Generally, if you’re an EU citizen but live permanently in the UK, then you can still apply for a mortgage here. However, since Brexit, some banks have been refusing applications for EU nationals as they’re considered higher risk.
You might be asked to put down a bigger deposit or pay more interest. We don’t think that’s fair. In this Guide you’ll find what you need to know when getting a mortgage as an EU citizen.
In theory, the process for getting a mortgage as an EU national now Brexit’s happened shouldn’t be much different from that of a UK citizen. However, a lot of mortgage lenders are concerned about risk, and need you to have lived in the UK for at least three years before they’ll accept your application. Your chances of getting approved might improve if you’re making a joint application with a British national.
The reason it’s like this is because lenders want to see a UK credit history so they can judge how well you’ve managed your money in the past. If you don’t have three years of credit history in the UK, there’s things you can do to start building your credit file.
You’ll have a better chances of being accepted for a mortgage if you meet the following criteria:
You don’t have any ongoing or previous credit issues.
You’re employed or on a permanent contract.
You have a UK bank account and get your salary paid into it.
Have some sort of active credit account, like a mobile phone contract or credit card.
Have a decent-sized deposit - around 15% is ideal.
You’ve been in the UK for at least three months - 12 months if you’re self-employed or have any credit issues.
If you don’t tick these boxes, it’s a good idea to get advice from a specialist mortgage broker who can explain your options and help you find the best deal.
If you’ve lived in the UK for at least three years, have a permanent job and a UK bank account, the mortgage application process will be the same as if you were a UK citizen. You’ll need to pass all the usual checks like the credit check and affordability test.
Tips for getting accepted for a mortgage as an EU citizen:
Work on your UK credit file
The more positive stuff you can get added to your credit file, the better. The easiest and quickest thing you can do to start rebuilding your credit history is registering on the electoral roll. Make sure you’re registered to vote at your new UK address, and that all your personal information is correct.
Credit-builder cards, like the Aqua Card, are credit cards which are made for people who have no credit or bad credit. As their name suggests, they help you build up your credit and also to improve your credit score. With no credit history, lenders have no way of knowing if you’re trustworthy and will make your mortgage repayments. Credit-builder cards tend to come with low spending limits and a higher interest rate. Just make sure that you make your payments on time.
Paying bills on time will help to establish your credit score. You can take out an energy bill, internet, water bill or even a mobile phone contract. As long as these bills are paid on time, then you can build a good credit history.
Apply to a specialist mortgage lender
It’s a mortgage myth that you can only apply for a mortgage with your current bank, and you might not even have a UK bank yet. The mainstream lenders have really strict lending criteria, and may turn you down. It’s best to look for a specialist mortgage lender. Specialist lenders don’t have such strict lending criteria, and specialise in offering more bespoke mortgages, often underwritten especially for you and your specific situation.
Specialist lenders consider people on a case-by-case basis. They have in-depth knowledge of getting mortgages for people in circumstances like yours.
Quite often, specialist lenders aren’t the big names you know like the mainstream highstreet banks. And sometimes, they’re not available directly to a borrower, they’re only available through specialist mortgage brokers, or an intermediary, like us!
This is because their businesses just aren’t set up the same as the big banks. So they can’t deal with the volume of customers in the same way. But it means they can be more specialised, and offer a more tailored mortgage product for your unique situation.
Use a specialist mortgage broker
Getting a mortgage when you’re not a British citizen can be difficult. A lot of big banks and high street lenders will refuse you if you don’t fit the typical UK mortgage applicant mould. We don’t think that’s fair. So we developed a solution.
The brokers we work with live and breath the mortgage market, and have helped many people in the same situation to secure a mortgage at the right rate. Our brokers know which lenders are most likely to accept you, and will be able to make your application look as good as possible. If you’re an expat returning to the UK and need a mortgage, make an enquiry to get matched to an advisor.
50% of mortgages for people who are self-employed or have bad credit aren’t available directly to you. They’re only available through specialist brokers. Using our platform guarantees you’ll be matched with a broker who has a proven track record of making mortgages possible for people like you. Less processing, more understanding.
Our calculators give you an idea of what you might be able to borrow, what's affordable and a rough estimate of the kind of property prices you can start to look at.