Will I Be Arrested at a UK Airport if I Have Debt?

“Dear Jon,

I left the UK in 2008 under a cloud, a lot of things had gone wrong for me. Among them was debt.

I had taken a job for Swindon council who promised to refund my moving expenses during the application process but when I turned up with the bills played dumb and denied any responsibility. So I borrowed from the school I was working at intending to pay back the money over the following months but discovered the school was a disaster zone and I left after the first term. I know they tried to serve a summons but I had moved and never actually received it. I did hear however that I had been found guilty in my absence at the court hearing.

Whilst staying in Swindon I did not pay my council tax. I was there for three months. Until moving to Swindon for the job I had been teaching in Birmingham where I had paid all my tax, and after leaving Swindon I returned to Birmingham where I paid all my tax until I left for Thailand.

At the time of leaving England I was meant to be paying back my student loan but had fallen behind with payments and then stopped altogether.

Now its almost seven years later (July) and my daughter back in England has had a baby. I would very much like to return to the UK to meet my grandchild however am concerned I will either get stopped and arrested on the way in or later on the way out. I heard of people being stopped from flying for just not paying a TV licence!

I am also considering returning to live in the UK again with my wife (Thai) in a year or two and was also wondering if my past discretion’s mentioned above may come back to haunt me.



I understand your concerns and you will not be arrested just for owing debts or student loans at the airport. So no worries there.

See also  Can I Inherit Money in the UK If I'm Bankrupt in the UK?

I have a few questions.

You mentioned you borrowed from the school you were working at, was that in the form of a loan? Were loan papers drawn up outlining the terms of the loan, such as amount borrowed, any interest rate and time frame to repay the loan? I ask as for most loans/debt, a summons is not served, a formal demand letter may be sent, but when you mention summons and found guilty, it sounds of a different nature.

Get back to me on this, so we can look more at your situation.

Again, just for debts alone you will not be stopped. Returning to live in the UK would not be a problem either, however, your creditors may start-up the collection process again to try and collect the debts.

In most instances, if you have not had any contact from a creditor in 6 years, the debt can be statute barred or no longer owed. However, the definition of contact can be a grey area. If you move and do not update your details with a creditor, and a creditor attempts to contact you, they may feel this is contact.

Let me know more detail about the loan from the school where you worked and I can advise accordingly.



2 thoughts on “Will I Be Arrested at a UK Airport if I Have Debt?”

  1. Hello Jon, I left UK 6 months back and I have an unpaid loan, now I am travelling to the USA and have a transit flight in the UK, will the Debts collectors stop me at the airports.

  2. Hi hope you can help I left Germany about 3 years ago and I owe money on a car on finance wot will happen if I go back will I be arrested at the airport thanks



Leave a Comment