Buy-to-let mortgage as a foreign national

If you are a foreign national living in the UK there is every chance that you might want to buy property, either for yourself or for your family. The laws for buying property in the UK allow foreign nationals to buy property, so the only real potential stumbling block is getting a mortgage.

Once you have chosen your ideal area and found a property, the choice of mortgages available to you depends on two factors:

· Whether you are an EU citizen;

· How long you have lived and worked in the UK;

1. EU citizens

If you are an EU citizen then you will have a credit history which UK mortgage lenders can trace. This means that a lender can potentially give you a mortgage in the same way they would give a UK citizen a mortgage with no extra costs attached.

The requirements for this are the similar to that of a UK citizen. You must have been resident in the EU for three years and have a UK bank account. In addition you must be in permanent employment in the country.

2. Non-EU citizens

For investors outside of the EU looking to invest in property in the UK, the process is perhaps not as complicated as you might imagine. The requirements to be considered for a mortgage are more stringent and the process might be more complicated but it is far from impossible.

Residence is a key consideration. If you have been resident in the UK for at least two years, have a full UK work permit or have permanent residence rights then applying for a buy-to-let mortgage is fairly simple. To apply for permanent residence in the UK you must have been living in the country legally for at least five years along with fulfilling other requirements, which are listed here.

The requirements for a long term stay in the country are so that a credit history can be built up. This will be used to judge the risks of giving you a mortgage. it also helps if you have a permanent job in the UK as well as a UK bank account.

However you do not necessarily need to be living in the UK to get a buy-to-let mortgage and purchase UK property. The UK property market is one of the strongest asset classes in the world and it is no surprise that many foreigners are looking to invest. In response, some mortgage lenders have now started to offer mortgage finance to foreign nationals looking to finance a residential or commercial property investment.

This includes foreign nationals who have just a 20% deposit and live in a wide range of countries all over the world, foreign nationals who are first time buyers or landlords, self employed foreign nationals and foreign nationals who don’t have a UK bank account, among many others.

As with anyone, foreign nationals have to undergo money laundering checks as property is an accepted way that ordinary people can spend a huge amount of money without raising suspicions. Because of this, people looking to buy property must undergo checks on their identity and where the funds are coming from. These checks become even more stringent for non-EU citizens looking to invest in property in order to offset as much risk as possible for the lender.

Buying a property abroad is always a process which requires thought and a thorough knowledge of the laws in the country you wish to invest in. Understandably this could be seen as quite a daunting process and it is important to get the help of an expert mortgage advisor to help smooth the process and ease any worries you may have. It may not be effortless but investing in UK residential property or purpose built student accommodation is far from difficult and is well worth the time put into it as well as the money.

Disclaimer: As with all mortgages, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments.

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