The best way to deal with overseas debts depends on your current situation and the money you have available after you’ve covered your essential living costs.
In most cases, you should be able to continue making payments to debts abroad, either at the full amount, or at a reduced amount if you can’t manage the regular payments.
Making the payments can be more difficult, and you may need to do this by transferring money from your bank account. This is done across borders using an IBAN transaction. There’s usually a fee to pay for this, and your bank will be able to give you more details.
In rare cases, you may find it difficult to make payments to some countries, for example because of international sanctions forbidding the transfer of cash.
If you can’t repay your debts in a reasonable time and you decide to go bankrupt, this may also cover debts abroad depending on the countries involved.
It might be tempting to stop paying a debt from overseas. Think very carefully about the possible consequences before you do this, and bear in mind that the creditor may still be able to take action to recover the money from you.
Getting help with debts abroad
If you have debts from another country, we can help. But as we can only advise you on the law in the UK, the help we can give you might be limited:
I live in the UK but I have debts from other countries
We can advise about the actions that your creditors can take to collect debts within the UK. We can’t advise you about the actions creditors from other countries could take outside the UK.
I have some debts from the UK, but I live in a different country
We may be able to help you, but this depends on whether:
- You've lived in UK at some point in the last three years
- All your debts were incurred in UK
And if one of points below applies to you:
- If you access your pay from a UK bank account which it's paid into
- You're living overseas temporarily and you intend to return to the UK in the next 12 months
We can advise you on the actions your creditors could take to collect debts within the UK, but not on the actions they can take in the country you’re now living.
I don’t live in the UK, and none of my debts are from the UK
In this situation, you need to contact an advice agency in the country you’re currently living. Unfortunately we can’t recommend any agencies outside the UK.
If you live in the UK, or if you have UK debts but you live elsewhere, call our debt advice teams (free from all landlines and mobiles). We'll give you expert tailored advice on how to get your situation back on track.