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    If you’re a foreign national who has moved to the UK, you might be wondering about your rights to get a mortgage on a tier 2 skilled worker visa (or any other type of visa) that has granted you entry into the country.

    Understanding the concept of a ‘foreign national mortgage’ is crucial for foreign nationals, including those on a Tier 2 visa, as it encompasses the complexities and considerations unique to obtaining a mortgage in the UK under these circumstances.

    Before 2014, mortgage lenders used to demand at least two years of UK residency before considering mortgage applications from those with visas. However, this is changing rapidly, as many lenders are now cutting down or discarding this requirement. This is an ideal time to talk to an experienced mortgage advisor who can tailor advice and assist you in getting a mortgage, irrespective of the form your visa takes.

    Keep reading to learn how to obtain a Tier 2 Visa or Skilled Worker Visa Mortgage, and get in touch with our team if you have any questions after reading our guide.

    Understanding The Tiers of the UK Work Visa System

    The UK follows a points-based system for its work visas, with eligibility determined through a scoring system that considers factors such as age, English language proficiency, and requirements specific to the visa tiers the applicants aim for. This hierarchical procedure assists in controlling who enters the country regarding qualifications and skills.

    Breakdown of Visa Tiers

    • Tier 1—High-value migrants: This category is for highly skilled people, including entrepreneurs or those with exceptional ability. New applications are no longer possible for some sub-categories within Tier 1, but existing holders can still access mortgages.
    • Tier 2—Skilled workers: This category includes skilled professionals offered jobs in Britain, such as health and care workers, engineers, IT professionals, and teachers.
    • Tier 3 – Unskilled workers: This was designed for temporary unskilled labour but is not operational currently.
    • Tier 4—Adult students: This visa type applies to adults coming to Britain for university education. Getting a mortgage under this type of visa can be difficult and often requires consulting a specialist mortgage broker.
    • Tier 5 – Temporary workers: This comprises short-term job offers to individuals coming into Britain. These permits usually run for up to one year.

    The higher the tier number, the greater the applicant’s value to the UK; hence, Tier one is more valuable than any other tier categorisation.

    Other Kinds Of Visas And Extensions

    • UK family visa—Those visiting their relatives or planning to settle in Britain as British citizens or settled individuals, including those getting married to an indigenous person.
    • EEA Family permit– Meant for relatives of citizens who hail from EU Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
    • British National Overseas (BNO) visa – Introduced in January 2021 allowing Hong Kong BNO holders reside in UK over durations of between thirty months and five years.
    • UK visa extensions– This allows extending permits after completion for people who wish to remain longer as students or workers.

    Can I Get a Mortgage With a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)?

    A BRP is a card that contains personal and biometric information and also indicates the holder’s immigration status and any conditions of their stay. A BRP alone does not guarantee mortgage eligibility, despite stating whether one is settled or unsettled; applicants have to satisfy all lenders’ criteria. For those who meet these criteria, UK mortgages are often available to BRP holders.

    Mortgage eligibility for this tiered visa system and the accompanying documents play an important role in both approval rates and product types on offer. Negotiating mortgage applications can be complex and require specific financial advice especially for certain visa holders such as students on Tier 4 visas or Tier 5 temporary workers.

    Can I get a mortgage in the UK without indefinite leave to remain?

    If you have indefinite leave to remain, you have the right to live, study, and work in the UK for as long as you like.

    But what if you don’t have indefinite leave to remain? Can you still get a mortgage? The answer is yes, but you will have fewer mortgage options.

    Don’t worry, though. With the right help from a mortgage broker with extensive knowledge of the mortgage industry, it’s still possible to get an affordable mortgage loan. At YesCanDo Money, our specialist team has experience with skilled worker visa mortgages (and all other types of mortgages), so contact us for expert advice and support.

    Are the mortgage lending requirements different for Visa holders?

    Every UK mortgage applicant needs to meet the mortgage provider’s lending criteria. However, as these criteria are a little stricter for foreign nationals, getting a mortgage can sometimes be tricky.

    This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, however, as a mortgage broker with experience in foreign national mortgages (such as ourselves) can advise you on what you need to do to ensure mortgage approval.

    Lending requirements

    • You must have a minimum of 12 months left on your tier 2 visa unless your employer can confirm that your work permit will be renewed.
    • Most lenders expect you to have been in the UK for at least two years. This isn’t the case for every lender, as some will accept your mortgage application if you have been in the UK for less time while others will want you to have lived in the UK for longer.
    • The lender will carry out their usual credit checks when assessing your mortgage application. If you have a poor credit history, your application may be rejected or be ruled out of the best mortgage deals. There are specialist lenders who accept applicants with a bad credit history, but your mortgage chances will improve with a good credit score.
    • Most lenders will expect you to have a permanent employment contract in place, with several months’ payslips to prove your income.
    • You may need to pay a higher deposit with money from your resources (i.e. a deposit that hasn’t been gifted).
    • Affordability criteria can be stricter as some mortgage lenders have higher minimum income requirements for foreign nationals working in the UK. Sometimes, the minimum income required could be as high as £75,000.

