Getting a Mortgage on Ancestry Visa
Lee and Neezam explain the process of getting a mortgage on an ancestry visa.
Podcast approved by The Openwork Partnership on 02/01/2024.
What is an ancestry visa?
An ancestry visa allows you to work in the UK if you come from overseas. More specifically, it’s where you have a relative who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Typically this means grandparents.
In short, it’s a visa that allows you to work in the UK if you have a relative – particularly a grandparent – that was born in the UK.
Can you get a mortgage on an ancestry visa in the UK?
Yes. But it’s heavily caveated – and we will go into some of the dos and don’ts and limitations. We’ll explain what you need to do and what deposit you need to get a mortgage, because a lot of lenders may say no to you. But there are definitely options.
Which lenders will accept these applications? What are the eligibility criteria for someone looking to get a mortgage on an ancestry visa?
It’s difficult for me to name any as there are quite a few, including a number of high street banks.
In terms of the criteria, there are a couple of key areas. It often depends on your time in the Uk, your level of income and what job you’re in. Typically it can also be influenced by the deposit you have available.
It is a bit of a minefield when looking at it on your own, but the good news is you can get an ancestry mortgage and some high street banks allow this.
What deposit do I need?
A lot of lenders will want you to contribute a deposit of around 25%. If you have 25% or more, often they will consider lending to you straight away.
But if you’re like most First Time Buyers, you probably have between five and 15% deposit. That will mean there are very limited options for you. But there are potentially some lenders depending on your income.
If you’re earning £100,000 or more some lenders will accept you as a borrower with a smaller deposit. But if your income falls beneath that, they would want you to have a 25% deposit.
There are other caveats, such as how long you’ve lived in the UK. If you’ve lived here for five years or more, for example, some lenders will lend to you with a 5% deposit. So the deposit question really can depend on your circumstances – how long you’ve been in the UK, the visa you’re on, how long you’ve got left on the visa and your income.
How much can I borrow on a mortgage if I have an ancestry visa?
Lenders have criteria and then they have affordability assessments. Generally speaking, if you pass their criteria, the way they calculate affordability will be very similar whether you’re a British National or on an ancestry visa.
Generally how much you borrow will depend on the lender and how they do their affordability assessment. They will look at your salary, whether you earn any bonuses or commission, and how long you’re borrowing that mortgage over – is it a short term or a 35-40 year mortgage?
How much you spend on a monthly basis is a factor too – do you have any financial commitments, loans, car finance, credit card balances and financial dependents? There’s lots they will look at to calculate how much you can borrow.
Can I get a mortgage without indefinite leave to remain if I have bad credit?
The short short answer is yes. Again, however, there are a lot of variables there around your own visa, the normal mortgage requirements and then there’s added pressure if you add bad credit to the mix.
I’m going to change the language around that as well – we’re talking about low credit scores, because a lot of people who have recently arrived in the UK might have little credit footprint.
If you’ve got bad credit due to missed payments or a low credit score it is possible to get a mortgage. But ultimately, it is more of a challenge. It might be that a high street bank or building society might not be able to accept you. We might need to go to a specialist lender.
Can I get a mortgage in the UK if I’m self-employed and on an ancestry visa?
Yes, although it depends on how you’re self employed. If you’re a sole trader, a partner in an LLP, a limited company director or you just own a 20% share of a business or more, you are considered self-employed by most lenders.
The way they calculate affordability is different from an employed person. They’re usually looking for a track record. If you’re on an ancestry visa and you’re self-employed you need to meet their general self-employed criteria. For most lenders that means having traded for two or three years in the UK and evidencing sustainability of income, using net profit or turnover.
It also depends on what your business does and the projected profits going forward. Sometimes you can get a mortgage if you’re on an ancestry visa, but if you’ve only been self-employed for 12 months then you are really limited – because you are fishing out of two very small pools. You need to find a lender that both accepts people on your visa and people with limited self employment history.
But don’t assume there isn’t going to be a lender for you. There may be. It may just be very limited and you might not be looking at the cheapest or lowest interest rates.
Can I get a Buy to Let mortgage in the UK if I have an ancestry visa?
There is certainly a theme here – yes, you can get a mortgage. If you’re looking to invest in the property market in the UK and you’ve recently arrived on a visa, it does come with some big challenges. We’re adding another obstacle to the enquiry.
Only a limited number of banks allow this and again it is subject to your income and the property you’re looking to buy. There are challenges there, but the short answer is yes you can.
How does remortgaging work with an ancestry visa?
Generally speaking, a remortgage is a fairly straightforward transaction, especially if you’re not borrowing any additional funds.
It will feel very similar to the process for a British National. You apply for a mortgage, you appoint a solicitor to carry out some legal work for you, then you redeem your current mortgage. Your solicitor will handle that side of things. They’ll make sure your current lender is aware that you’re not going to continue with them.
They’ll get a redemption statement and request mortgage funds from your new lender. Then they’ll transfer that across and they’ll update the Land Registry details. The process will be very similar even if you’re on an ancestry visa.
How do I get a mortgage in the UK if I have an ancestry visa? How can a mortgage broker help?
We’re here to give you advice. We’ve only shared some of the variables that are considered with a mortgage application here, and there are only certain lenders that consider visa applicants.
So, get advice from a mortgage broker that’s experienced with visa applicants. We can really pinpoint the banks that can help, based on how long you’ve been in the UK. We’ll explain what deposit you might need and how much you can borrow based on your salary.
If you’re not ready to get a mortgage just yet, we can put a plan in place to get you ready. We’ll get you on the property ladder or investing in your first Buy to Let.
Something we haven’t talked about is that if you are on a visa and you’re buying a property with a British citizen, it is considerably easier. Again, you are limited to certain lenders and banks, but it can be much simpler and can change some of the criteria that you need to meet.
For visa applicants and people who haven’t been in the UK for very long, you really need to see a mortgage adviser – it will save you a lot of stress and a lot of time.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate most Buy to Let Mortgages.
Podcast approved by The Openwork Partnership on 02/01/2024.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP WITH YOUR MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS