Leasing A Car In The UK Without Being A Citizen – Is It Possible?

Here’s the short answer – yes, it most certainly is a possibility to lease a car in the UK without being a UK citizen! But, it’s not necessarily always a straightforward process. Don’t worry though, we’re about to give you the guidance you need to lease a car in the UK no matter how long you’re in the country for…

Why lease a car in the UK?

Vehicle leasing has seen an enormous surge in popularity over recent years, and it’s easy to see why. The fact is, leasing a car at this current point in time has an enormous array of benefits that for most people, UK citizen or not, far outweighs the positive elements of actually owning a car. This wasn’t always the case, but due to dramatic lifestyle changes and the enormous impacts that global events have had on each and every one of our lifestyles, leasing is more practical, more affordable, and more flexible – the three things that are a top priority when it comes to having access to a vehicle, particularly in the UK.

So, why lease a car in the UK if you’re not a UK citizen? Well, you may be travelling to the country for work purposes, remaining in the country for a prolonged period of time. This is an ideal situation for vehicle leasing. You might be surprised to know that even if you’re only in the UK for one month, leasing is also a fantastic transport solution. Regardless of the length of your work contract in the UK, leasing is incredibly useful when it comes to enabling you to get behind the wheel of a high-quality, reliable new car to get you from A to B.

Leasing enables you to avoid having to resort to things like relying on public transport, or even buying a cheap used vehicle to tide you over throughout the duration of your stay. Public transport comes with its own pros and cons, particularly when it comes to consistency and freedom, but with regards to buying a vehicle, it’s simply an impractical option in today’s world (particularly as an international citizen). Leasing does away with the ever-increasing list of negatives of purchasing a vehicle and replaces them with an intelligent, straightforward way to obtain reliable transportation without frustration.

The benefits of leasing

Aside from some of the things we’ve already spoken about above, there are plenty of other benefits to leasing a car in the UK too. For one, leasing can save you a lot of money when it comes to transportation, particularly in comparison to buying a car outright. UK vehicle leases typically include everything you need to drive legally and safely on UK roads, including things like maintenance, accident and breakdown cover, emergency assistance, road tax, a manufacturer warranty, and even insurance. These can often be costly when purchased/organised separately, whereas a lease enables you to get the most out of your money and have everything included, all under one monthly payment.

Then there’s the freedom. A short-term lease is going to be your best option for leasing a car whilst you’re in the UK, as you won’t be tied down with long-term contractual obligations like a conventional lease or vehicle purchase. This is essential, as a short-term lease enables you to end your contract at a time that’s most suitable for you. For example, a 28-day rolling lease contract gives you complete flexibility, as you simply renew your contract on a monthly basis, and you’re able to cancel at any time. You can even change your vehicle on a regular basis if you’re looking for something new and want to keep up to date with the latest models.

What to consider when applying for a UK vehicle lease contract as an international citizen…

Firstly, you’ll need to make sure that you have a UK bank account. This is vital when wanting to obtain a car lease, as lease contracts will generally involve some degree of credit history and affordability check. This is a standard procedure for most providers in almost every country, and the chances are you may require a UK bank account for the work you’re undertaking in the UK (depending on the situation), so this is usually easily covered.

Lease providers may also request a copy of your passport, your driving license, proof of address, and your current employment details to get you started on the process – just make sure to check with your lease provider to find out exactly what you need. It’s also worth noting that most providers will require you to have held your driving license for at least 12 months without any convictions of any kind. Failure to meet these criteria will usually impede your ability to lease a car with many vehicle lease providers in the UK. 

Is insurance a requirement for driving a lease car in the UK as an international citizen?

You will not be able to legally drive in the UK without valid insurance. However, many providers are able to include insurance as part of your lease agreement. If not, then you will have to take out insurance yourself, but be aware that it can be more expensive if you intend to seek out your own insurance policy, as international drivers are seen as a higher risk than UK drivers.

Can you drive in the UK with an international driving licence?

Yes, you can use your international driving licence for up to a year before you need to get a UK licence. If you hold a European licence or an exchangeable licence and intend to become a UK resident, you can swap it for a UK one once you have been a UK resident for 6 months. There is a small fee to cover the cost of the licence changeover.

So, there you have it, a guide to leasing in the UK if you are an international citizen. Although at first the thought of getting a vehicle lease in the UK may seem like a torturous task, it’s actually a lot more straightforward than you might think. We hope this guide has helped you and given some insight into what you need to get a flexible car lease in the UK.

Why are SUVs a popular lease car?

The Jeep Cherokee is often credited as the first SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) that was introduced to the UK market back in the 80’s.  Whilst it was welcomed, it wasn’t until the 90’s when we started to see the popularity of an SUV increase.  At the same time an SUV became the Motor of choice across Asia and America.

