Getting to the end of an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) can feel like a real achievement. After five or six years of payments, it finally means you’re close to getting debt free.

But what actually happens at the end of an IVA? Is there a lot of administration to be done before your Insolvency Practitioner (IP) issues the final paperwork to you? Or will your debt solution just automatically finish after the standard amount of time?

Let’s go through what you need to know about the end of an IVA.

Make sure it’s really the end!

Before you get ahead of yourself, it’s important to check your IVA is actually finishing now. IVAs will generally last five or six years – the extra year is usually if you’re a homeowner and you’re unable to remortgage when asked to. But your IVA could last longer than this if you’ve had a payment break or any other admin issues.

Check in with your IP or the company who runs your IVA a few months before you expect it to end. That way, you can make sure it is due to end when you think it is. And if it is due to last a few months longer for any reason, at least you’ll know about it in advance.

Your IVA completion certificate

When it’s time for the end of your IVA, your IP will get in touch to do a last review with you. This will check if you still need to pay anything into the IVA. If you’ve had any overtime or bonuses from work, you might need to pay extra.

After you’ve done this, your IVA company should send out your IVA completion certificate. Don’t worry if you don’t get this straight away – it can take a few months to send this out, depending on your IP.

If you’ve been waiting for a few months and you’ve not heard anything, contact your provider. They’ll be able to tell you the reason for any delay – if they still need you to send them anything, for example.

What do I need to do?

You don’t need to do anything at the end of an IVA – your IP will take care of the paperwork and admin. You can check that your details aren’t on the Insolvency Register anymore – just search for your name on the register to see if you show up. The Insolvency Service can take up to three months to take your details off the Register.

After your IVA is over, your credit report could still show your debt solution. That’s because it will show for six years from the start of your IVA. If it’s over after five years, it will still show for another year. Check your credit report to see what it shows about you. You should do this with all three credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax and Callcredit. And now, they all offer free versions of your credit report too. Experian has CreditMatcher, Equifax offers ClearScore and you can get your Callcredit report on Noddle.

It’s a good idea to now start improving your credit history – registering to vote can improve your credit rating, for example. This can help you in the future when you apply for certain services – like if you’re looking to rent or open some bank accounts.

Don’t feel too disheartened about the current state of your credit report – it doesn’t need to be like this forever. Once your IVA is over, you can start to work to getting back in control of your financial life.