How long do you have to live in the UK
to get a mortgage?

Whether you have just moved to the UK, you have been in the country for a number of years, or you live elsewhere, you might be considering buying a UK property. Most people, when buying a property either as their home or for another purpose, need a mortgage to help them.  

The country that you live in can affect your eligibility for a mortgage, so you may be wondering whether you need to live in the UK for a certain amount of time to get a UK mortgage. This guide will help you to explore mortgages for expats and understand the rules around residency for most mortgage providers.

What Is an Expat Mortgage?

Expat mortgages can refer to mortgages for expats who are either UK citizens working overseas or non-UK citizens currently living and working in the UK. Many mortgage lenders offer mortgage products and assistance especially for expats, acknowledging that they often have special circumstances that can be difficult to navigate. 

This includes living outside of the UK, perhaps while having family in the UK, receiving income in a foreign currency, and having a lack of UK credit history. An expat mortgage might also refer to international mortgages for UK citizens who are living and working overseas.

How Do They Work?

An expat mortgage works in the same way that a normal mortgage does. However, there are usually some differences in requirements to be approved for an expat mortgage. Lenders might feel that there is more risk in lending to an expat, so they can be more stringent with their checks and rules for eligibility. 

Another option is for expats in the UK to aim for a standard residential mortgage, which they might be able to do after a number of years in the UK. However, because expats are often seen as higher risk borrowers, it can be more difficult to get a standard mortgage.

How Do You Get a UK Mortgage as an Expat?

If you are an expat looking for a UK mortgage, you can consider standard UK mortgages, as well as exploring mortgages that are designed specifically for expats. While it’s not essential to specifically look for a mortgage product designed for expats, it can be useful if you have had or expect you will have difficulty getting a standard mortgage. If you do choose to look at expat mortgages, you can expect to face somewhat different criteria.

Some of the difficulties that you might have as an expat looking for a mortgage include a lack of UK credit history, income from overseas, and perhaps even being self-employed if you are a contractor. When you want to find a mortgage as an expat, our online mortgage brokers can help you to find the most appropriate mortgage deal. They can suggest mortgage products that work for you, even if you have a lack of UK credit history, or your income is earned outside of the UK.

Getting a UK Mortgage While Living and Working Overseas

You might also want to consider getting a UK mortgage while living and working outside of the UK. There are a number of reasons you might want to do this, including having family in the UK, spending a significant amount of time in the country, or planning to move to the UK soon. 

It is possible to find a UK mortgage if you are living abroad, but it’s a specialist area. You should make sure you’re getting the right mortgage advice from brokers who can search the whole market for you and find the best lenders and mortgage products for your needs.

Mortgages and Your Credit History

In the UK, your credit history plays a strong role in your eligibility for a mortgage. Unfortunately, credit history generally doesn’t carry over from another country. In fact, in some countries, the same concept of credit history doesn’t even exist. 

When you arrive in the UK for the first time, or sometimes even if you have lived in the UK before but left for a significant amount of time, you will need to build your credit history from the start. Before doing this, your credit score and history won’t show lenders that you can be trusted.

There are various ways to build your credit history in the UK, and you can get started as soon as you arrive. Some simple things that you can do include opening a UK bank account and registering to vote. 

You can look for credit products that will help you to build your credit and are easier to apply for than a mortgage. These include things like credit cards and mobile phone contracts. You can also ensure you pay your bills on time, and set up direct debits, which will enable you to automatically pay your expenses.

How Long Do You Need to Live in the UK to Get a Mortgage?

The general rule is that you need to live in the UK for three years if you want to get a UK mortgage.

This gives you a three-year address history, which is the standard amount that is required to give you a reliable and traceable credit history. In fact, you might find that you find it difficult to access any credit before you have lived in the UK for three years. However, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible. 

You can still spend these three years keeping your credit history clean and building your credit score. Be sure not to keep applying for credit if you get rejected, as this can damage your credit score.

If you are from outside of the UK, be prepared to show evidence of your residency and nationality, your employment and income, and evidence of your address history. Of course, you will also be expected to have a deposit and the means to pay for any fees associated with buying a property in the UK.

WIS Mortgages helps you to find your ideal mortgage online. Our fully-qualified brokers can assist if you are an expat looking for the right mortgage.

As a mortgage is secured against your home or property, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up the mortgage repayments.