Can Filing Bankruptcy Affect My Immigration Status?

Alma L. Figueroa

Many people come to the United States in search of the American Dream. While hard work and discipline often pay off, there’s never a guarantee that life will be easy. It can be expensive to start a new life, between housing, education, and job supplies, and living in a new culture can bring some unexpected differences in cost. The stress of all these adjustments can cause health problems, which is especially challenging without health insurance. Sometimes despite the best planning, overwhelming debt can be the result. Immigrants may worry that being in debt could threaten their immigration status, but the good news is that bankruptcy is a legal option for getting debt under control.

Not a Crime

Being in debt is not a crime and will not affect your immigration status in any way. In fact, there are only certain, very serious crimes that could affect your ability to stay in the US. These include:

Domestic violence, stalking, crimes against children, drug or human trafficking

Moral turpitude (deliberate, willful, reckless conduct that is considered contrary to rules of morality)

Aggravated felony (murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor)

Certain firearm offenses

Owning controlled substances

Espionage, treason, sabotage

As long as you’re living honestly and doing what you can to live within your means and take care of your responsibilities and debts, you’ll have no problem.


Laws in America state that you’re presumed innocent until proven guilty, and this applies to bankruptcy proceedings as well. All bankruptcy cases are assigned to a court trustee for review, and part of his or her job is to look for signs of fraud during your 341 Meeting. While the trustee does this, they assume you’ve provided honest, correct information. As we prepare your case, we’ll take every possible step to ensure that all of your paperwork is completed accurately and you have the proper supporting documents.

It’s important not to hide assets, file false or incomplete forms, or file again after recently filing in another state. These actions, in addition to bribing a court-appointed trustee, are considered Bankruptcy Fraud, and this crime could be punished by high fees, jail time, or both. A Bankruptcy Attorney can help you to avoid any errors in your case, that way you shouldn’t need to give fraud a second thought. If you’re ever uncertain about what to include in your case, they can help you sort it out.

A New Start

It takes bravery and dedication to start a new life in a new place, and adding debt on top of everything can be difficult or even scary. If you’re having financial challenges, but aren’t sure of your options due to your immigration status, contact a Bankruptcy Attorney that deals immigration laws can help. They can help you explore alternatives to bankruptcy that can preserve your credit, while also discussing how bankruptcy might affect you. Bankruptcy may be the best way for you to continue building a new life.

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