Bankruptcy

I am frequently asked whether a personal bankruptcy (particularly if filed in the United States) would have any adverse impact or negative implications for an immigrant or would-be immigrant.

 

Not much has been published on this subject, particularly not by the U.S. government. From what I’ve been able to discern, there appears to be NO LINK between someone foreign-born seeking valid immigration benefits (e.g. work permit, visas, residence, citizenship, etc.) and one’s financial situation necessitating a bankruptcy.  The overriding concern, — aside from those of national security and public safety –, is that of candor of the applicant (or beneficiary).

The immigrant’s general “good moral character” and compliance with U.S. laws and regulations are critical factors.  Crimes involving “moral turpitude” are significant road blocks in an immigrant’s path.

 

There is no such specific law which states clearly anything about bankruptcy and immigration or any regulation which disqualifies anyone from the privileges of immigration in the United States.  However, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code states clearly that “…only a person that resides or has a domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States, or a municipality, may be a debtor”.

 

While there might be some cultural stigma associated with bankruptcy, filing for bankruptcy in good faith is not against the law, and there is nothing to suggest that an otherwise eligible immigrant may not avail him- or herself of this avenue.

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