Debts Abroad & Returning Back To The UK

What Can Happen When You Have Debts in Other Countries and Return to The UK

There are many things that have changed over the years, and one is how easy it is to travel from one end of the globe to another.

And while immigration is one of the orders of the day, meaning who do we let into our country and who do we keep out of ours and other countries, people are still travelling and moving to other countries.

In part we can blame the wanderlust that many of us experience in life.  And we can also in part not blame, but thank the airline industry as they have made it easier and easier to travel to just about anywhere on the planet you can imagine.

As for leaving the UK, it may beg the question, why would one want to leave our “green and pleasant land”.

A few answers spring to mind, one being the weather.  The other being work, a job; jobs are being offered to people in one country to move to another country daily.  And some of these jobs are lucrative!

Imagine being offered a job paying what may be the equivalent of £100,000 pounds or more for a job in Dubai; Dubai which is a wealthy city, a beautiful city, with warm weather, and as we will find out later, very harsh and antiquated banking and debt collection procedures.

However, when we are considering moving abroad, either to the EU, Australia, America, the UAE, or Dubai, the last thing we are going to research when looking into such a move is how they collect debts.

We may question about banking, as we will need a bank account, but our minds are not going to go down a negative path such as bill collectors when we are riding the high of relocating to a new and exciting country.

And so it is the same wherever you may choose to light oneself down in the world, in as much things change, they stay the same.  Meaning no matter where we may go to work and live, in other countries, we can find ourselves in debt.

Not necessarily bad debt, or over-extended debt, just the day-to-day type of accounts, loans, credit cards, car finance, and mortgages, we would find ourselves in, even if we had never left the UK.

Different countries have different banking laws and regulations.  Countries also have different credit reporting bureaus or reporting systems.  Just because you have a great credit score or good credit here in the UK, does not mean you have good credit in another country.

A credit score here in the UK does not travel with you around the world.

So an example may be that you are offered a job in Dubai, or America, or even Australia, you may need a car there, so you may need to finance a car.  Then you need to go to a bank there and get a loan, unless you have the cash to pay for the car, which many of us do not have.

So off to Mr. Banker you go for a car loan or car finance.

Based on your new well paying job, you may very well receive the loan.  So there you are, now with a car payment each month.  But you can afford it with your new well paying job.

Credit cards are different, different in the sense that you can use a UK credit card in most other countries.  The issue may be you are charged a fee, sometimes 2.5% of the purchase, as it is not in sterling; the purchase is in another currency.

So what to do to avoid those transaction fees, apply for a credit card in the country you are now working and residing in.

So now you have a car loan, and a credit card, two new accounts, in a new country, under different banking laws.

This may be in addition to any credit cards, loans or a mortgage you left behind in the UK.


This Guide

This guide is to help those who return to the UK, and have debts in other countries that they may have left behind.  The guide also helps those with debts in other countries, and also may have debts still based here in the UK.

What we will look at in this guide is the following:

  • Moving and working in other countries.
  • Moving back to the UK with debts in other countries.
  • Can debts from other countries be collected in the UK, what are the rules and laws.
  • What options are available to those with debts abroad, and/or in the UK.
  • Threats used by collection agencies outside the UK to collect a debt.
  • Possible changes with debts abroad due to the Brexit.

As you can see, we are going to be covering a lot of material, and you’d be surprised at how many people these questions and issues pertain to.  As more and more of us move around the world, more and more of these questions and issues present themselves.


Onto Chapter One: Travel Requirements to Other Countries

Travel Requirements to Other Countries

When spinning a globe, and then stopping it with our finger to point to where we wish to live, there is one thing we need to most definitely keep in mind, are we allowed to travel there, let alone live there.

For the most part as a citizen of the UK, there are not many places in the world we cannot go, there may be places we would chose not to live, but the “world is our lobster”, so to speak.

While for now we have unrestricted access to EU countries and can travel and/or live there, this is not always the case.  In some instances we need special permission, which means obtaining a Visa.

