If you are a foreign national living in the UK on a Tier 2 visa – for skilled workers coming to the UK to take up employment – then you may want to buy a property, either on a temporary basis until you return to your home country, or as a permanent investment.
Many Tier 2 visa holders wonder whether they will be able to get a mortgage in the UK. The basic answer to that question is yes: your Tier 2 status will not in itself prevent you from being able to get a mortgage. However, different lenders will take different criteria into ac-count when considering a mortgage application from a foreign national with a Tier 2 visa addition to the normal affordability and credit assessments that lenders apply to all mortgage applications, lenders will usually take the following two factors into account when considering an application from a Tier 2 visa holder.
- How long you have been resident in the UK.
- How long you have left on your Tier 2 visa.
As a general rule of thumb, lenders will expect you to have been resident in the UK for at least two years – although some may look for three years’ UK residency. This is often the case both as a general eligibility criteria for the mortgage, and to ensure that the applicant has been in the UK long enough to build up a credible record of employment and credit history. Some lenders may also expect Tier 2 mortgage applicants to have a UK-held bank account and/or savings.
It’s common for lenders to expect a minimum length of time remaining before your Tier 2 visa expires – typically six months or one year. Lenders may also take into account whether you are expecting to allow your visa to expire, or if it is likely to be renewed as a matter of course due to ongoing employment as a skilled worker in the UK.
Foreign national mortgages and other Visa types
Mortgages for foreign nationals follow a similar pattern to those for with Tier 2 visas. Lenders typically expect the applicant to have been resident in the UK for at least two years, with a permanent job in the UK and a UK-held bank account. They will also usually expect foreign applicants to have either permanent residence rights in the UK, or an appropriate work permit.
Like Tier 2 visa holders, there is nothing to stop individuals resident in the UK with a Tier 1 visa applying for a mortgage. In fact, as Tier 1 visa holders typically have greater capital and may be looking to buy more expensive properties, this can potentially allow access to a wider range of lenders, including specialist lenders such as private banks. Tier 1 visa types include:
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa – for individuals who want to set up or run a business in the UK, with at least £50,000 investment funds to apply.
- Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa – for individuals endorsed by the Home Office as an emerging or recognised leader in a particular field.
- Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) – for graduates who have been officially endorsed (by either the Department for International Trade or a UK higher education institution) as having a genuine and credible business idea.
- Tier 1 (Investor) visa – for individuals with over £2,000,000 in investment funds to apply within the UK.
Foreign nationals who are in the UK on a Tier 5 visa – which includes charity workers, religious workers and government-authorised exchange workers – are considered temporary workers and therefore would not be likely to be accepted for a UK mortgage.