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How does "Help to Buy" work if I am a Tier 1 visa holder?

When it comes to putting down roots in the UK, the government's Help to Buy scheme is second to none. It offers first-time buyers access to funds to help them to buy their first property if they are struggling to reach the required deposit. What are your options if you want to buy a property through this scheme and you are on a Tier 1 visa?

If you look through the rules of the scheme, it seems that there is little evidence to prevent Tier 1 visa holders from applying. But if you read through internet forums you will find accounts from those Tier 1 visa holders who have not been able to secure funding. It seems that banks are taking it upon themselves to interpret the rules as they see it.

How does Help to Buy work?

The Help to Buy scheme was established by the British government as a means to help first- time buyers struggling to save a deposit with a subsidised method to access mortgages. Due to the high prices of property in the UK, it is often difficult for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder due to the large deposits required. Help to Buy allows the government to act as a guarantor. They lend you a portion of the equity in order to access preferential rates.

The scheme has been extremely successful as first-time buyers are able to take up the opportunity to buy their new-build home with an affordable loan at an attractive mortgage rate.

Are there any specialist companies who can offer Tier 1 visa holders a Help to Buy mortgage?

There are only a handful of high-street lenders able to offer Help to Buy mortgages. The government is strict over who can provide the mortgages as the government provides funds towards the scheme.

This situation may change in the future but at the current time, it is really going to be a case of speaking to the banks/building societies to see what they can do for you.

How do I find out which banks/building societies offer the scheme?

It is likely that you will need to speak to the banks and building societies on an individual basis to find out if they can help in your circumstances. The following banks are members of the scheme:

  • Barclays
  • Chorley Building Society
  • Cumbria Building Society
  • Leeds Building Society
  • Halifax
  • Natwest/RBS
  • Newbury Building Society
  • Santander
  • Teachers Building Society
  • Woolwich
  • Virgin Money
  • Post Office
  • Lloyds
  • HSBC

As you can see these are all mainstream lenders and none are specialists. Please note that this list may change regularly and it may be worth visiting the government website to see if anything has changed.

How we can help

If you're looking for advice on immigration matters such as visa applications then get in touch, our visa application specialists are on hand to help you with your queries. We can also discuss issues such as Help to Buy with you.

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