Good news! You can get a mortgage in the UK on a Tier 2 visa. Your mortgage eligibility doesn’t have a lot to do with where you were born. It’s much more dependent on your credit history, your income and expenses, and how long you’ve been in the UK.
You’ll have a Tier 2 residence visa if you’re a foreign national who has come to the UK as a skilled worker. And, depending on the length of your contract (and your personal circumstances), you might prefer to buy a home instead of renting, just like any other resident.
Here, we look at the ins and outs of getting a Tier 2 visa mortgage in the UK.
Tier 2 mortgage lenders: what do they want to know?
The process of getting a mortgage with a Tier 2 visa is pretty similar to any other mortgage application. Lenders will review your credit history, income and expenses. Their goal here is to decide whether you can reliably repay the mortgage loan before they let you borrow.
The difference for a Tier 2 visa mortgage is that they’ll also want to know a few things about your residency status, namely:
- How long you’ve been a resident in the UK
- The length of time left on your Tier 2 visa
Most lenders require at least two years of residency, while some will expect you to have lived in the UK for at least three years. The simple reason for this is that it gives you enough time to build a solid record of employment and a strong credit score – both things you’ll need to get your mortgage application accepted.
Note that some lenders will only accept mortgage applications from Tier 2 visa applicants if you already have a UK-based current account or savings account.
Can I still apply if my visa is about to run out? Or if I haven’t lived in the UK for two years?
Yes, you can! While you might have a smaller selection of lenders to choose from in these circumstances, some specialists will consider lending to applicants who have little time left on their visa, or who’ve only been working in the country for a short period.
The downside is that you may find that those mortgage deals aren’t quite as attractive. They might come with higher interest rates, and you may also need to put down a larger deposit (up to 25%). Working with a mortgage broker can help you find the best deal for your situation.
What information do you need to apply for a Tier 2 mortgage?
Here are the information and documents you’ll need to gather when you apply for a mortgage with a Tier 2 visa:
- Proof of ID and residency: your passport and residency card or visa.
- Proof of name and address: recent bank statements showing your name and address; council tax statement for the current year; utility bills from the last 3 months (water, broadband, gas and electricity are usually fine, but some lenders won’t accept a mobile phone bill).
- Proof of income: your payslips from the past 3 months. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need up to three years of tax returns and tax year overviews.
- Proof of expenditure: lenders will want to know about your monthly outgoings and any other debt you’re currently paying off. This includes things like credit cards, personal loans, car finance, hire purchase agreements and student loans.
Once they have that information, lenders will measure you up against their eligibility criteria. Every lender is different – some are super strict, others can be more lenient – but they’ll all base their final decision on a couple of key factors:
- Does lending to you represent a risk? To get an answer, the lender will consider your age, how long you’ve lived in the UK, your current employment status, whether you have any dependents and (most importantly) your ability to comfortably afford the mortgage repayments based on your income and outgoings (even if your situation changes).
- Do you have a good track record of making repayments? Secondly, lenders will check with the UK’s main credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to make sure you have a reliable credit history. They’re looking for evidence that you can make payments on time and in full.
Can you get a Tier 2 mortgage with a bad credit history?
If you’re in the UK on a Tier 2 visa and you have bad credit, you might think buying your own home is off the table. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. The process might be a bit trickier, but it’s not impossible.
It all depends on the context. A few missed bills over the years could pull your score down, but it probably won’t stop you from getting a mortgage. On the other hand, something more serious, like a County Court Judgement (CCJ) could limit your choice of lenders and deals.
But even with a CCJ on your file, you’ve still got a chance. Most credit reports show the last six years of financial history. If you’re patient and build up good credit in that time, you’ll improve your chances of getting a mortgage.
Learn how to improve your credit score here.
Do you need a Tier 2 visa to get a UK mortgage as a foreign national?
No, you don’t necessarily need a Tier 2 visa to get a mortgage in the UK. There are several types of UK work visas. No matter which one you have, the mortgage application process for foreign nationals usually follows the same path.
In general, lenders expect you to have been a resident in the country for at least two or three years, to be in permanent employment, and to have a UK bank account. If you can fulfil those conditions, you should be able to find a lender who’s flexible when it comes to the kind of visa you have.
Read more about how to get a mortgage as a foreign national.
Can you get a buy-to-let mortgage as a Tier 2 visa holder?
Yes, you can. Your Tier 2 visa won’t stop you from investing in a buy-to-let property, but this type of mortgage does come with some strict criteria.
Unlike a standard residential mortgage, you’ll need a larger deposit (usually 15% minimum, but some lenders will ask for 25%). You’ll also need to prove you can attract tenants for your property, that the rent you’re charging will cover the mortgage payments and that you can afford the repayments if your property sits empty between renters.
Learn more about buy-to-let mortgages here.
Need some help applying for a Tier 2 visa mortgage?
Your residency status won’t stop you from getting a mortgage in the UK. As they would for any other mortgage applicant, a lender will base their decision on their unique eligibility criteria – and that means looking at your income, outgoings, credit history, and more.
Getting expert advice from a mortgage broker (like Habito) can make your mortgage application much easier. And the best bit? It’s totally free. Get started here.