Bankruptcy and Immigration Status: Will Filing a Bankruptcy Hurt a US Citizenship Application?
Bankruptcy and Immigration Status: The US Citizenship Application Process
The filing of a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and immigration status or a US citizenship application process are not dependent processes. That is, there is no prohibition for US Citizenbship for those who have filed or are filing for bankruptcy. No question is asked on the N-400 US citizenship application as to applicant's bankruptcy filing status, nor is there any law or statute requiring that this inquiry be made throughout the naturalization process. There is a question on the N-400 asking whether an applicant has failed to file an income tax return or owes any unpaid taxes, however, and it is possible that a "Yes" answer to this question will result in the need for an explanation as to why. A bankruptcy may end up the topic of the conversation in this manner. However, the mere fact that an applicant has filed bankruptcy does not mean that unpaid taxes or a failed return filing is implicated: there are many reasons why people file for bankruptcy, and unpaid taxes are by far not the most common cause. There is the possibility, however, that a bankruptcy filing in a naturalization applicant's history could conceivably be considered "poor moral character" if filed within the 5 years immediately preceding the N-400 application if the bankruptcy petition evidences behavior such as a failure to make child support payments and other individual acts that are, by statute, considered to be evidence of poor moral character.
Bankruptcy and Immigration Status: Undocumented Residents
There is no requirement under the US Bankruptcy Code, the Federal statute that governs the bankruptcy process in Michigan and in the United States at large, that someone be here legally to obtain bankruptcy relief. Likewise, there is no requirement that someone have a Social Security Number to receive the relief of a discharge of debt in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You don't need to be a US citizen to receive bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. There is not even a requirement that someone live in the US to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy (although a non-residential filer will need to plan, generally, on traveling back to the US to attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors and other potential hearings required in the bankruptcy process). There can, however, be issues when a potential bankruptcy petitioner has used a false Social Security Number or a SSN assigned to someone else on prior filed tax returns or other documentation. (It goes without saying---I hope---that the use of a false Social Security Number on the Bankruptcy Petition itself is fraud.) If you are a Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, or you are a non-US resident seeking to file a bankruptcy in Michigan because of assets, court actions, or other matters located in Michigan, please contact us at (866) 674-2317 or click the button below to schedule a free, initial consultation.