Mortgage on Spouse Visa
Lee and Neezam from Rebus explain how mortgages on a spouse visa work.
What is a spouse visa for those that aren’t really aware?
A spouse visa is also referred to as a partner or wife or husband visa, and it effectively enables a foreign national, whether it be your wife and husband, to join you and live in the UK.
The partner is usually a British citizen or a settled person in the UK. The visa effectively grants someone residency for a period of time.
Can someone in the UK on a spouse visa get a mortgage?
Yes, you can. The easy way to check that you’re eligible to get a mortgage is to speak to a good mortgage broker who knows that area of the market well. We have dealt with a lot of non-UK nationals or people on spouse visas. We have a really good understanding of which lenders will be available to you.
It’s all about understanding your circumstances and making sure that you’re approaching the right lender. If you decide to try and navigate the application process on your own, exploring different banks’ policies on this will take a lot of time.
As a general rule, if you’re on a spouse visa and you’re looking to get a mortgage in the UK, a lot of lenders will want you to have a bigger deposit. You’re deemed a higher risk borrower because you haven’t got settled status.
To offset that risk the lenders will ask for other things. They might ask you to contribute a 25% deposit, rather than the standard 5% or 10%. They might want you to have been in the UK for a period of two to six years.
It’s also important that you’ve got a fair bit of time left on your visa – that’s one of the things they will look for.
Are there any restrictions on property type?
There aren’t any sort of restrictions on which type of property you can buy, outside the usual criteria.
Admittedly, a Buy to Let property is probably more of a challenge on a visa – it’s not impossible but is a bit more difficult.
Can I get a joint UK mortgage if one applicant has a spousal visa?
In the majority of instances, if you’re getting a joint application for a mortgage and you’re on a spousal visa, you would be applying with your partner or spouse.
Perhaps they have settled status or they may be British. That generally makes things easier.
Equally, if you have a bigger deposit of 25% or more or if you’re earning a high income of more than £100,000 jointly or individually, that opens up more doors for you.
Applying on a spousal visa where the other person doesn’t have settled status can limit your options more.
Can I get a sole applicant’s mortgage if my partner has a spouse visa?
Yes, it’s absolutely possible. There are plenty of options there, although you might need to meet more criteria around income, deposit and time spent in the country. But you can get a mortgage as a sole applicant with a partner who’s on a spouse visa.
How much can I borrow with a spouse visa?
It won’t be much different to what you could borrow if you had settled status. Affordability is done mostly by lenders the same way for every customer. They will lend the same amounts to any customer as long as you meet the criteria.
The amount you can borrow is going to differ from lender to lender though. They all calculate affordability in their own way. They will look at how long you’ve been in the UK, your income and how that income is made up. That means how much is potentially non-guaranteed, like overtime, bonuses or commission.
They also look at your outgoings. They’ll want you to complete a full affordability assessment looking at your credit card balances, loan payments, car finance and any financial dependents. They consider the number of years the mortgage will run for, your credit score and whether you have missed any payments before.
Lenders use all that information to work out how much they’re willing to lend to you. The best way to get the most suitable deal is to speak with an advisor who can explore lenders across the market – it’s much easier than making appointments with each bank or building society.
How much deposit is needed for a spouse visa mortgage?
Normal rules don’t apply, and this is probably the biggest question with spouse visa applicants. The deposit can be as little as 5% or as high as 25%. It depends on your circumstances, such as how long your partner has been in the UK or if they’re a British citizen. It could also depend on how long you’ve been in the UK and your level of income.
Again this is where a mortgage advisor who’s experienced in visas will be able to help you.
How does bad credit affect getting a mortgage on a spouse visa?
If you’re on a spouse visa, your mortgage options are already limited. Not every lender will accept you, particularly if you don’t have a large deposit.
Having bad credit does make it a bit more difficult and it will be more of a challenge to find a mortgage lender that will take you on. It’s not impossible, though.
Ultimately it depends on the details. We normally ask all our clients for a copy of their credit report. We’ll run through that report with you to understand what’s causing your credit score to go down. Was it a life event such as losing a job or was it just bad money management?
With that understanding we can give you more of an idea. It’s not impossible, but bad credit can make it harder to get a mortgage.
Can I get a Buy to Let mortgage if I have a spouse visa?
You can – but it’s probably a bit more of a challenge than a residential loan. Again, see an independent mortgage broker because Buy to Let lenders have even more challenging criteria. They’re more flexible on how much you can borrow, but set tighter criteria in terms of residency status.
How does remortgaging work on a spouse visa?
Remortgaging as someone that is British versus someone on a spouse visa shouldn’t be any different. If you’re looking to raise additional money, there may be certain limits on how much, but that’s more about the lender’s criteria.
Lenders also appoint solicitors to carry out identity checks. Depending on how long you’ve been in the country and your credit footprint, they may ask you for more ID documents to verify your identity. That’s because they may not be able to process it electronically.
How can I improve my chances of obtaining a mortgage with a spouse visa?
Preparation is key on this. If you’re thinking about buying a home or remortgaging with your partner, make sure you have everything in line.
If you have visa documents, have them ready and check they are in date. With most spousal visas, most of the time the applicant hasn’t been in the UK for six years to build up a good UK credit footprint. So have a look at your credit report – it can help to do that with a mortgage advisor to understand it fully.
To improve it, get your name on utility bills and things like that. Having a UK bank account is important, too.
What’s the process to get a mortgage if I have a spouse visa?
You can either go directly to a bank or a building society and run through that application process with them, or you can speak with a mortgage broker. We will recommend a lender once they’ve understood your circumstances.
A broker will find a mortgage deal that is suitable and competitive for you.
How can a broker help with a mortgage on a spouse visa?
A mortgage advisor can help you at every stage, including getting the documents together and improving your credit score. We get a lot of enquiries from visa applicants and one important piece of advice we share is not to give up the first time you are told no.
It could be a bank or another mortgage advisor. We get calls from clients who have been told they needed a 25% deposit or their income was too low. We are successful with so many of those types of applicants. So if you’ve been told you can’t get a mortgage, don’t give up.
Speak with an independent mortgage broker because we have access to all options. More specifically, we have the experience and knowledge to find the right bank for you and your circumstances.
Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.
You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you remortgage.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up with your mortgage repayments.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate most Buy to Let Mortgages.