How Long Does An IVA Last?

Why might my IVA be extended above 5 years?An IVA lasts for 5 years (60 months), although within the Insolvency Act 1986 there is no set length. In some circumstances, you maybe able to offer your creditors a lump sum payment in settlement of your debts, within this situation an IVA then can last for less than 5 years.

During this time, you’ll need to stick to the rules in the Agreement, and you’ll have limited control over your money.

If you’re thinking about entering into an individual voluntary arrangement, you will many questions these possibly will include include how long does an IVA last?’.

It’s important to consider the impact on your credit rating too, such as how long an IVA stays on your credit file.

Its worth remembering an IVA will also affect your ability to borrow. You maybe a property owner at the moment and wish to remortgage or possible planning to buy property in the near future, many people have asked us ‘how long after an IVA can I get a mortgage?’

The Insolvency Service revealed in 2021 that the rate of new IVAs has grown substantially over the last 20 years. While there were under 10,000 in 2003, there were approximately 78,000 in both 2019 and 2020, with IVAs representing around two thirds of total individual insolvencies by then.

An IVA allows you to seek protection from your creditors and legal action as well as allows you to avoid bankruptcy and seek protection, but anyone weighing it up needs to be aware of the consequences too.

Why might my IVA be extended above 5 years?

An IVA may be extender above 5 years if you have over £5,000 equity and are unable to remortgage your property at the end of the five-year arrangement, you may need to extend your plan by up to a further 12 months.

Sometimes a mortgage lender won’t allow you to remortgage– because your debts and debt solution are affecting your credit rating. But don’t worry, this is very common and the reason why many IVAs go on to continue for another year – with you making up to 12 extra payments.

Once your plan is finished it stays on your credit report for 6 years from the start date of the plan – then it’s deleted entirely.

Technically, under the IVA Protocol 2021, it can last as long as is necessary. 

Equity in property and the protocol lists three typical options:

  1. A 60-month IVA including no further review of equity release or property value
  2. A 72-month IVA with no proposed equity release or property value review
  3. A 72-month IVA requiring an equity release attempt with a review at month 54

Every IVA is different, as everyones situation is different due to peoples specific circumstances. Insolvency practitioners will be able to advise on the variations associated with these different options

What happens after 5 years of an IVA?

After 5 years of keeping up with payments towards your IVA, the agreement will come to a formal end.

Once you approach your final payment, the closing of your arrangement is actually a fairly simple process. After your final installment has cleared, your provider will:

  • Check all the information is in order
  • Make arrangements for you to receive your certificate of completion
  • Release you from your arrangement

Your completion certificate is the document that proves you have stuck to the terms of your IVA. It may take 4 to 6 weeks to be sent to you, but once you receive it, you can share that information with creditors and officially consider yourself debt free.

Are you a Homeowner?

If you are a home owner and in an IVA you may be required to remortgage it as part of the terms of your agreement. This will happen in the IVA’s final year.

The first thing to happen, would be a valuation to take place on your property to determine how much equity is in it. This would be the profit that is made from selling the property, once the mortgage was paid off.

Should the valuation shows that there is more than £5,000 of equity in your home, you may have to remortgage it in order to complete your IVA.

If the new mortgage would have a longer term than the original, or extend beyond your state retirement age, you would not be expected to remortgage the property.

IVA’s do not require you to sell your home, this is why they are a great alternative to bankruptcy, if you cannot remortgage after year five you maybe require to carry on contributions for a sixth year. 

Is there a maximum length of time an IVA can last?

The maximum length of time for an IVA can be more than 6 years if you miss payments or request to reduce payments.

Your arrangement may be extended if you missed some of the payments that you have agreed to when you started your plan. Should this happens then your Insolvency Practitioner will work with you and the creditors of your arrangement to adjust your payment amount and help ensure your plan reaches a successful conclusion.

If at any point during the proposed time of the IVA , should you be able to offer a lump sum, it may be possible to approach your creditors to ask them to accept the lump sum in full and final settlement of your IVA.

Read more: Can I be a director if I’m in a IVA

What are some aspects that could affect my IVA’s duration?

Various factors can influence the duration of an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), and one crucial aspect is any changes in your financial circumstances. Throughout the IVA process, your insolvency practitioner plays a key role in advising you, liaising with creditors, and determining your affordable monthly payments.

