I’m a U.S. Citizen Living in the UK. If I File Bankruptcy in the U.S. Will it Hurt Me in the UK? – Amanda

“Dear Jon,

I am a US citizen living in the UK for 4 yrs. I have no intention of returning to live in the US, and plan on applying for citizenship here. I have been paying 3 credit cards, a credit union car loan and a student loan in the US for the last 4 yrs. i have recently lost my job and can no longer afford to pay the credit cards or car loan (the student loan is almost paid off). The balances of cards is approx. $18000 and the car approx $14500. We recently bought a house (in my husbands name) here and he has 2 properties from before we met. We have a car loan here for my car (in his name). I am considering bankruptcy in the states, but cannot return for any paper filing or any necessary appearances. I would like to know what the repercussions can be to me in the UK of letting this debt go. Can (will) ‘they’ come after me here? Can they attach anything to property in my husbands name? Can my citizenship application be negatively affected? I am very stressed out, at wits end and have no clear solution or advice. HELP!

I left debt in US when I moved to UK, have been paying it for 4 yrs but lost my job and can’t afford to send money Stateside anymore. What advice can you give, we really need some advice!




I had addressed your previous question and will put my reply below this one.

Once you are bankrupt in the states the debts will be discharged relatively quickly, depending on what chapter you file, and you will no longer owe the debts; so your creditors cannot come after you in the UK. So no worries there.

Your question about Citizenship in the UK is a valid one, and I can offer my perspective, but I would advise you to speak to the UK Border Agency for confirmation.

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In order to become a Citizen in the UK, there are only a few rules or hoops to jump through: you pay the fee, show you are of good character and have no criminal record. There is a question about bankruptcy, but it is vague, not specifically asking are you bankrupt in the UK. But it does state if you are bankrupt in the UK, your application will probably be denied. But once you are discharged from a bankruptcy, then the application should be approved. The vagueness and question would be, what about a bankruptcy in another country??

It may be waiting until the bankruptcy has been discharged is the way to go.

As for your husband’s property it will be fine. It is your bankruptcy in another country, not his and he and his assets are not affected.



Here is my original response to your first question:


I understand your situation and was just curious as to where the car is?

If you are not working and finding difficulty in obtaining another job, how are you getting by an supporting your family? Are you eligible for any benefits in the UK?

Bankruptcy in the states may be an option for you, but you would need to discuss this with an attorney in the states and this may get costly for you as you are living in the UK.

Going bankrupt in the UK won’t discharge the debts in America as those banks/creditors may simply not recognise the bankruptcy.

Doing nothing is an option but I cannot say as to if your creditors would sell the debt(s) onto a collection agency here in the UK or not, but if they did it would work in your favour as the insolvency laws and debt options/schemes you have in the UK are more for the consumer.

When you state “make a deal”, what are you referring to? Trying to settle the debts? You would need some cash in order to do this. Do you have access to such money?

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Have you spoke to your creditors to see what options they might offer? Since the car is a secured debt, it could just be repossessed and you would be liable for any deficiency balance or shortfall, which would then just become another unsecured debt.

Let me know.



Jon Emge is an experienced UK debt advisor who has helped thousands and thousands of people in the UK to deal with problem debt. Jon specialises in finding good solutions for problem debt using a variety of UK specific techniques.

If you have a question you’d like to ask about how to get out of UK debt, just use the online form. I’m happy to help you for free.

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