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Will The Courts Allow An Immigrant To File For Bankruptcy?

Author : Jim Brown

When immigrants come to us for help with their debt they generally have two questions: are they eligible to file for bankruptcy and what effect will filing have on their immigration status?

In regards to the first question, the answer is yes. The Bankruptcy Code does not require you to be a U.S. citizen in order to file bankruptcy, so generally debtors can file without regard to their legal status.

For some, this can be confusing—after all, those official forms you have to fill out ask you for your Social Security Number. People often don't realize that you have three options: provide your Social Security number, provide your tax ID number, or simply state that you don't have a Social Security number (NOTE: this is most certainly not the time to lie on any documents, do not use a fake number or attempt to use someone else's;read on for how this can affect you).

Bankruptcy is not a crime, nor does it imply that you are a criminal. Rather, it means that you are doing what is responsible, for yourself and your family. Filing for bankruptcy generally won't affect your legal status in the U.S. or your citizenship application, there are other crimes that will. Crimes of "moral turpitude" (which essentially means a crime where the offender had malicious or evil intent) can cause one's application for citizenship to be rejected, it could also result in your deportation.

Why am I telling you this? Fraud is considered a crime of "moral turpitude,"—meaning if you commit bankruptcy fraud, whether on purpose or as the result of a mistake, you land in trouble with the U.S. federal government. Same is true if you attempted to file with a fake or "borrowed" Social Security Number.
Fraud will likely result in denial of your application for citizenship or even your deportation. So while a U.S. citizen would be dealing with the usual consequences of bankruptcy fraud, a noncitizen is probably going to be worse off.

It is always important to make sure you have an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Even tiny, simple mistakes can be costly. When speaking with an attorney you are considering for your case be sure to ask how much bankruptcy experience they have. An attorney may offer to take your case, but that doesn't mean they're the best person for the job.

Author's Resource Box

James Brown is a personal bankruptcy attorney in St. Louis, Missouri. He has filed over 30,000 bankruptcy cases and published many books and articles. You can request his free Missouri and Illinois bankruptcy guide for the best tips on how to prepare for your bankruptcy and find a great bankruptcy attorney.

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Tags:   immigrants, help with debt, Missouri bankruptcy attorney, bankruptcy fraud, free Missouri bankruptcy book

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Submitted : 2011-02-10    Word Count : 1    Times Viewed: 154