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Born in The US, Why a 62-Year-Old Doctor is Now Stripped of his Citizenship

In February this year, Siavash applied for passport renewal, and his passport was set to expire in June.

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"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."
Siavash Sobhani , Doctor, who has been stripped of his citizenship

Siavash Sobhani is stateless despite being born in the United States and practising medicine for over 30 years in the country, a 62-year-old doctor from Virginia has been stripped of his citizenship due to his late father's status as an Iranian diplomat at the time of his birth.

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An Unexpected Letter From the State Depratment

According to the Washington Post, a State Department official informed Siavash Sobhani that he was granted US citizenship by mistake when he was an infant. The letter explained that those born in the US to parents with diplomatic immunity don't automatically acquire US citizenship. 

In February this year, Siavash applied for passport renewal, and his passport was set to expire in June, a routine he'd been practising until he received the unexpected letter. The letter also directed the doctor to a website where he could apply for lawful permanent residence. 

According to the media outlet, he has applied for permanent residence, as instructed, and he doesn’t want to do anything that might upset government officials who hold his fate in their hands. 

He said he has already spent more than $40,000 on legal fees and still doesn’t know when his case might be resolved.

“I’m waiting for an interview, but does that mean I wait another year for an interview?” he said. “Then another three years for the next step? Then another 10 years before I can travel outside of the country?”

Post-Retirment Plans

He has other concerns now that he has been declared not a citizen of the United States. His concerns range from his ability to continue practising medicine legally to the fate of his accumulated earnings contributing to Social Security benefits, considering his Social Security number might change.

At this stage of life, Siavash was thinking about retirement and plans post retirement but now all that is in a limbo. He and his wife planned to spend this year exploring other countries in hopes of finding a community where they could buy a home. Now, he can’t even visit a friend in London who recently had a stroke, or his father-in-law, who lives in Lebanon and is seriously ill, as mentioned in the Washington Post.

Now, all that Sobhani hopes for his citizenship to be restored soon.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Iran   virginia   Iranian 

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