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If you have debts which were taken out in a different country to the one you’re living in now, it may not be clear how to deal with them.
If you have any debts from another country, in most cases you’ll still need to deal with them.
Overseas creditors can still take action to collect a debt, including:
It’s possible that some creditors may decide not to pursue you for a debt in another country, but there’s no guarantee of this.
A creditor may be able to bankrupt you in their country. Bankruptcy is recognised across borders in most European countries, and many other countries across the world are signed up to international agreements where their courts or insolvency services will cooperate. This means you could be bankrupted in another country, but assets or property you own in your current home country could still be at risk.
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.
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:
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.