Not so much for holidays abroad, or to travel here and there, but if you wish to go work and live in another country, outside the EU, in most instances you will be required to have a Visa in order to do so.

One thing you will find in researching moving to live in another country, not only do many countries require a Visa, but you need a job in order to obtain that Visa.

Oh yes, there are spouse Visa’s, and the requirements for these can vary from country to country, but for the majority of those wishing to move to another country they will need a job.  It will be the job, and/or their employer that aids in getting the Visa which will allow them to live and work in that country.

The UK is one country where entry can depend on having a work Visa, as the government does not want to see UK nationals lose jobs to those entering from other non-EU countries.


America – The Colonies

Even if you just want to go visit the United States on holiday you are now required to have a sort of Visa, an ESTA form completed and approved.

And this is just to visit; not to stay, live and work there.  That requires another form of Visa.

As you can see it gets complicated.

And it may get more complicated once we leave the EU due to the Brexit.  Many things may change, such as travel, debt and insolvency issues, jobs, etc, it all needs to be sorted out.  More on this later.


EU Visa

As stated, and as many of us know, for now UK citizens are not required a Visa of any sort to visit, holiday, or work and live in the EU.

However, the EU is considering a similar form of Visa like the travel one (ESTA) the US has for non-EU nationals down the line.

This form of travel Visa would do for the EU what the same does for the US:

  • Generate revenue
  • Aid in knowing the number of those entering the country

As to if this will occur, only time will tell.



But as we can see, the majority of countries a UK citizen may wish to live and work in require some form of Visa, and as stated, that Visa can be dependent on a job.

As mentioned in our introduction, if you are working and living for a period of time in another country, the chances are high you will open a bank account, and with that maybe an overdraft, maybe a credit card, and possibly a car loan, and if we are feeling really good about our job and where we are living, we may wish to stay there indefinitely and so we may buy a property; which may necessitate the need for a mortgage.

Which is more debt.

And as mentioned, our Visa to stay and work in that country can be tied in with our jobs, should we lose our jobs (for whatever reason), unless we can procure other means to stay, such as another Visa, be it a spouse Visa or another job Visa, as many are non-transferable, we may then need to leave the country.

It may be we had a three (3) year work Visa to stay in a country and it has expired.  Once again forcing us to make the decision as to where to move to.

In most instances, that place to move to is back to the UK, as that is where we are from.

Now let’s look at travelling and having debts in other countries outside the UK in Chapter Two.


Travelling With Debts and Can I Really Leave Debts Behind 

The first question that someone asks if they lose their Visa to stay in another country and have debt(s) there, and wish to move back to the UK is, “can I travel?”  Will I be stopped at the airport or somewhere along the way if I leave the country.

The answer in 90% of instances is NO.  You will not be stopped for debts alone, and you can travel.

Being in debt is not a crime, in most countries, and even in those where it is a crime, there is a window of time to travel, and it can be a big window of time.

In addition, unless your debt(s) stem from a criminal act, being in debt is not a crime, nor one you would be stopped for travelling or leaving a country.

And you may not even be moving back to the UK due to loss of a job or Visa, perhaps there is a family issue you need to attend to, which may cause you to stay back in the UK.  So you just travel back to the UK, with or without the intentions of returning to this other country.

This is not an issue for travel either.

Some examples of when a debt may be considered a crime or part of a crime could be:

  • Fraud
  • Tax evasion in some countries
  • Knowingly hiding assets or funds
  • Fines for a criminal offence

As you can see, there is not a lot of ways being in debt can be seen or viewed as a crime.

But again, there are not many countries where just being in debt is a crime, of which we will discuss more of this in a later chapter.  However, with that little tid-bit being floated about, even in a country where being in a debt maybe a crime, there are options and time to execute these options.


Leaving the UK With Debts Behind

While on the subject of leaving other countries whilst still owing accounts, we may as well look close to home, here in the UK.

We are often asked, if I owe debts in the UK can I:

  • Leave the UK?
  • Will they confisgate my passport as I leave?
  • Will I be detained in anyway?

