Moved to the US 6 months ago on a temporary work visa and the company paid for all the costs associated with the move. I have a 2 year relocation agreement in the contract, however I want to quit and travel the world. During my travels, I will not have a permanent address or phone number. I am not a US citizen and I do not wish to return to the US. If I choose not to pay back the relocation costs, what options does the company have, considering I will be leaving the US with no intent of returning? Is there a statute of limitations on the debt? If yes, than for how long?
This is a remarkably bad idea.
If you have the resources to quit and travel the world after giving them only six months of work, expect to get sued. Failing to pay and failing to show up to court might get you a charge of contempt of court. This will charge may show up on background checks for the rest of your life. You've lived in the US for six months now, so getting work visas in many places may require you to list your stay in the US.
Work for 18 months more, then travel or just pay them back.
First, don't expect to receive another work visa from the United States. And don't expect to receive a good reference from your employer.
During all this time, also expect your friends and family you've listed on your job application to receive frequent phone calls to find out where you are currently located.
"In most states, the statute of limitations period on debts is between three and 10 years; in some states, the period is longer," according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Just be sure to pay any student loans or outstanding taxes. Those will follow you until you die. Ideally, you should consult a tax professional for that part. If you're going to disappear, you don't want to potentially leave a tax bill behind.
And I'm not a lawyer, but I must disagree with Glen Pierce. They can't charge you with contempt of court if they can't find you to legally serve you the court papers.
In any case, why are you changing your plans so suddenly? Or were you planning to do this all along? As a foreign worker on a work visa, it's very easy to be placed in a really bad situation and to feel that you have no rights. That being said, you do have rights. Whether you've been lied to, bullied, discriminated against, sexually harassed, or misrepresented to potential clients, or have a family emergency/health issues, or have been mistreated in some way, you do have workers rights that may be able to help you nullify the repayment obligation you were given.