Buying a house in the UK
The UK is a superb destination for those who are looking to buy a residential property, whether you wish to live in the country or simply wish to invest.
If you are buying a house in the UK for the purposes of living in it, you must make sure that you are eligible to reside in the country.
While many countries offer foreign nationals the chance to become residents through purchasing property – such as the United Arab Emirates, Colombia, and Brazil – the UK does not. Buying a house in Britain does not grant you any form of immigration permission.
You may have ownership of a house based in the UK, but this does not give you any right to residency. In fact, your immigration status will remain the same.
There are, however, certain routes you may take to secure permanent residency.
Can I buy a house in the UK as a non-resident?
Absolutely – a number of non-residents and foreign nationals own property in the UK.
If you are a non-resident or foreign national, you are also able to apply for a mortgage in the UK – however, if you have not been resident in the UK for at least two years, you may be subjected to a larger deposit requirement.
If you intend to rent out your UK-based property as a non-resident, you will have to pay the same rate of tax on rental income as any other UK-based landlord.
You will also be subjected to the same property taxes and Capital Gains Tax as UK residents and will be required to pay the same stamp duty fees.
Do I get a visa if I buy a house in the UK?
As previously mentioned, buying a house in the UK as a non-resident does not permit you to live in the UK. This means you will not receive any form of immigration permission – such as a UK visa – for buying property in the UK.
Equally, you are not required to be a UK visa holder in order to buy property here. The two are treated as entirely unrelated.
If you are interested in acquiring permanent residency in the UK, there are a number of routes you may be eligible to take.
You can apply for a specific UK visa (depending on your eligibility and personal circumstances) and can subsequently apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain once you have met the qualifying period. We take a look at which visa routes you may consider if you wish to gain permanent residency in the UK.
Which UK visas can lead to permanent residency?
The time you spend residing in the UK under specific visas can be counted towards the qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
However, not all UK visas can lead to ILR.
Those that can include:
Can property investment lead to residency in the UK?
No, as previously mentioned buying or investing in UK property cannot be used to gain residency. The Investor Visa, however, is one way of gaining residency in the UK.
What is the Investor Visa?
The Investor Visa grants foreign nationals permission to reside in the UK for up to 3 years and 4 months if they make a minimum investment of £2 million into the UK’s economy. There is also the option to extend your stay when your Investor Visa is due to expire.
Qualifying investments under this route exclude property investment, however. Money must be invested into share capital/loan capital in active and trading registered companies in the UK, excluding those engaged in property investment, property management or property development.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to apply for an Investor Visa and must meet a number of other requirements.
This visa is ideal for those who wish to gain permanent residence in the UK as it allows the visa holder to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in just 2 years if they invest a minimum of £10 million. Typically, all other visa holders are required to live in the UK for at least 5 years prior to applying for ILR, so this route can act as a fast-track to permanent residence.
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