The answers to these questions are in the majority of instances:

  • Yes, you can leave the UK with no issues.
  • Your passport will not be taken off of you.
  • You will not be detained in anyway.

This is due to the fact that for debt alone you will not be stopped.

There had been an issue a few years back of those people that owed TV licence fines being detained  at airports as they were to leave for holiday, in order to get them to pay those fines, however that has since faded into the background.

So for the most part, travelling with debts is not an issue.

However, we cannot discuss travelling and owing debts, without mentioning Dubai.


One Harsh Example:  Dubai

Dubai is a beautiful place, and one place many British citizens like to visit, and work in.

As with many other countries, you can visit, but to live there you need a Visa; which usually is tied in with your job.  Your employer there in Dubai would get you a Visa, and the Visa is usually a work Visa.  As long as you have your job, for the time stated, you have a Visa to stay in the country.

So many ex-pats go to Dubai, get a job, work and live there, and also take out loans; loans for cars, credit cards, etc.

If for any reason you lose your job, through redundancy or whatever, you now have lost your Visa to stay in the country.

So you may default on any loans you have there.

And the collection of debts in Dubai is/were quite harsh, meaning jail time for some.

There are new options for people, but only if they are UAE residents.

For others who may have debt in Dubai, and are not living in the UAE, and cannot pay those debts, it is best to just leave the country.

There are many expensive cars just abandoned at Dubai’s airport as people who can no longer afford them have to flee the country to avoid imprisonment.

It sounds odd, but yes, flee the country.

The banks can get a warrant for someone’s arrest and have them jailed for a debt.  This is in part due to the banking system and how you repay debts.  Loans are repaid by cheques that are set-up sort of like a direct debit.

If one of the cheques bounce, as there are insufficient funds, it is considered a crime.  So best to leave the country.

As for returning to Dubai, you would first want to query if there has been a warrant issued, and possibly just avoid the area in general just to be sure.

The laws are changing and becoming less harsh, but best not to take a chance.

Moving on now, let’s look at Chapter 3, which gets into the nitty gritty of it all, returning home to the UK, and being chased for debts while in the UK for debts originated abroad.


Home Sweet Home:  Being Chased in The UK for Debts Originated Outside the UK

So from our previous chapters we know this:

  • Debts from a UK citizen can be originated in other countries.
  • For the most part, there are no travel bans, so if a person’s Visa and right to stay in a country changes or expires, they can return to the UK, even with debt(s) in the other country.

So there you are, back home in the UK, making an attempt at beginning your life again, maybe moving back into your old property you had rented whist away, maybe living with family or friends, or maybe finding a new job and a new part of the country (UK) to live in.

You know you owe money out there in the world, and you may have even made payments for a period of time until what funds you had ran out. But what else can you do, what more can the banks there in other countries do???

The opposite could occur as well, you lost your job, your Visa, moved back to the UK, you have no money whatsoever for payments, and just figure, that loan was in another part of the world, and that is where that account or debt will stay, in that part of the world.


The Phone Call or Letter

Let’s set the scene:

There you are back here in the UK, it may have been a few months, it may have been many years since you returned, and you have moved on with your life.  It almost seems like another lifetime ago you lived in (insert country here).

It was a good experience moving out of the UK initially, but coming back home felt great.

You knew you had left some accounts you owed behind, but you have not heard anything for years.

Then, out of the blue, you receive a phone call, or a notice in the post from the original bank, or possibly from a solicitor or collection firm here in the UK.

Coyle White Devine, or CWD, seem to be one of the larger collection agents for debts originated outside the UK, especially those originated in Dubai.

Your first thought may be, how did they find me????

That is a common question, and the only way to answer it is, they did find you.

It is rare the person who can live completely “off the grid” or under the radar.

Banks and collection agencies have “skip tracing” means to locate people.  You may have even kept in contact with the original bank and made payments of what you could, thinking the bank will leave you alone, I mean, they are half way around the world from me.  Surely it will cost them more to try and collect the account than what it is worth.

