Nobody wants to file bankruptcy – but the protection exists in U.S. law because the government recognizes that life gets complicated. Things happen, and financial disasters can be the result.
Both ordinary and exalted people have found themselves filing for bankruptcy over the years, but what about an immigrant? If you’re not (yet) a citizen of this country, can you take advantage of bankruptcy laws?
There’s no rule that prohibits an immigrant from filing bankruptcy
The federal bankruptcy code states that anyone who “resides, has a domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States” qualifies as a debtor for the purposes of bankruptcy.
However, there are some unique issues that immigrants may face when filing for bankruptcy. Here are some issues to consider before you decide what steps to take:
- Do you have property or money outside the country? If so, you have to include those assets in your bankruptcy petition. It would be wise to learn whether those assets are likely to be considered “exempt” from seizure to repay your debts or not – before you proceed.
- If you fail to disclose your international property, what happens? When you fill out your financial disclosure forms, you do so under oath. Any misrepresentation can be considered a crime – and that could, ultimately, stop you from receiving citizenship.
If you’ve made this country your home, your immigration status is no bar to debt relief through bankruptcy. If your finances are weighing you down, don’t let the fact that you’re an immigrant stop you from finding out more about your legal options.