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Non Citizen filing for Bankruptcy

Non Citizens and Bankruptcy

by: Andres Montejo, Esq.


A question was posed…


I am a resident alien, and I am interested in filing for Bankruptcy. I am also interested in applying for citizenship. Will the Bankruptcy have an effect on my application for citizenship?

The simple answer is NO. In general one cannot be denied citizenship because of a financial hardship that ended in the filing for Bankruptcy.

But citizenship is handled by another part of the Federal Government. While Bankruptcy is handled by the judicial part of the Federal Government, applications for citizenships are handled by the Department of Homeland Security.

Citizenship, may be denied by crimes of moral turpitude, and an example of some of those include:

 Crimes Against The Person

Murder/Intentional Homicide
Voluntary Manslaughter
Homicide by Reckless Conduct
Involuntary Manslaughter w/ Reckless Disregard
Attempted Murder
Kidnapping Mayhem
Assault or Attempted Murder Upon Government Officers
Carrying a Concealed Weapon w/ Intent to Use  Against the Person of Another
Assault w/ a Deadly Weapon
Assault w/ Weapon Likely to Produce Bodily Harm
Interfering w/ a Law Enforcement Officer
  w/ Use of Deadly Force
Attempting to Obstruct/Impede the Progress
  of Justice
Aggravated Assault Against a Peace Officer

Crimes Against Property

Attempted Arson
Uttering a Forged Instrument/Forged Prescription
Making False Statements of Financial Condition
Grand theft
Petty Theft
Receiving Stolen Property
Concealing Assets in Bankruptcy
Encumbering Mortgaged Property w/ Intent to Defraud
Fraudulently Issuing Check w/ Insufficient Funds
Fraudulently Issuing Worthless Check
Illegal use of ATM or Credit Card
Passing Forged Instrument
Attempted Fraud
Using Mails to Defraud
Making False Statements in Acquisition of Firearm
Securities Fraud
Welfare Fraud
Transporting Stolen Property
Obtaining Money by False Pretenses
Malicious Trespass

Sexual and Family Crimes

Assault w/ Intent to Commit Abortion
Attempted Assault w/ Intent to Commit Carnal Abuse
Statutory Rape/Rape
Indecent Assault/Sexual Battery
Gross Indecency
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor/Sexual Acts
Taking Indecent Liberties w/ a Child
Oral Sexual Perversion

Crimes Against the Government

Falsely Issuing a Narcotic Prescription
Offering a Bribe
Making, Passing, or Possessing Counterfeit Coins
Conspiracy to Violate IRS Laws
Securities Fraud
Smuggling Merchandise
Impersonating Federal Officer
False Statements/Firearm
False Statements or Entries
Harboring a Fugitive
Using False Names & Addresses to Violate Postal Laws
Uttering/Selling False/Counterfeit Immigration Documents
False Statements to Obtain a Passport
False Statements in LPR Application
Theft from U.S. Mail
Taking Kickbacks
Receiving Funds by False Statements
Trafficking in Narcotics
Failing to Report Income
Union Official Unlawfully Accepting a Loan
Kickbacks on Government Contracts
False Statements/Selective Service
Falsely Representing Social Security Number
False Statements/Unemployment Benefits

Filing for Bankruptcy certainly doesn’t fall in any of those previous categories. That being said, it is important that you have a well versed attorney before filing for Bankruptcy, since you could jeopardize your citizenship if you have committed any of the prior mentioned acts. It is possible that in a hearing or meeting during your bankruptcy proceeding, you are asked questions that may cause you to give answers, which could incriminate you, or spill over to your citizen application.

Please have an attorney and consult with him/her your specific situation before taking any affirmative steps in any direction.

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