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Can An Illegal Immigrant File Bankruptcy?

There is no requirement of citizenship in the Bankruptcy Code. Section 109(a) of the Code states that"....only a person that resides or has a domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States, or a municipality, may be a debtor" in bankruptcy. The legal status does not determine eligibility to file bankruptcy; however there may be complications if you are not a U.S. citizen.

You must be able to prove a physical residence or ownership of property within the bankruptcy court's jurisdiction. A permanent physical address is required for the bankruptcy forms. Generally a debtor must show residency within a state for at least 90 days preceding the bankruptcy filing in order to qualify for that state's exemption laws.

You must prove your identity! Most bankruptcy debtors use a social security number but an individual tax identification number (ITIN) may also be used. Whether a SSN or ITIN is used, physical verification of the number must be shown to the bankruptcy trustee.

While there is no requirement in the Bankruptcy Code that you must have either a social security number or ITIN, the bankruptcy petition requires you to sign a Statement of Social Security Number. There are bound to be consequences for the debtor that does not have a SSN Or ITIN including the red flags it sends to the Department of Justice, the IRS and INS.

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