    How to get a UK mortgage as a visa holder

    Regardless of the type of visa you hold, you are still eligible for a standard mortgage, so provided you meet the lender’s requirements, you can be on your way to home ownership.

    The following steps are advised to get a mortgage:

    • Get all of your documents together. You will need to evidence your visa status, employment, ID, and affordability, so make sure you have all of the necessary documents to hand, such as the appropriate work permit, utility bills, and bank statements, before you make your mortgage application.
    • Check your credit score. As we mentioned, lenders will check their applicant’s credit history before granting mortgage approval. If you notice a bad credit score after checking your credit report, it’s wise to improve your score before applying for a mortgage.
    • Speak to an expert fee free mortgage broker. You could go directly to a mortgage lender but as it can be tricky to get a mortgage as a foreign national, it’s wiser to speak to an experienced mortgage broker such as ourselves as we have access to the mortgage lenders that are likely to offer you the best deals.
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    Exploring UK Mortgage Eligibility by Visa Tier

    When considering purchasing property in the UK as a non-citizen, understanding how your visa tier may affect your mortgage options is crucial. Below is a table outlining the mortgage possibilities and suitability based on different visa tiers.

    Visa Tier Mortgage Possibility Suitable For
    Tier 1 Yes, if you already have a Tier 1 visa, 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 have at least a year left on your visa. Entrepreneurs, investors, and other high-value migrants
    Tier 2 Yes, getting a mortgage in the UK with a Tier 2 visa is possible. Lenders will assess applications based on credit checks, affordability criteria, and visa duration. Skilled workers with a job offer in the UK
    Tier 3 The Tier 3 visa category was designed for low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages. However, the UK government never opened this category and it is currently suspended. Therefore, it’s not applicable for a mortgage application. Not applicable as this category is currently suspended
    Tier 4 Yes, it is possible to get a mortgage in the UK with a Tier 4 visa, which is a student visa. However, only a few lenders offer mortgages to applicants with this visa. Approval typically requires at least two years of UK residency and a larger deposit. Students aged over 16 from outside the UK
    Tier 5 Tier 5 visas are for temporary workers and are usually issued for a maximum of 12 months. Given the temporary nature of this visa, it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to secure a mortgage. Temporary workers and youth mobility

    Which visas aren’t acceptable with mortgage lenders?

    Although lenders are becoming increasingly more accommodating foreign national mortgages, there are some instances where you are not likely to be eligible for a mortgage with a Visa.

    1. You are unlikely to be approved for a mortgage if you have a tier 5 visa as these are for temporary workers who only live in the UK for a short time.
    2. If you’re a refugee, you are also unlikely to be accepted for a mortgage unless you are granted a permanent right to reside.

    Which lenders will accept visa mortgage applications?

    There are quite a lot of mortgage lenders that accept applications from visa applicants, including some of the high street banks and building societies. They will accept visa applicants with a minimum deposit of 25% or 75% loan to value.

    There are some other lenders that accept visa applicants but their criteria is slightly different. Here is a table showcasing the lenders who updated their mortgage visa criteria in 2023/2024 to make it more flexible for foreign national mortgages.

    Lender Max LTV Residency Requirement Visa Types Accepted Additional Notes
    Accord Mortgages Up to 95% Joint applications accepted if one applicant is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain. Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa Increased inclusivity for foreign nationals, significantly benefiting first-time buyers and those remortgaging.
    NatWest 75%-95% UK residents only. Special conditions for foreign nationals. Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa, Settled/Pre-settled status LTV depends on residency status. Requires passport and visa/share code.
    Halifax Up to 95% Permanent residency required unless meeting specific criteria (5+ years in UK, high income, or LTV ≤75%). Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa, EEA Settled/Pre-settled status Easier terms for those with long UK residency or high income. Share code needed for proof.
    Barclays Up to 90% 2 years in UK Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa Suitable for property investment and home setup with lower deposits.
    Skipton Up to 85% EEA citizens need settled/pre-settled status via share code. Visa holders need 1 year UK residency, max 90% LTV. Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa, EEA Settled/Pre-settled status ID verification for international documents by Skipton’s team.
    Nottingham Up to 90% No minimum time or income in UK required Skilled Worker Visa, Health and Care Worker Visa, Tier 2 Visa Ideal for skilled or health workers with flexible residency requirements.
    GenH Up to 80% Minimum 2 years UK residency Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa, Skilled Worker Visa, Spousal Visa High income and good credit history required.
    Principality Up to 95% Reduced residency requirement to 2 years EEA, Non-EEA, Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa Beneficial for recent residents with good credit.
    Nationwide Up to 75% 3 year UK address history, 12 months visa validity required EUSS, Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa Strict on history and visa validity; flexible for EUSS participants.
    HSBC Up to 75% Less than 12 months in UK for non-residents Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa, High Skill Migrants Visa Targets recent UK arrivals with high income.

