Are you thinking of filing bankruptcy to get out of debt but afraid that doing so might affect your citizenship status? While no one can make any guarantees about this, there is no question on the citizenship application about whether you have filed bankruptcy. (The application does ask about paying your taxes.) Therefore, filing bankruptcy is very unlikely to affect your becoming a U.S. citizen.
A person I’ll call Juan (not his real name) came to see me about a large debt that his had incurred. Juan had borrowed money to purchase a small business for over $100,000, but the business was not earning enough profit for Juan to make payments on the loan. Juan wanted to give back the business, but the seller would not agree. Juan would have even more debt if he closed the business, because his landlord would sue him for unpaid rent until the space was rented to someone else. A chapter 7 bankruptcy would be the solution to Juan’s debt problems, and he would not have to pay anything on the loan or for breaking the rental agreement if he waited to file bankruptcy until the landlord rents the space.
However, Juan was a permanent resident of the U.S. (he has a Green Card) and he planned to apply for citizenship a little over a year from now. Juan was concerned that filing bankruptcy might prevent his citizenship from being approved. So Juan and I visited a experienced immigration attorney on my floor and asked her. She went through the citizenship application and said that there is no question on the application about filing bankruptcy, and that she did not expect doing so to affect Juan’s citizenship application.
Whether you are considering a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should not be afraid that filing bankruptcy will prevent you from becoming a U.S. citizen. After all, several U.S. presidents have filed bankruptcy, and not just Donald Trump! If you have serious debt problems, contact a competent bankruptcy attorney today. Don’t let fear of your immigration status prevent you from getting the help that you need and deserve.