We’ve had a couple of Expat related questions recently, but we thought we’d answer this one first from Hunter from the USA, who is moving to the UK to work for a British firm. He has asked; How do I get a Car Lease in the UK as an Expat?
Getting a car lease through the traditional means as an Expat coming to the UK, can prove extremely difficult. Many of the UK funders require you to have a credit history in the UK and over a good period of time.
Therefore, you would need to use a specialist Expat Car Lease company or broker to obtain finance or a credit line to get a car.
Arriving in the UK with no history at all can be daunting, but there are companies in the UK such as Car Leases for Expats, Cocoon Vehicles and ExpatRide who can help to get a car much easier.
They will require some information from you to begin, this can include a copy of your passport, a copy of your home country driving licence, proof of residency and proof of employment or income in the UK.
It isn’t always a good idea to go to a car dealer to get a car with finance or a lease, if you are an Expat.
Whilst many dealers have a panel of funders and finance companies they can approach, they will usually put your application into 3-5 different companies that could halt obtaining credit in the future.
However, if you are in talks with a specialist Expat Car Lease provider, it’s a good idea to visit a car dealer to sit in the cars offered before signing in.
Car Subscriptions is the new buzz word in the industry but is essentially a long term car hire or short term lease, packaged up with maintenance, roadside assistance, warranty and occasionally insurance.
In our experience, it can work out cheaper taking out an Expat Car Rental, Car Subscription or Expat Car Lease and sorting out your own fully comprehensive insurance. It is also worth taking out a 12-month policy, which can work out cheaper than a short term car insurance provider, even after paying early cancellation charges.
Car Subscription firms include the likes of Subscribe & Drive, Flexigo Cars and Cocoon Vehicles.
Yes, many banks have branches in the UK. And on the flip side, many UK banks have branches and affiliations abroad.
These can help you with a wealth of products and services such as setting up a UK bank account, mortgages and even finance, such as loans.
In most cases, yes you will need a UK bank account so that the Expat Car Lease company can take payments. But there are many firms that offer payment by credit or debit cards.
This is called a continuous payment authority and allows the Expat car lease firm to debit payments for rentals and charges when due.
If you are being employed by a UK firm, then it really might be essential to set up a UK bank.
If you have been living abroad, but originally from the UK, you may be in the same boat as foreigners coming into the UK with no history.
Breaks in UK credit can have a massive effect on your finances and obtaining any sort of credit or finance. You may need to use a specialist Expat Car Lease service until your credit score is up to the right level.
Many of the companies already mentioned including ExpatRide and Car Leases for Expats, will offer you a car lease or car rental based on your residency and employment details.
Some will even take you on even if you haven’t got a UK driving licence yet.
Depending on your country, you should be able to drive on a foreign licence in the UK for up to 185 days. At this point, you may be required to exchange your driving licence for a UK version.
You may just be able to transfer your driving licence, however, those from places such as the USA, you may be required to take a UK Driving test.
Many of the companies offering Expat Car Leasing are specialists in that sector and will have specialist underwriters to carry out the required checks in your home country.
Additional documents and employment references may be required.
Be very careful approaching companies that offer No Credit Check Car Leasing, especially those advertised on Instagram, as these can be fraudulent.
If you are using a reputable firm who specialises in Expat Car Leases, you should not have to pay a fee upfront to apply.
They may charge a documentation fee or arrangement fee, should you go ahead with a car lease.
More reading on Expat Car Leases
- 5 ways to get a car lease as an Expat in the UK – Medium.com
- Expat Car Leasing in the UK – STCL
- British Expats Forum
- 3 Things you nee to know when taking an Expat Car Lease – Medium.com