According to SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) based on the year-to-date data, by February 2022 of new car registrations; 5 out of the top 10 new car registrations were SUV, these were: –

  • Kia Sportage
  • Ford Puma
  • Vauxhall Mokka
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Volvo XC40

SUVs were initially built for off-road driving with 4×4 capabilities, however many built today whilst they can manoeuvre a limited amount of all-terrain, are mainly built for road driving with comfort, design, and style at the forefront with many offerings being 2WD.

Pros of driving an SUV

  • Versatility
  • Practicality
  • Spacious
  • Higher Driving Position
  • Towing Capacity
  • Protection
  • Winter Driving

An SUV meets the needs of many UK drivers, with busy family lifestyles especially for families with children.  The higher seating position makes placing the car seat in and out of the vehicle so much easier and practical. 

The larger cargo area allows enough space for the pushchair as well as bags of shopping offering high levels of versatility. 

A greater towing capacity makes camping and caravan trips more accessible. 

With a higher seating position drivers feel more secure and safe. 

Whilst an SUV is heavier and therefore likely to be able to handle better in deep snow or mud, they do need to be 4WD for superior traction helping to manoeuvre safely in these conditions.  Fitting winter tyres is usually not necessary in Britain as we don’t often get a great amount of snow.

Cons of driving an SUV

  • Fuel Consumption
  • Lack of aerodynamics affecting performance and fuel
  • Parking difficulties due to size
  • Increased Valet cost
  • Tyre wear and cost
  • Carbon Footprint

Manufacturers are always aware of what may deter customers from buying their product, so it’s no surprise to see that they’re beginning to be overcome some of the cons. 

With parking aids available and a choice to lease a smaller compact crossover making it easier to negotiate parking spaces and tight corners. 

We’ve witnessed the launch of fully electric SUVs combatting issues surrounding emissions to become carbon neutral, this also drives the benefit in kind taxation down for business car drivers. 

By improving the aerodynamics with the launch of SUV Coupe styles, it reduces drag in turn improves performance and fuel consumption, we’ve seen this in models such as the Audi Q8, Cupra Formentor and Mercedes GLC Coupe. 

We can still expect maintenance costs to be higher as typically an SUV is heavier which applies more pressure to the tyres and brakes.  In a regular Saloon or Hatchback style vehicle, tyres would need to be replaced around 30,000 miles, but tyres on an SUV will require attention at around the 20,000 miles marker. 

As a car lease agreement is usually around 2 to 5 years, depending on the length of contract you select and the annual mileage that you drive, you may need to factor in the additional maintenance cost.  Maintenance plans are available for a fixed monthly cost to help you budget throughout your lease agreement.

The SUV has become so popular that they’ve now introduced several categories within this segment, these are: –

  • Compact Crossover
  • Crossover
  • Mid-Sized
  • Full-Sized

With SUVs making up nearly 45% of the European new car market, it’s not surprising that an SUV is one of the most popular lease cars in the UK.

With the cost of fuel soaring globally, drivers will be looking towards a way to make savings where possible.  When we’re used to the benefits of SUV driving, searching for the best lease deals on cars has never been so important.

What are the benefits of leasing a car?

Picture the scene: your car has stopped working or simply no longer meets your needs, leading you to contemplate buying a new car. However, have you thought about possibly leasing your next car instead – a process also referred to as personal contract hire or PCH?

This measure would entail agreeing to pay a car manufacturer or finance company a fixed monthly price over a set period in order to keep using a particular car. At the end of the lease period, you would hand back the car. So, what major benefits could you get from this arrangement?

The choice of car models can be much better

If you’re looking for a new car right now, you probably want one noticeably better than the one you already have. Nonetheless, your finances could throw something of a spanner into the works there.

When you limit yourself strictly to car-buying options, your budget might only stretch to essentially a newer version of what you already have. However, as car-leasing companies have access to top-drawer deals from major dealerships, looking into leasing could enable you to choose from a wider range of cars. For example, if you want an electric car, you could pursue Tesla lease deals.

Improved reliability, features and technology are within reach 

When you lease a car rather than buy one, worries about your vehicle potentially breaking down at inopportune times can be a thing of the past. This is because, in leasing a car, you will be able to get hold of an all-new model that, naturally, is likely to be more reliable than a pre-owned one.

Getting a brand new car would also enable you to benefit from especially modern features and tech during your automobile journeys. So, a leased car can – compared to a bought one – prove more effective at things like synchronising with your smartphone and helping to prevent crashes.

You can avoid putting too many financial eggs in one basket

When you hit the road with a new car, its value will drop by 15-30%, says the Retail Motor Industry Federation – and, a year after you buy this car, it could end up with 40% less of its original value.

It’s hardly a wonder that the petrol-industrialist businessman J Paul Getty once advised: “If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it.” It’s a philosophy worth applying to getting your hands on a new car, enabling you to do so without committing too much of your hard-earned money to it.

Unexpected costs are also easier to avoid

When you sign up for a car-leasing deal, you can have a better idea of how your motoring costs will shape up over the next few years – as those expenses will all be accounted for in the deal.

