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She's not a U.S. citizen: Can she file bankruptcy?

Question: I am writing because my girlfriend owes a lot of money for credit cards and loans and she needs to get rid of that debt. She has run up a lot of debt on her 5 credit cards and she has personal loans that add up to more than $50,000. Her debt is so high she can't afford her car payment and we'd like to get married and I don't want to marry her with all that debt. But she is not a U.S. citizen. She is an immigrant. She moved here when she was younger but she never became a citizen of the United States.

She had a good job but she was laid-off and then she didn't have an income for over a year. Now she's working again but her salary is less than it was and she is in a financial mess. She needs to file bankruptcy. If she doesn't file she'll never get rid of the debt.

But because she's not a citizen and she doesn't even have a "green card," she's not sure if she can even file for bankruptcy. So can a non-citizen go bankrupt? She has a lot of friends in the same position and they also want to know what rights they have under the law.

J.E. in Sandy Springs, GA

Answer: You do not have to be a United States citizen to file bankruptcy. And you do not even have to have a "green card" to file bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy, whether a chapter 7 or a chapter 13, is open to all people, regardless of immigration status.

We have helped clients from all over the world file bankruptcy here in Georgia. We have helped people from China, the UK, India, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Colombia and many other places eliminate all sorts of debt.

With all the talk about citizenship and immigration in the news, we are getting questions about bankruptcy and debt issues every day from non-citizens.

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