Living abroad with UK debts

It can be daunting if you have debts that were taken out in a different country to where you’re currently living.

However, ignoring them is the worst thing you can do, and in most cases, you’ll still have to repay them.

If I move away from the UK, can creditors pursue me abroad?

The quick and simple answer to this is yes.

However, it can become much more complicated depending on your financial situation and how you’ve communicated with your creditors.

If you’ve been open with your move and have left a forwarding address for them, the creditors won’t pursue you as aggressively, but they’ll still contact you and expect repayments to be made.

However, if you’ve moved out of the country to specifically avoid your debt, creditors could order a County Court Judgment (CCJ) at your last known UK address. This stops your debt from becoming statute-barred, meaning that if you were to come back to the UK at any point, you’d still have to answer for your debt.

If you have a property you are named on in the UK as an asset, your creditor can apply for a Charging Order. When your creditor has a court order against you, they can apply for another court order that secures the debt against your home or other property you are named on. Other assets you may own in the UK could also be at risk of being seized against your debt.

There is a possibility that some creditors won’t pursue you for a debt in another country, but this isn’t a certainty, and there are other paths they may go down.

For example, if a creditor attempts to bankrupt you in the UK, bankruptcy is recognised across most European and international borders. This means that while you’d be bankrupt in one country, any assets you own where you’re living abroad could still be liable or the Official Receiver needs to be capitalised.

What if I live in the UK but have debts from other countries?

It depends on a lot of factors, like if they’re an EU-based creditor or not.

Creditors that are outside the UK can pass debts onto UK-based collection agencies for them to be collected in accordance with the laws here. The debt could be also passed to an agent of the creditor to be collected in line with that country’s laws too.

However, if either of these scenarios were to happen, you’d still have the available options that you would have if it were a debt based in the UK.