Last updated: May 06, 2024

Can I get a mortgage with a Tier 2 Visa? Mortgages for foreign doctors in the UK

Noemie Williams DipPFS
Mortgage & Protection Adviser at Mortgages for Doctors
family, mother, father inside a house

As the need for doctors and other medical professionals in the UK increases, we are seeing more and more foreign nationals coming to the UK to work and help support the NHS in various hospital trusts across the country. This may be as locum doctors in casual work, on training programmes or as junior doctors or consultants as employee for the NHS.

There are different entry routes to come and work in the UK and these have different eligibility criteria. There may also be implications of these when applying for a mortgage in the UK.

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?

If an individual has Indefinite Leave to Remain, they have the right to live, work and study here for as long as they like. It can also be used to apply to become a British citizen.

For those who are EU citizens, Swizz citizens or from Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (which form the European Economic Area), they may be able to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain via the EU Settlement Scheme.

EU Settlement Scheme

Following the UK's decision to leave the European Union, the EU Settlement Scheme was set up as a way for EU and Swiss citizens and those from the EEA to continue to reside lawfully in the UK. You needed to be resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 and the deadline for applying for the scheme was 30 June 2021. Those granted pre-settled status or settled status were deemed to have Indefinite Leave to Remain.

What is Pre-settled status?

Pre-settled status was a temporary form of residency for those who had lived in the UK for less than 5 years. Those who are granted pre-settled status have limited leave to remain in the UK for five years. With pre-settled status you can continue to live in the UK and work or study for a period of five years from the date you are granted your status. If you would like to remain living in the UK indefinitely, you would need to apply to switch to settled status after 5 years under the EU Settlement Scheme.

what is Settled status?

To be eligible for settled status, you would need to show you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years. There are some exceptions for time spent abroad so this requirement is met if you have lived in the UK for at least six months in every 12 month period within the 5 years. Once granted, you are entitled to remain living in the UK indefinitely.

What are the benefits of holding pre-settled or settled status?

Once granted either status, individuals can live, work and study in the UK with full access to NHS healthcare, most benefits and pensions. This includes the State Pension entitlement via National Insurance contributions.

If granted, individuals will also have the opportunity to bring family members to the UK to live with them - they do not have to be from the EU and can be from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, any children born in the UK to an individual who holds settled status, are automatically granted British citizenship. Children born to those with pre-settled status will automatically qualify for pre-settled status too.

Those who are granted pre-settled or settled status are issued with a certificate to verify their status.

More information on the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here.

Other Visas

For those who are not from the EU, Switzerland or the EEA, they will need a visa to enter and work in the UK. For a Doctor, this may be a Health and Care Worker visa or a Skilled Worker visa (formerly a Tier 2 visa).

These types of visa allow medical professionals to stay in the UK to do an eligible job which can include within the NHS. You would effectively be sponsored by an employer and must be receiving a minimum level of salary to support yourself. The visa is valid for 5 years but can be extended providing your continue to prove you meet the requirements and continue employment. Family members can also be included on the visa. There may be a requirement to prove you have personal savings too.

After 5 years, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain so you can settle in the UK permanently.

The Gov.UK website has full details of the eligibility requirements for the visa - you can click here to find out more.

Can I apply for a mortgage?

In short, yes!

For those with Indefinite Leave to Remain

All lenders have different criteria when it comes to agreeing a mortgage. However, for the majority of lenders, if we can prove an applicant has Indefinite Leave to Remain, they will be treated in the same way as British citizens and are subject to the same criteria.

It can help a case if you have proof of your residency and address for the last three years to help support the application but there are circumstances where this is not required.

For those with Indefinite Leave to Remain, they are not tied to one employer so we often see Doctors who have a salaried role and also do locum shifts to boost their income.

Locum work is variable and not guaranteed and each lender will have its own policy for locum work. You can find out more information here on how we can help a locum doctor get a mortgage.

If you are junior doctors, see our guide here to see what you need to be able to gain a mortgage.

stamp showing VISA on a page
Visa stamp

For those with a Visa

There are usually slightly different criteria for those working with a UK employer like the NHS with a visa.

Borrowing limits

The majority of lenders need a higher deposit from visa applicants as borrowing may be restricted to 75% of a property value.

Income Requirement

Some lenders will require applicants with a visa to have a minimum level of salary. This may be a salary of a minimum level for a single applicant or a slightly higher level of employment income for joint applicants.

In addition to this, there will be the usual requirements for verifying income

Credit History

When assessing risk, a lender will conduct a credit check on all applicants to ascertain if there are any issues with repayments on credit agreements and to show if there is a track history of keeping up with commitments.

This requirement can vary depending on the lender.

Source of deposit

Some lenders require applicants on a visa to use a deposit which is from their own savings only but some lenders will also accept deposits which are a gift from a family member.

How we can help

We speak to many foreign nationals living in the UK who are looking for a mortgage and have a track record of successful applications. If you would like to arrange a free initial chat with an adviser where we can share our knowledge, please book a consultation.

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