Can Filing for Bankruptcy Affect My Immigration Status?

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You may be suffering through a dire financial situation that calls for a bankruptcy filing. However, based on your tentative immigration status, you may worry that your petition may jeopardize your immigration application or otherwise lead to your deportation from the country. Follow along to find out your ability to file for bankruptcy with your current immigration status and how a proficient Rockland County bankruptcy attorney at The Law Offices of Allen A. Kolber, Esq. can guide you.

Do I have to be a United States citizen to be eligible for a bankruptcy filing?

The short answer is, no, United States bankruptcy law does not require you to be a citizen to file a bankruptcy petition. Rather, the law holds that bankruptcy is an option accessible to any individual who is legally residing in the country.

However, it is worth mentioning that, you do require a Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number to be eligible for a bankruptcy filing. Evidently, Social Security Numbers are administered to natural-born, foreign-born, and naturalized citizens. On the other hand, Individual Tax Identification Numbers are given to individuals who are not necessarily eligible for Social Security Numbers, such as those with legal residency status.

What’s more, you do need to have lived in a certain state within the country for the majority of the past 180 days. For example, you must have resided in New York State for 91 out of the past 180 days before you submit your petition to the New York State bankruptcy court.

In what ways might filing for bankruptcy affect my immigration status?

Of note, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) do not consider your filing of a bankruptcy petition when reviewing your application for a green card or otherwise a visa. At the same time, the USCIS and DHS may not view your bankruptcy as a detriment to your legal residency status. This is all to say that, you may rest assured knowing that, bankruptcy may not affect your immigration status at all.

The main reason why your immigration status may be unaffected is because the USCIS and DHS do not believe an incident of bankruptcy to be a sign of bad moral character. But they may view other financial activities as bad moral character. Examples include if you receive some sort of public benefit (i.e., food stamps), if you fail to pay your taxes, if you are committing bankruptcy fraud, and more.

You must not question your instinct to retain the services of a talented Rockland County bankruptcy attorney. Our team at The Law Offices of Allen A. Kolber, Esq. will work to determine which legal option best suits you.