Think again my friend.

Once an account falls into arrears or has been defaulted on, naturally the lender is going to try and recover that account.  They may not always be successful, due to many factors, but they still can try to collect the account.

You may not have any money to pay them, you may have left the country, they may not be able to locate you, but again, they can try.

So after a period of time a couple of things can occur, and one of those things is that the original bank or lender, may sell the debt onto a collection agency; and this collection agency does not have to be based in the country the debt originated in.

Debts are regularly sold, and can be sold for pennies on the pound, or whatever currency is being used for that country.

An account may have a balance of £5,000, and be sold to a collection firm for £3,000 or in some instance, much less; again pennies on the pound.

Once this account is sold, it then becomes the property of the collection agency, they own the account, and you then/now, owe them.  You no longer owe the original bank, you owe the collection firm that bought the account/debt.

This can come as a surprise to many people as one day CWD sends them a notice, or any collection firm in the UK for that matter, to their UK address demanding payment for a debt, that you can no longer either remember, or the letter doesn’t state the original bank.

You phone them up, thinking surely they have made a mistake, only to be informed, and reminded, of the account or accounts, you left behind in (insert country here).


Where Are Your Debts:  What Country Were They Originated In?

Where you have accounts/debts located, meaning what country they were originated in, will have an impact on your options when returning to the UK with debts abroad and outside the UK.

The fundamentals may be the same, but your options as to what you can do, and what your creditors can do, can change.

Debts that have been originated in the EU, or even UK debts and someone moves to the EU, or has EU debt and moves back to the UK, have processes, and authorities in place to be collected.

This is opposed to accounts/debts that may have been originated from outside the EU, possibly Australia, Dubai or the UAE, or even Canada and the United States.

It is too much to try and explain every country and example of what may occur here, but we can paint with broad strokes.

One of those broad strokes is what options you may have if you do leave debt in another country and return to the UK.

Here in the UK our debt and insolvency laws are very consumer friendly, and lenient, compared to other countries, such as the previously mentioned Dubai.

So if you have debts in other countries and return to the UK, and cannot afford to service those debts/accounts, what can you do??

The accounts can be included in a Debt Management P/DMPlan, IVA/Individual Voluntary Arrangement, or even a DRO/Debt Relief Order and bankruptcy.  More on your options in detail in the next chapter.  I have to keep it somewhat exciting to keep you reading on:)

Just because we here in the UK allow these outside the UK debts to be included in our insolvency and debt management schemes, does not mean that the creditor or lender of the debt, and the country they are in, will allow the accounts to be included.  However, if an account from outside the UK is included in some of the options afforded you, then the collector here in the UK cannot collect the debt from you here in the UK.  You are afforded the protection and rights of being insolvent, here in the UK, and for now the EU.

This means as long as you reside in the UK, and for now the EU, and you declare yourself bankrupt, or are in an IVA/Individual Voluntary Arrangement or DRO/Debt Relief Order, the bank/lender/creditor cannot exceed the rights and laws that we have here in the UK.

Should you leave the UK and move elsewhere, the creditor can then try to collect the account outside the UK/EU.


Can Debts From Outside The UK Be Collected In The UK?

This question ties in with the information just mentioned above, but is not a yes or no answer.

Technically a creditor/lender in any country can try and collect a debt that is owed them that originated in their country, even though you may have moved elsewhere, such as back to the UK.

This does not mean they have any authority to collect the debt here in the UK.  They can try, make threats, etc, but they may have no real power or authority to collect the debt outside the originating country.

However, there are two instances where a creditor from outside the UK may attempt to collect a debt originated outside the UK, and be in a position to collect it, here in the UK with authority to do so:

  • If the debt is sold onto a collection agency here in the UK.
  • There is a “non-jurisdiction” clause in the original contract for the loan, and the bank/lender uses an agent here in the UK to collect the debt.

If it sounds complicated, it really isn’t.

