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How long does the debt relief order (DRO) process take?

There are a number of stages to getting a debt relief order (DRO). In this guide we look at:

  • what you need to do before you apply
  • the application process
  • the steps in setting up a DRO
  • how long the whole process from start to finish is likely to take
  • what happens after a DRO

How quickly can I get a DRO?

A debt relief order (DRO) is a way to deal with debts if you:

  • owe £30,000 or less – this is increasing to £50,000 on 28 June 2024
  • don't own your home
  • don't own anything of much value
  • have very little money left after covering essentials each month

Find out more in our guide what is a debt relief order and how does it work.

When you’re struggling with debt, it’s understandable to want to sort things out as quickly as possible. But getting a DRO is a big decision and not one to be taken lightly. So it’s important to get impartial debt advice first to make sure it’s the right option for you.

We can help with this. One of our specialist debt advisers will look into all your options and recommend the solution that is right for your personal circumstances.

If we recommend a DRO and you want to go ahead, how quickly we can set one up depends on how quickly you can provide proof of your income, spending and debts.

How long does the debt relief order application process take?

You can’t apply for a debt relief order on your own. An Insolvency-Service approved company needs to apply on your behalf. We’re an approved company, so we can do this.

We’ll make sure a DRO is right for you by:

  • going through your income, spending and debts
  • checking you meet the qualifying criteria
  • talking you through the advantages and things you need to consider

If you want to go ahead, you’ll need to send us proof of your income, spending and debts. This may include:

  • pay slips
  • benefits letters
  • bills
  • bailiff letters
  • bank/credit-card/loan statements
  • demand letters

As soon as we have everything we need, we can fill in your application. Once you’ve checked it over, we can submit it.  

The Insolvency Service will make a decision on your application within 10 working days

Read more about the debt relief order (DRO) application process in our dedicated guide.

Steps to set up a debt relief order

The key steps in setting up a debt relief order are:

  1. Get impartial debt advice to make sure a DRO is right for you
  2. Gather evidence of your income, spending and debts
  3. An Insolvency-Service approved company will complete your application
  4. Check your application
  5. Once you’re happy with your application, your chosen company will submit it on your behalf
  6. Wait for the Insolvency Service to make a decision

How long does the whole DRO process take from start to finish?

The length of time it takes from getting debt advice to submitting your DRO application is largely down to you. To get this done as quickly as possible, it helps to be prepared. If you gather evidence of your income, spending and debts before getting debt advice, your application could be submitted in a matter of days.

The Insolvency Service will then make a decision on your application within 10 working days (two weeks).

If it’s approved, your DRO will last a year.

What happens when my DRO ends?

There are steps you can take to start rebuilding your credit score though. Find out more in our 'Life after a debt relief order (DRO)' guide.

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