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i England, Wales and Northern Ireland

What is a DRO

What is a debt relief order (DRO)?

A DRO is a form of insolvency. It helps you to write off debts that you cannot pay in a reasonable amount of time.


A debt relief order (DRO) is only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Minimal asset process (MAP) bankruptcy is a similar solution in Scotland. It has different benefits, risks and fees.

Is a DRO suitable for you?

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Considering a DRO?

We can help with free, impartial debt advice online now.

Get debt help

Can I apply for a debt relief order?

You can apply for a DRO if you meet the following criteria:

  • You must live in England. Wales or Northern Ireland
    • Or have done business in one of these countries in the last three years
  • Your debts add up to less than £30,000 (£20,000 in Northern Ireland)
  • You are not a homeowner
  • Your assets are worth less than £2,000 (£1,000 in Northern Ireland)
    • You can own a vehicle worth up to £2,000 in addition to this
    • £1,000 in Northern Ireland
  • You have less than £75 a month left after all of your living costs
    • £50 in Northern Ireland

Read our guide to find out if you qualify for a DRO.

How does a DRO work?

You must apply for a DRO through an organisation approved by the Insolvency Service.

When your DRO is approved:

  • Payments to your debts are put on hold for 12 months
  • The people you owe cannot take any action to collect the debts during this time
  • Interest and charges can still be added

Debts included in the DRO are written off after 12 months if your situation is not better.

The people you owe can pursue the debt again if your DRO is cancelled during the 12 moths.

  • They can add interest and charges
  • You would need to think about other repayment options

Your DRO stays on your credit file for six years from the approval date.

How much does it cost to get a debt relief order?

England and Wales

There is no fee to apply for a DRO.

Northern Ireland

A DRO costs £90.

Pay the fee directly to the Insolvency Service.

You cannot submit your DRO application until the fee is paid.

Get free online DRO advice and support

Use our online debt advice service to find the best solution for you.