A 62-year-old doctor from Virginia has been stripped of his US citizenship because his father worked as an Indian diplomat to Iran. His citizenship was revoked in February this year, when Siavash Sobhani had applied for a new passport.
According to the Washington Post, Sobhani received a letter from the State Department who informed him that children born in the United States to parents who are diplomats cannot acquire citizenship. The doctor was informed that he was given US citizenship as a baby ‘by mistake’. It directed him to a website where he could apply for lawful permanent residence.
“This was a shock to me,” Mr Sobhani told the Washington Post. “I’m a doctor. I’ve been here all my life. I’ve paid my taxes. I’ve voted for presidents. I’ve served my community in Northern Virginia. During Covid, I was at work, putting myself at risk, putting my family at risk. So when you’re told after 61 years, ‘Oh there was a mistake, you’re no longer a US citizen,’ it’s really, really shocking,” he added.
Sobhani has spent $40,000 on legal fees. But it is not the money that worries him. The inability to travel as a citizen of a country distresses him. “I am waiting for an interview, but does that mean I wait another year for an interview? Then another three years for the next step? Then another 10 years before I can travel outside of the country?” he said.
Sobhani is at the twilight of his career and plans to retire soon. At 62, he and his wife plan to explore other countries and find a community of their own. However, with the new development, he cannot travel or meet his friends and family living abroad.