Can I Go Bankrupt in the U.S. Even Though I Live Outside the States Now? – Peter

“Dear Steve,

Used to live in the USA, moved to UK for work with intention of moving back to USA after visa re-issued.

Due to financial climate never moved back to USA. Have an American Express credit card with a very large outstanding balance. Transfering money to the USA every month to pay the minimum, obviously no longer using the card not used it since the first year in the UK. Rates have increased massively in recent year.

What recommendations do you have for me to try to best deal with this situation, given that I no longer live in the USA and still have a debt there which I see litle hope of ever clearing?


Dear Peter,

I checked with my bankruptcy lawyer friend about your situation and here is what she said:

Elegibility to be an individual debtor under title 11 of the United States Code does not require US residency or citizenship. That said, proper venue for a BK case is set out in 28 USC section 1408.

Therefore this person may file in the district in the US where his domicile, residence (there’s a difference) principal place of business or principal US assets were located for the 180 days preceeding the case filing or the longest portion of that 180 days. I think he’d be okay to file here if he has ANY assets here (bank account, personal property, etc) or any future intent to return here.

Addressing these issues is important. I’m seeing more cases of accounts transferred for collection between countries now. Twenty years ago simply moving to a foreign country killed a lot of debts, no more.

I would use this link to contact a bankruptcy attorney who can properly advise you on how to file bankruptcy in the United States without having to return.


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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.
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