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What to Do if You Are Sued for Debt While in the Immigration Process?

Posted by J. Nicholas Castellanos | Jun 10, 2022

Deciding to immigrate to the United States is a huge decision in one's life.  And it's typically accompanied by huge costs.  Not only are there the predictable expenses related to formalities, fees, and legal help, but re-establishing life in a new country is expensive.  Finding a new home, getting a vehicle, and putting food on the table are immediate expenses, and finding a new job can take time.  Costs can get out of hand and debt can build up quickly. 

Fortunately, debts related to credit cards or personal loans should not impede your naturalization as a U.S. citizen.  When evaluating an applicant's “moral character” requirement, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not take into consideration whether a candidate for citizenship, a green card, or a visa has filed bankruptcy or has debt.  Having debt, being sued for debt, or even filing for bankruptcy is not a bar to naturalization and should not affect your immigration process.  However, the processing of an immigration application can be very subjective, and consular officers can deny a visa for almost any reason.  Therefore, if you have been sued by a creditor, and are trying to obtain U.S. citizenship or permanent residence status, you should consult with your immigration attorney first about how it may affect your process, then contact Holland Law Group to learn how we can help you resolve it.

To mitigate any potential adverse effect that a debt lawsuit can have against you and your immigration process, it is important to contact an experienced debt defense attorney, like those in our team at Holland Law Group.  Failing to timely respond to a debt lawsuit or responding without articulating specific legal defenses can result in a judgment against you.  A judgment in favor of the creditor would invariably leave you owing more money than you originally owed, would negatively impact your credit score, and could lead to wage garnishment, liens on property, or levies on bank accounts.   Contact the experienced attorneys at Holland Law Group for a free consultation and to discuss how we may resolve your debt lawsuit with favorable terms and in such a way that is least likely to raise the eyebrow of consular officers.

If your debt merits considering bankruptcy, your immigration attorney will be best positioned to counsel you as to whether a bankruptcy is advisable vis-à-vis your immigration process.  Again, a bankruptcy should not impede your application, but it is important to discuss first with your immigration attorney.  Then, our team of experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Holland Law Group can advise you as to whether you meet certain criteria for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and then guide you through the process.

If you are in the immigration process, and have moved to Florida – anywhere from Miami to Duval, from Pinellas to Palm Beach Counties – and have questions about how to best respond to debt lawsuits and debt collection matters, please contact Holland Law Group at (941) 744-5450 for a free case evaluation or bankruptcy consultation and learn how we can help.

About the Author

J. Nicholas Castellanos

Nicholas Castellanos is from Stuart, FL, and after receiving his J.D. from the University of Stetson, he continued to study law in Switzerland. In Europe he worked with attorneys in many countries on an array of issues including international class actions and mass-torts, financial claims, produ...

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