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National Debtline

Advice you can trust

Dealing with debts

when you live outside the UK

This page gives basic information about your possible options if you have built up debts in the UK but now live in another country. There are also links to more detailed information on these options.

father and child piggyback

Golden rules

If you have previously lived in the UK and built up debts here but you now live in another country, National Debtline can still advise you.

There may be a range of different options that are available to you.

Most options have advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider carefully.

 

It is important to get advice that is tailored to your circumstances.

Contact us for advice from abroad on 0044 121 410 6200.

On this website, you can find a lot of information about completing your budget, how to contact creditors and options to deal with your debts.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy ends liability for most debts after one year.

You can only apply for bankruptcy in the UK if you meet certain criteria about where you live and work.

There are lots of extra factors to take into account when petitioning for bankruptcy if you live abroad.

For example, in some situations, foreign creditors may still be able to take action against you abroad after you go bankrupt in the UK.

 

Although bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, it is a serious option. It is essential to get further advice on the advantages and disadvantages before applying.

Find out more about bankruptcy in the UK.

Find about more about applying for bankruptcy in the UK if you live abroad.

Individual voluntary arrangements

An individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a legally binding agreement to pay back part of your debts over a set period (usually five years).
 
An IVA stops most creditors taking further action against you whilst you make the agreed payments.
 
You may need to sell assets that you own to raise money to pay your creditors.
You can only usually consider an IVA in the UK if you meet certain criteria about where you live or work.
 
National Debtline can help you to review your situation to see if an IVA may be a suitable option.
 

Debt management plans

If you have some surplus income to offer to your creditors, you could consider a debt management plan (DMP).

This involves an organisation negotiating with your creditors for you. Some will do this for free.

You may be able to include foreign debts in a DMP, although foreign creditors may charge you for converting payments between currencies.

If you enter into a debt management plan, it can make it more difficult to get further credit in the UK.

You may also find it difficult to get credit from a lender where you now live if they are also based in the UK.

Budgeting

Even if you live abroad, you can still use the advice on this website and our online tool Your budget.
 
This will help you to work out what you can afford to pay to your creditors.
 
However, you will need to make sure that you convert your figures into pounds sterling. Contact us for advice.

It is important to complete your budget using our guidelines. This is because you need to work out what you realistically have spare for your debts after paying your essential outgoings. This is called your surplus income.

Once you have worked out your surplus income, you can consider the options available to you.

Contact us for advice about how to complete your budget.

 

Negotiating with creditors

If you cannot afford the minimum payments on your debts, you could consider making reduced offers.

We have guidelines about how to negotiate with creditors and sample letters that may help you.

You can contact us for help as many times as you like for free, confidential and independent advice.

If you make reduced payments to your creditors, it can make it more difficult to get further credit in the UK.

You may also find it difficult to get credit from a lender where you now live if they are also based in the UK.

Find out more about credit reference agencies and credit reports in the UK.