Can I File For Bankruptcy If I’m Not An American Citizen?

Can I File For Bankruptcy If I’m Not An American Citizen?

Richard Fonfrias, J.D.
Chicago’s Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
Fonfrias Law Group, LLC


There are often a lot of questions that can pop up around the topic of bankruptcy, that you need to have a licensed bankruptcy lawyer to help navigate. One topic that can be confusing for most people is regarding bankruptcy for non-residents of the United States. Yes, you do not have to be a citizen of the United States to file for bankruptcy. Nor do you have to have the status of a resident-alien. Bankruptcy is the legal right of everyone who lives or owns property in the U.S.

At that point, however, things get more complicated, and you may want to consider talking with a professional bankruptcy attorney. If you want to take advantage of exempting some assets, the state where you are a permanent resident determines the laws that apply.

If a person visiting the U.S. wants to file bankruptcy, they might not be able to exempt any assets because they are not a permanent resident of any one state. Often this won’t matter if the person is only doing business in the U.S. and has no property to exempt.

In some cases, depending on the specific court, non-citizens have qualified for certain areas of the law by setting up mailboxes and opening bank accounts in the U.S.

My best advice is to speak with a qualified, experienced bankruptcy attorney. No two situations are the same and bankruptcy laws are technical and complex. You could easily get into trouble if you don’t get accurate information or if you make assumptions about your situation.

You’re invited to call me. I’ll gladly speak with you without charge and answer your questions. You can reach me at 312-969-0730.