Filing For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy As An Undocumented Immigrant FAQs

Posted on: 15 December 2015

There are many requirements for filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the United States, including the need for a Social Security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. If you are an undocumented immigrant and want to file for bankruptcy, the process to file might be slightly different for you. Before filing, here is what you need to know.

Can You File for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy law is extensive and has many rules and regulations that must be met. However, there is no citizenship requirement. Even though you are an undocumented immigrant, you can file for bankruptcy.

It is important to note that although you can file for bankruptcy, you still have to meet the other requirements that other filers must meet. Among those is you must prove your identity. Normally, identity is proven with a government-issued identification card, such as a driver's license, and a Social Security card. If you do not have these in your possession, you will need to find other ways to prove your identity.

How Can You Prove Identity?

The bankruptcy court will accept an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, in place of a Social Security number. The number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. To apply for an ITIN, you must complete an application and return it for processing by the IRS.

The IRS also requires proof of your identity. To acquire the ITIN, you can provide your birth certificate and any photo ID you have from your home country or employer. You can also provide a copy of your passport. Additional forms might be required.

Can Filing Bankruptcy Result in Deportation?

Since you are undocumented, it is possible that filing for bankruptcy could have negative consequences. Bankruptcy filings are public record and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, could find out you are illegally in the country.

In addition to discussing your financial situation with an immigration attorney, you should also consult with a bankruptcy attorney. The attorney can help you understand the possible consequences of filing and help you take action to change your immigration status so that you can file for bankruptcy without fear of facing deportation.

It is important that you work with both a bankruptcy and immigration attorney to settle your bankruptcy and citizenship issues. To retain many of your options, seek legal help as early as possible. As time passes, your options can become limited. 

To learn more, contact an attorney like Richard S. Ross - Bankruptcy Attorney


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