If you have a debt/loan in Canada, it may get sold to a collection agency here in the UK, where you now reside, which means that collection agency can collect the debt in accord with the laws here in the UK.

However, as we have previously stated, you are afforded the rights and insolvency/debt options we have here in the UK.  And the collection agency has to collect the debt in accord with these laws.

A bank or lender can assign the debt out to be collected and not sell it, this depends on the terms and conditions of the account, and again brings in a non-jurisdiction clause.

So a bank in the UAE assigns an account to be collected here in the UK to a UK collection agency as their “agent”, and they can attempt to collect the debt from you here in the UK.  However, again they and you have rights here in the UK, and the collection agency needs to abide by those rights, and you have all the debt options available to you here in the UK.

Now let’s move onto Chapter 4, which will deal with our options with those accounts being collected here in the UK in more detail, but originated elsewhere in the world.


What Options Do I Have With Debts from Other Countries Being Collected in The UK

As we have mentioned, just because a debt that originated in another country and is being collected here in the UK, does not mean you do not have options.

And these options stand for you even if the debt is just being collected by an agent here in the UK, or if it has been sold to a collection agency here in the UK.

One constant remains, the accounts have to be collected in accord with the rules and laws here in the UK, and you are afforded all the consumer options we have here in the UK with debts.

I have personally spoke with a representative of CWD/Coyle White Devine, they are solicitors who collect debts here in the UK, that may have originated elsewhere in the world.

I must say the representative who I spoke with was very nice, and very forthcoming with information regarding these accounts they collect.

They confirmed to me that they can indeed collect the account, as they are an agent for many of the banks in Dubai and abroad.  They can collect the accounts due to a “non-jurisdictional” clause, and they again are only an agent, they have not bought the accounts.

The representative did agree with me and confirm, the accounts have to be collected by UK law, and debtors/consumers here have all the recourse allowed to them by UK law.

So let’s look at these options in more detail, and the options you have will depend on your set of circumstances such as:

  • Do you have other debts in the UK, or elsewhere in the world?
  • Are those other debts in just your name?
  • Do you have any assets or property here in the UK or anywhere in the world?

The options you have and how they will pertain to various situations are as follows, regardless if the debt originated outside the UK, as long as it is being collected inside the UK, and in some instances, even that will not matter.


Token Payments:

A Token Payment Plan is where you have no surplus money each month to make any form of payment to a debt, so you pay £1 or possibly £5 a month to the account, and for a short period of time, usually six (6) months.

At the end of that six month period the collection agency will want to review your circumstances again to see if you can afford to pay more.

This is a short-term solution, and can be used on accounts originated in another country and being collected here in the UK.

This arrangement will usually not work if it is the original creditor or lender in another country is attempting to collect the account.  They will in all probability refuse to accept such miniscule payments.

This form of repayment may also not work here with a UK collection firm if you have assets, such as if you own property.  They may seek a a CCJ, then look to enforce it through a Charging Order against the property, or worse, seek to make you bankrupt to have the property included in the bankruptcy.

If you have other unsecured debts in the UK, you would need to attempt to include them in this form of plan, or other debt options, as you cannot favour one creditor over another.

Any jointly held accounts you may have, here or abroad, will fall as a responsibility in full on the person who is on the account with you.


Debt Management Plan:

A Debt Management Plan or DMP is an informal arrangement where you make payments of what you can afford to each creditor each month after your basic living expenses are factored in.  Payments are made on a pro-rata basis, meaning the creditor with the largest amount of your debt will receive the larger monthly payment.

You can include debts from other countries in a DMP, but again, only if they are being collected here in the UK by a UK agent or collection firm.  Banks outside the UK/EU do not need to, or are required to accept these payments.

Once again, if you own property, or any of the accounts are jointly held, there could be issues.

Many collection agencies will work with debtors using DMP’s, but again, they will want to review the debtor’s situation periodically.

In some instances a DMP can keep a property out of the collection equation, but some aggressive collectors will still seek out to use the property to get paid.


