If you are going through this country’s difficult immigration process, you probably do not want to do anything that could make it even harder for you to become a citizen. Some people believe that going through bankruptcy will be one of those things that throws a wrench in their citizenship application and jeopardizes their immigration status. This is not true though. A Bergen County bankruptcy lawyer from our firm can tell you how to go through this process without ruining your chances of becoming a citizen.
Can I File for Bankruptcy Regardless of My Immigration Status?
The bankruptcy process is open to everybody, regardless of their immigration status. You just need to have a Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number of your own. The ITIN is usually what non-citizens will end up using to file for bankruptcy.
Most bankruptcy forms will not even ask about your immigration status. The only potential complication you might face is proving residency. If you have moved recently, it can be difficult to turn around and file for bankruptcy. If you have lived somewhere for more than 90 days, this process is easier.
Will U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Use My Bankruptcy Against Me?
USCIS is highly unlikely to use bankruptcy against anyone applying for citizenship. Bankruptcy will not affect your ability to be a taxpaying citizen who contributes to society as a whole. It also will not make you into a “public charge,” someone who relies on benefits provided by the government. Being a public charge can make it more difficult to become a citizen, but going through bankruptcy means that you are rebuilding your finances and acting responsibly.
You also do not have to worry that bankruptcy will reflect poorly on your moral character. USCIS looks for potential citizens to have “good moral character” and filing for bankruptcy will not negate that, as long as you did not enter into this process in bad faith. A good example of this is when people rack up debt on purpose and go through bankruptcy to avoid paying alimony and child support. If this does not describe your situation, then you probably do not have to worry about value judgments from United States agencies.
When Should I Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
We always recommend talking to a bankruptcy attorney when considering this pathway, but it is especially important for someone who is not a citizen to consult a lawyer when filing for bankruptcy. There is a lot of paperwork involved and you have to make sure that there are no errors.
Undocumented immigrants could also run into trouble if they decide to go through bankruptcy and they only have a wrongfully obtained Social Security number or ITIN. If this is something that you are worried about, a lawyer can advise you on your options here.
Contact Our Legal Team
So if you are considering going through bankruptcy, contact the Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about what an attorney can do to assist you.