    These are just some of the lenders that accept mortgage applications from foreign nationals looking for a mortgage in the UK, but there are others. If you’re looking for a tier 2 visa mortgage (or any other type of mortgage), get in touch with our team and we will point you in the direction of those mortgage providers that are suited to your personal circumstances.

    Visa types granted in the UK from 2015 to 2023

    2022 has seen the biggest rise in people migrating to the UK since the end of the second world war. Mortgage lenders have been changing their mortgage criteria to accommodate the different types of Visas as well as making the mortgage process easier for Visa holders. Our team of fee-free expert mortgage advisors specialise in advice for tier 2 visa mortgages as well as completing the paperwork, submitting the mortgage application and supporting foreign nationals throughout the mortgage process.

    Over recent years we introduced WhatsApp to allow our clients including foreign national customers a more efficient line of communication. At YesCanDo we understand the importance of our clients being able to ask questions and to fully understand their mortgage journey. Some of our customers that do not speak fluent English have found WhatsApp and their chosen translation app allows them to communicate better than speaking on the phone. Since 2021 we have organised mortgages for foreign nationals from 51 different countries. – Steve Roberts

     

    YesCanDo Money – Visa Mortgage Experts

    If you’re looking to get a mortgage in the UK, be that with a skilled workers visa or tier 1 or tier 2 visa, or any other type of visa that has granted you entry into the country, our expert mortgage brokers can help.

    Contact us today to learn more about the mortgage options available to you and to receive expert support.

    At YesCanDo we have found WhatApp and have found this makes communication far easier for our clients when wanting a home loan. In 2023 we have helped 32 different nationalities to get a mortgage so have lots of experience in helping and making getting a mortgage as smooth and clear as possible.

    Frequently Asked Questions: Getting a mortgage with a Visa

    Our advisors have answered some of the most frequently asked questions on getting a mortgage with a visa.

    Yes, visa status can affect mortgage approval. Lenders consider visa type, remaining duration, credit history, and income when assessing mortgage applications.

    It is possible to get a buy-to-let mortgage, but mortgage eligibility is strict, and not many lenders offer these types of mortgages to foreign nationals. Your chances will be increased if you’re a tier 1 or tier 2 visa applicant or if you are looking to purchase a buy-to-let property using a joint mortgage where one applicant is a UK resident.

    To be eligible, you will need to:

    • Raise funds for a larger deposit
    • Prove you can attract tenants to your property
    • Prove the rent you are charging will cover the mortgage repayments
    • Show that you can make the mortgage payments if your rental property sits empty for a while

    Learn more about buy-to-let mortgages here

    Mortgage providers have different lending criteria, but generally speaking, the amount you will be eligible to borrow will be based on:

    • The amount of deposit you have saved up (the more money you can raise, the better)
    • Whether or not you have past credit issues (lenders are less willing to lend to applicants with a bad credit history)
    • How long you have lived in the UK
    • Your annual income (lenders offer multiples between 4.5 – 6 x your annual income)
    • The stability of your income

    The lender wants to ensure that you won’t get into financial difficulties after they lend to you, and they want to reduce risk to themselves, so the amount you are eligible to borrow may be affected. We can give you tailored advice based on your personal circumstances, so if you would like to know how much you may be able to borrow, get in touch with our specialist team.

    Be it a tier 2 visa mortgage (skilled worker visa mortgage) or a mortgage with any other type of visa, you will improve your mortgage chances if you:

    • Establish a reliable credit history when you’re in the UK
    • Open a UK bank account
    • Provide a larger deposit at the time of your mortgage application
    • Apply for a mortgage when you have at least a year left on your visa
    • Minimise the debt on your credit cards and personal loans
    • Seek mortgage advice from mortgage brokers with experience of skilled worker visas

    Suppose your credit score has been affected by County Court Judgements, bankruptcy, defaults, and Individual Voluntary Arrangements. In that case, it may be wise to wait until these have dropped off your credit report produced by external credit reference agencies before applying for a mortgage.

    Yes, Skilled Worker Visa holders (also known as Tier 2 Visas) can buy property in the United Kingdom. Mortgage approval depends on credit history, income, and the remaining duration of the visa.

    Yes, holders of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) can buy a house in the UK. Mortgage approval will depend on credit history, income, and visa status.

    Typically, lenders require a minimum of two years of UK residency to build a credit profile. However, this can vary between lenders, and in early 2024, we saw a trend from mortgage providers to reduce the minimum term.

    Yes, Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Tier 2 visa holders can buy property in the UK. Mortgage approval depends on credit history, income, and the remaining duration of the visa.

    Yes, Skilled Worker Visa holders can apply for a mortgage in the UK. Lenders will assess applications based on credit checks, affordability criteria, and visa duration.

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    Steve Roberts (MAQ )
    Steve Roberts (MAQ )

    Stephen Roberts the founder of YesCanDo Money, one of the UK's largest no-fee mortgage brokers. With over 30 years of mortgage experience, he has advised and helped thousands of first-time buyers buy their first home and home movers buy their dream home. Speak to a mortgage expert today by completing our contact form:

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