By the time you start paying back your student loan, you will have joined the world of work and will probably not be a student anymore, but ‘What happens to my student loan if I go abroad?’ is a question that you might find yourself asking in the future.
Our section ‘student loans’ provides information about the different types of student loan and how you make repayments.
If you go abroad and no longer have a UK wage that your student loan deductions can be taken from, HMRC can no longer be involved in your student loan repayments and the Student Loans Company (SLC) takes over.
If you secure employment abroad for more than three months and are paid abroad, SLC will ask for the name of the employer and evidence of the salary. They will probably ask you to set up a direct debit repayment arrangement. The level of your repayment will depend on your overseas earnings.
Note that the repayment threshold relevant to the country you are going to is not necessarily the same as the threshold in the UK. Thresholds vary according to comparison calculations between the cost of living in the UK and the other country. The SLC repayment website gives the overseas thresholds for Plan 1 and Plan 2. The SLC uses the repayment thresholds over a 12-month period from when you are working abroad, so this may differ from the UK tax year (which runs from 6 April to 5 April).
If you have been away overseas and return to the UK for three months or more, you should let SLC know.
This is important because if you find employment in the UK, you might need to start making student loan repayments through the PAYE system again and you will need to cancel any separate arrangements that you have made direct with SLC.