It is vital to maintain open communication with your insolvency practitioner and inform them promptly of any changes in your financial situation. If your circumstances improve, you may be able to increase your monthly payments, leading to an earlier completion of your IVA and a shorter overall duration.

Conversely, if your financial situation deteriorates, your monthly payments may decrease, although this does not automatically extend the IVA’s duration.

However, creditors may request an extension if you consistently miss payments. It is essential to stay transparent and work closely with your insolvency practitioner, as concealing information or failing to meet obligations could result in termination of the IVA.

By actively engaging with your insolvency practitioner and seeking their guidance, you can navigate potential challenges and find solutions, ensuring the successful completion of your IVA within a reasonable timeframe.

Can I pay off my IVA early?

Yes, it is possible to pay off your IVA early through a “full and final settlement” offer. What is a lump sum IVA?, it involves making a one-time lump sum payment to your creditors to settle your debts and complete the IVA ahead of schedule.

There are a few common ways IVA holders obtain a lump sum payment. One option is through the sale of an asset that was not included in the terms of your IVA. For instance, if you own a property, you may choose to sell it and use the proceeds to make a settlement offer to your creditors, effectively ending your IVA before the agreed-upon term.

Another possibility is receiving a windfall payment, which refers to an unexpected large sum of money. This could be in the form of an inheritance, lottery winnings, or a significant gift. If you receive a windfall during your IVA, you are generally required to use it to repay your debts as per the Windfall Clause. However, if the amount received is sufficient to clear all your original debts, you can make a lump sum payment to your creditors, effectively paying off your IVA early. Any surplus funds, after covering the necessary costs, will be returned to you, and the IVA will be considered completed.

It is important to consult with your insolvency practitioner throughout the process to ensure that the full and final settlement offer is appropriately structured and meets the requirements of your IVA agreement.

How long does an IVA last on your credit report?

While it is true that an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) will impact your credit rating, it is important to note that its effects are not entirely negative. Details of your IVA will remain on your credit file for a period of six years. During this time, credit reference agencies and other entities conducting credit checks will be able to see that you have utilized a debt solution.

However, despite the temporary presence of the IVA on your credit file, it can have long-term benefits for your credit history. By entering into an IVA, you are demonstrating to future lenders that you are taking responsibility for your debts and actively working towards becoming debt-free. This can be viewed positively by lenders as it shows a proactive approach to managing your financial obligations.

It is important to keep in mind that during the term of the IVA, you may have limited access to new credit as you are expected to make regular payments towards your existing debts. However, as you successfully complete your IVA and fulfill your obligations, it marks a significant step towards improving your creditworthiness.

It is advisable to consult with a financial advisor or credit counseling service to better understand the potential impact of an IVA on your individual credit situation and explore strategies for rebuilding your credit once the IVA is completed. With responsible financial management and a commitment to meeting your financial obligations, you can gradually rebuild your credit history and work towards a debt-free future.


What happens after 5 years of an IVA?

A typical Individual Voluntary Arrangement has a duration of five years, making it a sensible and structured approach to managing and resolving debt. However, it is important to understand that certain factors can influence the duration of an IVA, making it essential to assess and consider these factors when making decisions.

How long does an IVA stay on your credit report?

6 years from the date it was approved, whilst an IVA will usually only last five years. If you have a number of debts included in your IVA, they may also appear as separate entries on your credit file.


A typical IVA has a duration of five years, making it a sensible and structured approach to managing and resolving debt. However, it is important to understand that certain factors can influence the duration of an IVA, making it essential to assess and consider these factors when making decisions.

When entering into an IVA, it is crucial to recognize that it is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly. Seeking free debt advice is highly recommended, particularly if you are struggling to find a way out of debt. Professional debt advisors can provide valuable guidance, helping you understand the implications of an IVA and explore alternative options that may better suit your circumstances.

By seeking advice, you can gain a clearer understanding of the impact an IVA may have on your financial situation, including its potential duration and any factors that could influence it. Debt advisors can help you make informed decisions, ensuring that you are taking the most appropriate steps to address your debt and work towards a more secure financial future.

Steve Jones Profile
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert at Business Insolvency Helpline

With over three decades of experience in the business and turnaround sector, Steve Jones is one of the founders of Business Insolvency Helpline. With specialist knowledge of Insolvency, Liquidations, Administration, Pre-packs, CVA, MVL, Restructuring Advice and Company investment.