IVA’s or Individual Voluntary Arrangement:

IVA’s are a formal arrangement between you and your creditors, with an IP/Insolvency Practitioner acting as a mediator setting-up and administering the plan.

IVA’s are a form of insolvency, so your name is on the insolvency register.

IVA’s are good for people who may have other debts here in the UK, in addition to debt(s) from other countries being collected here in the UK

An IVA can also be good for someone who has property, and wishes to not lose it in bankruptcy or through other means.

A detailed I&E is completed, and if you have enough surplus income, you make payments into the IVA for a period of five (5) years, and at the end of the 5 years, any remaining balances are written off by your creditors.

If you own property, and there is equity in the property, you can be expected to release a portion of that equity in the 5th and final year of the IVA.  This can be done through remortgaging, or making addition payments into the IVA for 6 to 12 months.

Debts from other countries can be included in an IVA, and once the IVA is set-up, the IP will forward monthly payments to the bank or lender in that country in GBS (£££); it is that bank’s or lender’s responsibility to handle the currency conversion.

The bank outside the UK can refuse the IVA, just as a collection firm in the UK can refuse it. But as long as the majority of your creditors agree to the IVA, it is binding to all your creditors.

Technically it is not binding to a bank or lender outside the UK, as IVA’s are part of the Insolvency Act of 1986, and are within our laws.

But an IVA protects you, and possibly your property here in the UK/EU.  Again should you return to that other country outside the UK, and the debt had not been sold to a collection agency here in the UK, the bank/lender in that country could attempt to collect the account.

The times when an IVA may not be appropriate or work, is if the equity in your property exceeds your total debt.  Then you are technically not insolvent.  You could sell the property, and pay off your debts.

Again, if you have joint accounts, there can be issues as well.


DRO/Debt Relief Order:

A DRO or Debt Relief Order, is another form of insolvency.  Think of it as a mini-bankruptcy, or bankruptcy-light.

If you have debts less than £20,000, no real assets such as property, and no surplus income each month over a set amount, you can include all your debts, including those from other countries, in a DRO.

You are in the DRO for a period of 12 months, and then the debts are discharged.

If the debt that was not originated in the UK, was sold to a UK collection firm, then the debt is included in the discharge and you no longer owe it, period.

If the non-UK debt was not sold to a UK collection agency, it can still be included in the DRO, and discharged after 12 months, but only in the UK/EU.  Again, if you were to travel back to the originating country, they could attempt to collect the account from you.  The lender is not bound by UK laws in their own country.



Bankruptcy is for people who have debts that exceed £20,000, including debts from other countries.

If you have property with equity, bankruptcy may not be a good option, as you could lose the property in bankruptcy.

In addition, if you have any surplus income that exceeds £20 after your allowed living expenditures, you could be required to pay that surplus into the bankruptcy under an IPA/Income Payment Agreement, for a period of three (3) years.

Your bankruptcy will still be discharged within 12 months, but the payments will then continue for another two years.

If there are any changes in your finances, you are required to notify the Official Receiver, who can reduce or increase your monthly payments.

Once again, if you own property, or have jointly held debts/accounts, there can be issues with going bankrupt.  And while a foreign debt can be included in a UK bankruptcy, the protections you have are only in the UK/EU.



Just as with any debt, it is possible to settle an account for less than what is owed, be it a debt that originated in the UK, or elsewhere in the world.  There will be a few factors involved in attempting to settle a debt:

  • How far in arrears is the account?
  • Is the account being collected inside the UK, or from outside the UK?
  • Do you have the means (money) to settle the account?

The first thing that must be mentioned when discussing settling an account is if the account is being collected within the UK.  This does not rule out a bank or lender outside the UK entertaining the idea of settling an account, but there are countries where they simply want the full balance.

In settling an account here in the UK, the further you are in arrears, the more likely a settlement offer will be accepted.  In addition, most collection agencies are going to want to settle the account quickly, meaning one (1) payment of the agreed amount.

