least one utility bill in your name (and pay any bills related to it on time!) This also increases your standing as a responsible credit-worthy citizen.
  • Don't apply for too much credit at once; it's best if possible to leave 6 months between applications.
  • If you do get refused credit, don't apply for any more for at least 6 months so your score can recover.

This is a large topic all on its own; please read Improve your Credit Rating for a convenient summary and links to additional information.

Please also read our tips: 3 Things You can't have on your Bank Statement to find out what behaviour you must avoid to ensure your lender doesn't reject your application immediately.


    3

    Can you get a mortgage if you're a non-UK citizen and self-employed?

Yes, you can get a mortgage if you're a non-UK citizen and self-employed. Tell your broker at the beginning, as any lender will require as much proof as possible of your annual income first.

Please read Getting a Mortgage when Self-Employed to find out more about this topic.


    4

    How can you give yourself the best chance of success in your mortgage application?

You should apply for your mortgage in the UK using an independent specialist mortgage broker; they can 'do the hard work' and look through more than 20,000 mortgages from more than 90 lenders to find you the product that best suits your needs. They can best advise you about how to be successful in your application.


A man sat with a private lender reviewing his credit history report, brought together through SAM Conveyancing - Mortgage for non-uk citizen

Save a bigger deposit

A larger deposit will, at least in the eyes of mortgage lenders, make you less of a risk and lower your loan-to-value.

Consider a joint application

Applying for a mortgage together with a partner, spouse, or friend who holds a better credit score than you will increase the likelihood of approval. Mortgage lenders evaluate both the applicant's income and credit score.

Are you a Non-UK citizen? Looking for a mortgage to buy a home?

Our independent mortgage brokers can give you the best chance of success in getting a mortgage offer. They can find the right product for you from more than 90 lenders and more than 20,000 mortgages and your initial consultation is free.


Free Consultation* | 100% Impartial Advice | Access to Whole Market


Frequently Asked Questions
 
 
 
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.


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