A guide to
Travelling Abroad With Debt

Guide Chapters


What Happens If I Move and Leave My Debts Behind


Moving and
Having Debt


Can I Go Bankrupt in The UK if I Move Abroad?


Can My Creditors Chase Me for Payment in Other Countries?


What if I Move Back to The UK & Leave Debts in Other Countries?

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

About 4 years ago I lived in the UK and was there on a student Visa. My visa expired and so I had to leave the country. When I left I had 2 mobile phone contracts and a credit card that had a balance of £1,200.

I now have the opportunity to return to the UK to continue my studies and I am worried what may happen.

Can I return to the UK, will I be arrested at the airport, will I still owe the accounts?

For debts alone you will not be stopped, detained or arrested at a UK airport.

Have you had any contact with those that you owe?

The accounts by now may have been written off, or sold to a collection agency.

When you return will you have the means to begin payments to the accounts?

If the accounts have been written off, it may be best to just let sleeping dogs lie. It is possible that a creditor may contact you later in time, but if you have had no contact from any of your creditors for a period of six years, the debts can become statute barred and no longer owed.

I left Australia 2 years ago and moved back to the UK. When I left Oz I had around 15,000 dollars worth of debts. I recently was contacted by a collection agency here in the UK saying I owed them £7,000 as they now hold one of the accounts I had in Oz.

Can this be right?

Unfortunately yes, if the account/debt was sold to a UK collection agency, they can now collect the account here in the UK, in accord with the rules and laws here in the UK.

You also are afforded the debt repayment options we have here in the UK, and our various insolvency options as well.

If you can afford to set-up a repayment plan, then that may be an option for you. If you cannot afford to pay anything and have other debts, and no assets, then looking at insolvency is an option as well.

I now live in Canada and had a property that I left in the UK. I had rented the property out and for the past few years all has been well. The tenants paid their rent and I paid my mortgage.

The tenants moved out 3 months ago and I have been struggling to find new tenants and to pay my mortgage. I am thinking of just letting the property be repossessed as I have no plans to live there again.

What will happen?

If you fail to pay your mortgage payments, the mortgage lender may bring repossession proceedings forward and repossess the property.

If they do this, the property will be sold and any proceeds from the sale applied to the mortgage loan.

If the proceeds from the sale do not completely pay off the mortgage loan, you will be responsible for the remaining balance. You may be able to make payments on this balance.

If you don’t pay the balance that is owed, the mortgage company may chase you for this. As to the authority they may have in Canada I cannot say, they probably on their own have no authority.

The lender here in the UK could sell or assign the debt out to a collection agency there in Canada to collect. If they were to do this, the debt could be collected there in Canada.

I left debts in the UK when I moved abroad over 10 years ago and have not heard anything from my creditors during this whole time. I read where the debts may be forgiven?

If a creditor has had no contact with you for a period of six (6) years, then a debt can be statute barred; which means it is no longer owed.

The question is, have the creditors attempted to contact you, but possibly at a previous address if they were never provided any updates to your details.

I ran into some troubles a few years back, got divorced, and just ran away from it all. I moved to South Africa and tried to start a new life there.

I returned to the UK last year and in applying for a credit card was rejected, so I looked at my credit history.

On my credit history it has the accounts I left behind and a CCJ for £2,000.

How can I have a CCJ if I was out of the country?

Just because you left the UK does not mean your creditors may not pursue you for a debt owed here. If they had no current details as to where you were living, they may just have pursued collecting the debt here in the UK, and in your absence they obtained a CCJ.

5 years ago I moved to Dubai as I was offered a job there. I worked there until last year when my Visa expired and my company there did not hire me back on. I had a car loan, 2 credit cards, and a bank loan to buy an apartment. Since I could not afford to pay these, and I had no job, I left Dubai and came back to England.

The banks there in Dubai have been very aggressive in trying to collect the loans, phoning me here in the UK, sending emails, I even received a phone call from a local collection firm demanding money.

I spoke to a friend of mine back in Dubai and he said a court case was filed against me and a police warrant was issued to arrest me.

Can I be arrested here in the UK, and can someone here collect a debt from Dubai?

It is unfortunate, but banks in Dubai and the lending system and collection process is very antiquated in Dubai. Many ex-pats go there to work as they can make good money, and it is a beautiful place to live.

Once living there they take out loans, and then if they lose their jobs, they lose their Visa to stay in the country, and must move.

And the banks in attempting to collect the accounts can use police warrants and in extreme situations threaten and possibly imprison someone.

Not pleasant by any stretch of the imagination.

However, the authority the banks have there in Dubai do not extend to the United Kingdom. So you cannot be arrested or jailed here in the UK. So no worries there.

Unfortunately though, if the banks there in Dubai have a clause in their contracts about jurisdiction for collecting the account, the account can be assigned to an agent here in the UK to be collected.

The account must then be collected using UK laws and rules, so as a debtor and the fact our courts here are more lenient, it is to our advantage.

The account may be collected here if assigned to a UK collection agency, but you will have at your disposal all the debt options and debt management tools we have here in the UK, and the debt collector here must abide by those.

I left the UK a few years ago and when I did I left some unpaid accounts. I am now in the process of applying for a Visa to return to the UK and am worried the unpaid accounts will stop my Visa from being approved.

To our knowledge and last time we researched, leaving unpaid accounts in the UK, or debts here does not affect being approved for a Visa here in the UK.

For citizenship there is a “good character” portion of the application, and does ask about outstanding court judgments and matters like this, but we still have not heard of anyone being denied citizenship due to owing money.

We also have not heard, or seen anywhere on any Visa applications where they ask about unpaid bills or debts.

There may be a financial section which questions how you will support yourself, or in the instance of a spousal Visa how will your spouse support you, but nothing on unpaid accounts.