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I Live in American Soma. Can I Go Bankrupt? – Filipina

“Dear Steve,

I am married with 3 children, and reside here in American Samoa. I want to clear out my debt so that i can proceed on with other help.

How would i clear out my debt so that I can gain good credit to apply for a big loan?



Dear Filipina,

In researching your question I actually had to contact the Attorney General of American Samoa for help because I could not believe what I had found.

Your currency is the U.S. dollar, you pay income tax according to the Internal Revenue Service code, you are a part of America and even use the United States Postal Service but apparently there is no bankruptcy court or jurisdiction that serves American Samoa. So the plain answer is the in American Samoa you can’t go bankrupt to eliminate debts that you can’t pay.

I also contacted a collections lawyer in American Samoa and asked him what advice he had or solution to the situation. He told me that other people in the past had moved to an American state, established residency (like Hawaii), and then were able to file bankruptcy to eliminate their debt.

The irony here is that a bankruptcy is binding on creditors from American Samoa but you just can’t go bankrupt in Pago, Pago.

So where does that leave you. It appears your options are to either negotiate with your lenders to come up with a repayment plan you can afford, make the payments as you agreed, or Option C. Option C is to default on your debts, get sued, and then go to court and show the judge what you can afford to pay. The lawyer in American Samoa said since no other solutions exist the judges there will make some accommodations for payment. This is not a suggestion I would ever make to anyone living in America, but you seem to be living in America Lite.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Jonnykat1828

    hi steve,
    i also reside in american samoa. Most of the debt i have is from when i went to college in the states. so are you telling me that theres no way for me to claim bankruptcy for that debt? thats kind of sad.


    • Steve Rhode

      How long ago did you move back? If it was in the past year or so you may still be able to file.

      • Jonnykat1828

        How do I got about filing Steve.  Which state do I file under?

      • Steve Rhode

        You would need to talk to a bankruptcy attorney that is licensed in the state you last lived in.

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