In some instances they may accept three (3) payments, but they are going to want the money fast.

As to how much you can settle an account for, be it an account originated in the UK or outside the UK, that again depends on a few factors.

If you owed £5,000 in country A and left many years ago, and have no assets, and are now being contacted to collect the account by a UK agency, they may accept a lower settlement offer than a fresh account, or one that is only a few months in arrears.

It will also depend on your individual situation, what other debts you have, what money you have available, etc.

Settling one account and not paying others is favouring one creditor over another, and while each collection agency or lender is only looking out for themselves, it can cause friction with your other accounts.


Collection Threats

While it may be said you will “catch more flies with honey than vinegar”, collection agents still make threats to collect a debt, many of which are hollow.

A collection agent may threaten you with having your passport taken, or reporting you to Interpol, and having you arrested.

All hollow threats.

Especially if you are back in the UK.

No one is going to confiscate your passport just for a debt or unpaid bill, at least not in the UK or the majority of countries in the world.

Interpol only gets involved in crimes, being in debt or leaving an unpaid bill, while a possible crime in Dubai, is not something Interpol is going to get themselves involved in.

Again it must be stressed again that the protection and rights you have with these accounts that originated outside the UK using UK collection and insolvency laws, is only within the UK and EU (for now).  Should you return to the country of origin of the debt, that debt can still be collected in that country.

An example may be you had a debt in Dubai, sorry to pick on Dubai, but they are an easy one to use.  You can include that debt or debts in a bankruptcy here in the UK, and the account(s) are discharged, and you no longer owe the account.  Only you no longer owe the account here in the UK/EU.

Should you travel back to Dubai, if there is an outstanding warrant, you could be stopped, as the debt is still owed according to the laws there in Dubai.

So what does the future hold with travelling and leaving debts in other countries after the Brexit??  Let’s look at some speculation in Chapter 5.


The Future:  Debts Abroad, Moving Back to the UK and Brexit 

To conclude our little journey or travels (pun intended) as to how having debts abroad and returning to the UK can affect us, we would be remiss if we didn’t speculate some about future changes that may occur, and one of those changes is the vote to leave the EU, or Brexit.

And one of those changes may be how debts from the EU are collected and handled.

We really can only speculate as to what may occur, and just the “triggering” of Article 50 doe not change anything.  It will take years before all is finalised.

Depending on what is discussed, proposed and outlined, the vote to leave really in simple terms means that we are no longer a part of the EU, although we may try to stay in the EU in some ways, such as the “single market”, but the exit makes the EU a different country or countries to us.

Where as now, in some instances,  a debt in the UK or EU may be able to be chased and collected across the UK and EU borders easily, in the future it may become more difficult, just like trying to have a bank in Australia or America chase a debt here in the UK.

Much will depend on what is written into our exit agreement, and remember, Brussels and the EU, have to agree to it as well.

Of course the other end of that speculation will be that we as UK citizens can include those EU debts, even if we are no longer a part of the EU, in our debt arrangements and forms of insolvency.

But again, the protection we receive could only be for here in the UK, and not the EU.  Currently that protection us granted in the UK and the EU.

It could mean someone from the UK moves to Spain, gets into debt, moves back to the UK, discharges those debts from Spain, but may want to be careful on returning to Spain on holiday, depending on Spain’s, or whatever country’s debt collection and insolvency laws are at that time.

So a few highlights:

  • For the most part, there are no travel restrictions coming into or leaving the UK with unpaid bills or accounts.  Only a few countries consider it a crime.
  • Debts from outside the UK can be collected here in the UK.  This can be if the debt/account is sold to a UK collection agency, or though the original terms and conditions, and outside agent can collect the debt in another country.
  • Debts originated outside the UK but being collected in the UK have to abide by all UK laws.
  • We have all the rights afforded us here in the UK as someone in debt to respond and handle any and all debts, even those originated outside the UK.
  • The protections we have here in the UK,  is only for the UK, and for now, the EU.

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