I am currently living in Dubai as a British Citizen on Expat work contract. I have heard that if you live and work outside of the UK for over 5 years; all your student loans will be cancelled and forgotten about - is this true?

My wife completed her studies 2009. We want to know about 2009 and onwards but a nice answer should be calculated and address to other seekers; I have paid my fees back.

  • I think the UK currently has something like 3 or 4 different kind of student loans, depending on what year you started your studies in. What kind do you have?
    – Gagravarr
    May 9, 2015 at 10:37
  • I updated the question. May 9, 2015 at 11:08

1 Answer 1


No. Otherwise I think you'll find a lot of doctors/lawyers with huge loans would head overseas immediately to wipe off six figure loans...

Indeed, government websites point out that you need to notify them if overseas for more than three months, as your repayment rates may change, and if you don't you may actually incur penalties, rather than having your loan forgotten about / made void.

However, Loan Cancellation DOES occur in some special situations, based ususally on duration of loan or your age, and differs slightly in Wales, Scotland or England. However it tends to be about when you turn 65, or when you've had your loan for 25 or 30 years, depending on location.

Loan cancellation does not occur after 5 years of being overseas, however it could after 10 years, if for example you are 65, and took out your loan in England.

  • 1
    I think the maximum amount you can currently borrow is £17k/year (9k max fees plus 8k max maintenance loan if in London), so lawyers won't hit 6 figures. Medics normally study for 6 years, but I'm not sure they pay fees for all 6, so they may not either!
    – Gagravarr
    May 11, 2015 at 4:56
  • @Gagravarr can't claim for living costs etc as well? Regardless I guess my point was many would totally still consider being 'paid' to live overseas a worthwhile option :/
    – Mark Mayo
    May 11, 2015 at 9:10
  • There's a maximum amount you can borrow towards living costs, which depends on where you're living. Max for 2015/2016 is about 8k. If you want to know more about the system, which is quite different to some other countries, there's a good guide on MoneySavingExpert about it
    – Gagravarr
    May 11, 2015 at 10:22

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