Hence, you won’t have to fret about setting aside extra money for, say, a Road Fund licence and breakdown cover – and you could add a maintenance package to the deal, too. This would help you to avoid having to replace the likes of timing belts and air-con units during the lease period.

7 Reasons Why Used Car Leasing Makes Motoring Sense

We all know that motoring can be an expensive business, but there are many different ways that you can ease the burden on your pocket, and make sure you enjoy motoring for what it is. You want to lap up the joy of the open road, not worry about fuel and repair costs, or the residual value of your car. So in that sense, you probably already know that car leasing can be a more cost-effective option than buying a car, but have you considered used car leasing?

Used or pre-owned car leasing works exactly the same way as new car leasing, except for the car itself. Typically this will be an ex-lease vehicle that has had one previous user so it is likely to be between one to three years old and with only a few miles on the clock. You can certainly pick up a
bargain if you are looking for a used car leasing deal, so let us explain why it makes motoring sense.

Used car leasing is cheaper than new car leasing

The majority of a car’s depreciation occurs in the first 12 months of its life. A brand new car will rapidly lose value as soon as you drive it, and so if you come to lease a used car that is, say, two or three years old, it represents less risk to the car leasing company. Therefore, they can afford to lease it at a much cheaper rate than a brand new car.

The best cars are hand-picked for used car leasing

Car leasing companies will hand-pick their very best cars for used car leasing, because they have to offer a product that represents value for money. Used cars will also undergo rigorous health checks and servicing prior to being put on the lease market, so you can be assured that a used car made available for lease is in good condition and will provide you with good value motoring.

Available now

You are choosing to lease a car that is pre-owned, and hence there are no options to choose a new colour or order special in-car technology enhancements. The car is available how you see it, and hence, it is available straight away. Everyone can relate to the excitement of driving off in a new car, and used car leasing is the best way you can achieve that as quickly as possible.

Choose your terms to suit

As there is less value tied up in a used car the car leasing company can be more flexible with regards the term of the lease agreement. This means that you have more scope to choose the lease period that suits you; either longer or shorter in length.

You can also have more choice of mileage restrictions. It is possible the lease company will allow you a slightly higher mileage than for a new car, because the majority of the car’s depreciation has already taken place. You will also have more flexibility over the deposit you pay. This could be lower than normal as there is less value tied up in the car, so it carries less risk for the lease company.

Warranty is still valid

There is often a remaining period of warranty on a used car, and this can be transferred to you as the new user of the car. It always offers you peace of mind to have your motoring covered by a warranty, and it is possible that you can negotiate an extended warranty period with the lease company, or where no warranty is remaining you can agree a short period to cover you for the first six months of the lease, or a comparable period.

Maintenance included

Most used car leasing deals have service and maintenance packages included in the fixed monthly payment you make. This can save you money over the lease period, but is also a convenience, in that you know exactly what your regular motoring costs will be and can budget accordingly.

Shop around

With used cars there are many more variables that can differentiate one car from another in terms of value. This means there are more options if you want to shop around. If you want a specific mileage for an age of car, you are sure to find it somewhere, and probably with the colour and internal spec that you want. But if age is more important than mileage, and you really want some remaining warranty on the car, you will be able to find that too.

Used car leasing is really on the increase, and it means the pre-owned car market has had a new lease of life, so now is a great time to consider used car leasing for your motoring needs.

4 Things to consider before leasing your first car

Thinking about leasing a new car? Knowing what you are getting into financially is an important part of leasing a vehicle and so here are some top tips taken from CarLease UK who suggest customers should be sure you think about these 4 important things before leasing your new car online!

Budget Limitations…

Setting a budget for leasing a car is just like setting a budget for buying a new car. Knowing which car you can afford to lease is a very important part of leasing but, don’t be swayed by on screen prices, there are additional cost considerations to consider when taking out a lease car agreement… Find out more below!

Annual Mileage…

If you are a personal leasing customer then the process of working out how many miles you drive a year can involve a little maths and some averages. If you consider your daily commute, weekly obligations and family outings as well as any particular long distances you can always come up with an estimate, or you can use the Government MOT checking website to see how many miles you do each year between MOT tests. Take an average of these readings and then use this as your basis for leasing a car. Be sure you check out any over mileage penalties which may occur if you go over the agreed mileage.

Servicing, Insurance and Maintenance…

Once you know more about your annual mileage you can then start to think about the length of the lease car agreement and as such any servicing obligations and insurance premiums which you will have to pay on top of the monthly premiums.

Vehicle Practicality…

A car which is fit for purpose is by far the best vehicle which anyone could lease. Choosing between petrol or diesel, electric or hybrid, estate, saloon, SUV or 4×4, even convertibles and city cars can all become factors in choosing the right lease car for you, your families and lifestyle needs. Ultimately choosing the best lease car deal possible at a time in which you want your lease to begin can mean that some cars are more appealing than others when weighing up affordability and user-ship.

Leasing a car for the first time can sometimes involve playing with numbers and most importantly working out monthly budgets, for some people this can be a bit of confusing.