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based on what's best for you

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Debts if you live outside the UK

If you're currently living outside the UK but you're struggling with debts that you took out before leaving the country, we can help you get your situation back on track.

As long as your debts were taken out in the UK we can still give you free debt advice. We'll help you put together a realistic budget and give you a debt solution that's tailored to your situation. Even though you're living abroad, most of the solutions we offer are stil available depending on where you lived in the UK.

How can you help me if I live abroad?

Even though you live abroad, we can still offer you the support you need to help you become debt free.

  • Personalised debt adviceWe'll provide you with a budget and free debt advice that's tailored to your individual situation
  • Realistic debt solutionsWe'll give you advice on the solutions that are open to you and how these will work if you live abroad
  • On going help and supportWhatever your solution, we'll be available to help and support you. Whether this is over the phone, by email or through our OnlineDMP service

Putting a budget together

The first step in dealing with your debts is putting a realistic budget together. The most important things you need like your mortgage, rent, utility bills and food shopping will always come first. You can find out more about how important is to do this in our budgeting section.

So we can help you deal with your debts, we’ll need to complete your budget in Sterling, rather than Euros, or Dollars or any other currency.

To help you work out what your costs are in Sterling follow our 3 easy steps:

  • Work out what you spend on all of your household costs and write these figures down in the currency of the country you’re currently living in
  • Use a currency converter tool, like the one on the Oanda website, to change these figures from the original currency into Sterling. All you need to do is enter the amount you spend in each area and convert this from the currency you use into Sterling.
  • Make a note of what the costs are in Sterling and use these when you call us, so we can help you complete a budget. 

How can I deal with my debts if I live abroad?

Debt management plan (DMP)

If you've got money left over once you've paid your household costs we can set up a DMP completely free of charge.

This will help you to help you repay your UK debts. You can also include foreign debts on your DMP but the foreign company may charge an exchange rate if they have to convert the payment from Sterling.

You'll need to make your payment to us in Sterling.

Bankruptcy

You may be able to apply for bankruptcy if you've been living outside England or Wales for less than three years or your centre of main interest is in England or Wales. Your centre of main interest normally means the place you live or run a business.  

If you’re an English or Welsh national working abroad, for example a member of the armed services, you may be able to apply for bankruptcy in the High Court if you’ve been outside England or Wales for more than three years.  The court will decide if you’re eligible after reviewing your personal circumstances.

Debt relief order (DRO)

You may be able to apply for a debt relief order (DRO) if you’ve lived or run a business in England or Wales with the last three years.

You need to owe less than £15,000 and have very few assets to be eligible for a DRO.

A DRO will cost you £90, and although you don’t need to come back to the country to apply for it, you'll need to have someone in England or Wales pay the £90 for you as this has to be done at a Pay Zone outlet.

Token payment plan (TPP)

If you've got a reduced income but your situation is going to change we can help you make reduced payments through a token payment plan to your creditors until your situation improves. Just like a DMP you would need to make your payment to us in Sterling.

Individual voluntary arrangement

If you've been living outside England or Wales for less than 3 years and your centre of main interest is England or Wales you may be able apply for an IVA. Your centre of main interest normally means the place you live or run a business. Our insolvency practitioner will be able to review your individual circumstances to see if you are eligible.

Sequestration (Scottish bankruptcy)

You may be able to apply for sequestration (Scottish bankruptcy) if you've been living overseas for less than a year and your centre of main interest is in Scotland. Your centre of main interest normally means the place you live or run a business.  

Trust deed

A trust deed is a debt solution only available if your centre of main interest is in Scotland. You may be able apply for a trust deed and an insolvency practitioner will be able to review your individual circumstances to see if you are eligible.

What can my creditors do if I live abroad?

If you have UK debts your creditors can still collect these from you, even if you’re living abroad.   

If you have a debt with a bank or collection agency that has branches in countries other than the UK then they'll find it easier to collect the debt from you if you’re living abroad.  

Your creditor could start court action in the UK by applying for a county court judgment.

If you live in the European Union they can apply for a European Enforcement Order to collect the debt back from you. A European Enforcement Order lets them transfer the debt to a similar type of court in the country you’re living in, and then this court will then collect the money you owe.  

If you live outside the European Union, and the country you’re in has a reciprocal agreement with the UK, the creditor could apply to have the UK court order enforced in that country, using that country's legal system.

Why choose us?

With over 20 years’ experience, you can be confident that you’re getting the best possible advice.

  • Our advice is completely FREE. It’s based on what’s best for you, not what’s profitable for us.
  • Tailored advice.Whether you go to our online Debt Remedy tool or speak to one of our expert advisors, our advice will always be right for you.
 

Contact us

If you're contacting us from abroad

+44 113 297 0126 Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Sat 8am-4pm

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How clients feel after contacting StepChange Debt Charity

41% of people in debt wait a year before seeking help

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Helping you become debt free...

"I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt. They were a pillar of support to me." (Leslie, Essex)

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Foundation for Credit Counselling (trading as StepChange Debt Charity) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (Company No: 2757055 ) and a charity registered in England and Wales (Registered Charity No: 1016630). Registered office: Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG. Consumer Credit Counselling Service (Scotland) trading as StepChange Debt Charity Scotland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland (Company No: SC162719) and a charity registered in Scotland (Registered Charity No:SC024413). Registered office: 33 Bothwell Street, Glasgow G2 6NL. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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