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Will My Old Debt Stop Me from Getting a U.S. Visa? – Danica

“Dear Steve,

I was a student in Chicago, IL on a F-1 visa. During my almost four years of stay I had a perfect record of paying off all my bills on time (credit card, phone, cell, internet, rent). However, I had to leave in a rush, since I had family issues back home in Serbia. Now, I am studying an American college in Serbia and I plan on looking for a job in Chicago in due time. However, before I left, I didn’t have the chance to pay for my last months rent, or bills at ATT. I realize this will affect my credit score, but my worry is that it will prevent me from getting a visa in the future. I realize this is more of an emigration question, but still, I had to try.

The money I owe isn’t a lot, it probably doesn’t exceed $2000. I would want to pay it off, I just don’t know where to start. Should I contact my leasing company and ATT directly and settle the debt with them? Will this be sufficient? Being denied a visa is pretty much a one time thing here and I don’t want to take that risk.



Dear Danica,

You are smart for dealing with this situation now.

I’m a bit out of my element on the immigration technicalities but if you let the old debt go without intervention and it becomes a court case, that might create an issue to deal with.

But the debt by itself it not a problem in my experience.

It is easy to find the debt now, as least what its reported to the credit bureaus. Get a copy of your consolidated credit report, the link is the same one I use when I order my credit report.

The consolidated credit report will show you exactly what is being reported and give you contact information for the people listed on the credit report.

Alternatively, you could contact AT&T and the leasing company directly and make arrangements directly with them if they still have the debt and have not sold it to another entity. The advantage of getting the consolidated credit report is it is the best way to look at what is being reported about you at one time.

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If you start working on this right now you’ll easily get it all taken care of before it becomes an issue. And by the way, welcome back.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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