Can I File Bankruptcy in New York if I live in Another Country?

Yes, US bankruptcy protection is available to any person with assets in the United States. In almost all cases as long as a debtor owns property or even has a bank account with $.01 in New York City they may file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. According to 11 U.S. Code § 109, “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 under this title.” The US Bankruptcy Code does not specify the debtor live in the United States or even be an American citizen. We have successfully filed bankruptcy for people from around the globe including American citizens abroad, and resident aliens living in New York City.

While debtors are not automatically disqualified for bankruptcy based on citizenship or residency, bankruptcy law is still very complicated in this particular area. The court may allow you to file your petition with only a penny to your name in New York City, but that doesn’t mean you will automatically qualify for bankruptcy protection overall. Filing bankruptcy is a big decision, and if done incorrectly can actually do more harm than good. Any person considering bankruptcy, resident or citizen abroad needs to consult with a qualified attorney in New York City.

Obviously the entire point of bankruptcy is to eliminate debts. If you live outside the United States it may not even be necessary to file bankruptcy here. If you do not have significant assets in New York City and do not plan on returning to the United States any time soon then you may already be in the clear, because some American creditors will not come after assets held in a foreign country. If creditors do come after assets you have in another country you will likely be protected by their bankruptcy laws to some degree as well depending on the country. If however you hold any principal property in New York City, are employed by an American company or plan to return to New York in the near future then bankruptcy could be your best option.

If you live outside the United States but want to file bankruptcy in New York City all that is required by law is a simple bank account with $.01. Whether or not you should move forward with filing is another question that should be discussed with a bankruptcy attorney familiar with citizenship and residency issues. At the end of the day if you are struggling financially the hardship will be felt no matter where you live. Bankruptcy can provide you with the fresh start you need, and American Bankruptcy courts may even be able to help where the laws of your country of residence have failed. To find out if bankruptcy would be in your best interests contact the Law Offices of William Waldner online or at 212.244.2882 to arrange a free consultation today. We mainly practice bankruptcy law in NY.

**** DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for educational purposes only. By reading no attorney-client relationship has been created. Prior results do not guarantee a similar result for future clients.