Old debts and change of citizenship

22 posts in this topic

Posted

Ok case scenario is this:

An American citizen who has accumulated enormous amounts of debt decides to become a German citizen. He fulfills all the legal criteria to become a German citizen. What happens with his debt after he sheds the American citizenship? p.s. He takes on the German citizenship without paying any of his debt in the States. So his debt is still outstanding.

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Posted

well for one thing it's very unfair for the people he/she owes money to if you're trying to do a runner

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Posted

He does not want to pay back that debt. What happens then?

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Posted

If he/she becomes a German citizen, surely there´s some exchange of data between the German and American authorities? Might get heavy...tax debts? Someone has filed a complaint?

He/she could wait 6 years if it´s a debt with a bank. Not sure with the USA but in the UK it used to be 6 years hiding and then it´s a " dead " debt..don´t know in the UK anymore either. The Germans don´t mess about..miss a single installment on a regular payment and you get the written Mahnung really promptly...

And why doesn´t he/she want to pay back that debt? A cartel in Colombia?

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Posted

What? I am not an American citizen and have no debt outstanding... :blink: Just asking a theoretical question, that is all.

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Posted

I don't believe there is an exchange between the two systems right now. I had an outstanding hospital bill, fuckers said I had insurance, I went the ER and then I didn't have insurance when the bill came in...this was after leaving a job. They made a visit to a member of my family, and after being told I live in Germany they said they couldn't pursue me anymore. Then again it wasn't an enormous amount.

Many things drop off your credit record after 7 years. Then again not sure what enormous amounts of debt means.

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Posted

Phew! You had me worried there, Lifeisabuffet! I thought we were going to have to have a whipround for you!!! :D

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Posted

You don't have to be a citizen of a country to acquire debt in it, your debt is unrelated to your citizenship status. I think your question is better related to residency rather than citizenship.

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Posted

AFAIK, in the USA (unless your debt is a student loan or child support related) after 7 years of non payment you are in the clear.

This means you've made absolutely NO payments whatsoever on said 'debt' though in at least 7 years. As soon as you make even one payment, the 7 year period starts over again.

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Posted

Jail time?

You cannot be arrested for debts in Germany unless

a) the debt is a court-ordered fine you owe to the state

B) the debt is a court-ordered Zwangsgeld used for probation in a civil sentencing

c) you refuse to give an Eidesstattliche Erklärung (declaration of assets)

In the latter case you are released as soon as you give it.

It is extremely doubtful Germany would support an international arrest warrant for debt unless in the above cases.

Edit: If we lived in 1836 Prussia the guy would be deported.

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Posted

@Kato the debts are in the states FYI and he/she now wants to enter the states as a "german" debt free (total piss take if you ask me but then who the feck am I )

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Posted

Ah, thought it was while he was living in Germany.

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Posted

My 0.02 dollars:

You are identified by your SSN in the states. Not by name.

when you enter back to the states, if you don't do any transactions with your old SSN, you'd fly below the radar. This includes any credit card, bank accounts, property, even payment of bill.

which means that you need a new SSN and a legal status in USA to acquire it.

if you are NOT in the states, the institution that you owe money, has no recourse to come after you.. that is assuming the amount you owe is not so big, read millions, that it makes it cost effective to do so.

Which I doubt, if the person had that much debt, said person would have enough money to ask a lawyer.

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Posted

Ok case scenario is this:

An American citizen who has accumulated enormous amounts of debt decides to become a German citizen. He fulfills all the legal criteria to become a German citizen. What happens with his debt after he sheds the American citizenship? p.s. He takes on the German citizenship without paying any of his debt in the States. So his debt is still outstanding.

Please tell us that you are only joking again. This is not the kind of question I expect from a financial professional.

The debts are regulated by the laws under which the debtor incurs them, and if the creditor takes steps to have them declared enforceable in other countries they will follow him until the statute of limitations becomes effective.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Please have all legal advice you receive here verified by a legal professional.

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Posted

As far as some people from the US have told me: college debt is extremely hard to "erase", and first of all the banks / financial companies will direct their search towards your nearest family members. IF you do not have any family member left in the USA and you do not wish to enter the USA again ever in your life, you might get lucky because I doubt it's enough to start a mandate of international arrest against you. But otherwise, some of your familiy members will likely be subject to inquiry.

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Posted

AFAIK, in the USA (unless your debt is a student loan or child support related) after 7 years of non payment you are in the clear.

This means you've made absolutely NO payments whatsoever on said 'debt' though in at least 7 years. As soon as you make even one payment, the 7 year period starts over again.

This is a common (and dangerous) misconception. For starters, each state has its own statutes of limitations, which differ based on the type of debt and can go up to 15 years. More importantly, there are an INFINITE amount of loopholes that allow the debt clock to be reset. While it varies from state to state, selling the debt can often reset the debt clock, as can any promise to make a payment. Additionally, judgments and new judgments can reset the debt clock. For example, you have a CC debt. The CC company holds the debt for two years before selling it, which can reset the clock depending on state, and is especially true when a creditor in one state sells the debt to a collection agency in another state (a common practice). That collector that purchased the debt then holds the debt for five years before filing a civil suit to receive a judgment, which then resets the clock again. So if the original SoL on the debt was 7 years, this SoL has now been extended to at least 14 years. Furthermore, do a search on TT for US debt collectors coming after Americans living and working in Germany, with one such collector calling the person at their German place of employment regarding the debt. It is becoming easier and easier for creditors and debt collectors to locate people and receive judgments against them in foreign jurisdictions, and it has certainly happened in Germany. It really depends on the size of the debt and who holds the debt, obviously.

Lastly, the idea that the person could return to the US and not be found is laughable. So this person is re-entering on a German passport, but they cannot work on a German passport without the appropriate visa, nor can they set up bills and the like in their own name with a German passport without a visa. In the end, the only way they'll actually be able to live and work in the US is on their US passport/SS number. They'll be found.

Unless this is student loan debt, why wouldn't said person just file for bankruptcy? It sure as hell beats running from it.

if you are NOT in the states, the institution that you owe money, has no recourse to come after you...

Completely untrue. Do a search on this forum to see examples of this happening.

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