You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to file for bankruptcy. There is nothing in bankruptcy law that requires you to be a U.S. citizen if you want or need to file bankruptcy. You can file bankruptcy if you reside, own a business in, or have a home in the U.S.
What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a federal right that allows people living inside the U.S. to repay some or all of their debt, or completely discharging most unsecured and/or some secured debt. In some cases, you may have to give up some of your possessions so that they can be sold off to repay part of your debt.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the best solution for noncitizens with financial difficulties. Chapter 7 will generally allow you to discharge most or all of your debt without having to give up any of your possessions. There are a lot of exemptions which can be used to protect your stuff from being taken.
The entire Chapter 7 bankruptcy process is typically over in three to four months. Most, if not all, unsecured debt, such as credit card debt, medical expenses, and personal loans, is completely dischargeable.
Can I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Your status as a legal resident likely won’t stop you from being able to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but you may not be eligible depending on your financial situation. Depending on your income, assets, and the amount of your debt, you may not qualify to file Chapter 7. In order to find out whether you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on your financial status, use the bankruptcy means test.
Will Filing Bankruptcy Affect My Citizenship Application?
As a legal resident, you are eligible for bankruptcy protection, but in certain situations, filing for bankruptcy as a noncitizen may affect a citizenship application. There is a chance that filing bankruptcy could have a negative impact on your immigration.
Since citizenship applications are reviewed on a case by case basis, you should talk with an immigration attorney about how filing bankruptcy may or may not affect your application status.
Washington, D.C. and Maryland bankruptcy lawyer Kevin D. Judd has been helping people achieve their goal of becoming debt free for years.