Doctor loses US citizenship 61 years after living in America
Siavash Sobhani, a long-time resident of North Virginia and a respected doctor, has recently been stripped of his citizenship at the age of 61.
He told The Washington Post that he received a letter from the US State Department in February, following his application for a new passport, stating that his father was a diplomat at the Iranian Embassy and he should not have been awarded citizenship at the time of his birth.
The letter states that children born in the United States to parents enjoying diplomatic immunity do not automatically become citizens of the United States. It said Sobhani enjoyed diplomatic immunity from the jurisdiction of the US at the time of his birth and so he did not acquire citizenship.
But this is Sobhani’s first experience with this problem in his more than thirty years of practicing medicine. Every time his passport was reissued during his life, the US State Department again verified that he was an American citizen.
Siavash Sobhani, who turned 62 recently, had begun to consider retiring. He and his spouse intended to travel the world for a year in search of a neighbourhood where they could purchase a house.
He must now apply for lawful permanent residence and fulfil the State Department’s guidelines.
He disclosed to The Washington Post that he has already incurred over USD 40,000 in legal expenses and is uncertain about the potential resolution date of his case.
“I’m 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 told the Post.
Additionally, he has written to the senator from Virginia and his congressional representative, asking for their assistance.
Gerald Edward Connolly, the congressman representing Virginia’s 11th congressional district, corresponded with US Citizenship and Immigration Services on the physician’s behalf subsequent to Sobhani’s letter.
Siavash Sobhani’s future is uncertain because he has spoken out against the Iranian regime and is therefore unable to live there safely. In addition, he’s not sure if he’ll get a passport in time to travel to Portugal for his son’s wedding the following year.
The physician is unable to even see his gravely ill father-in-law, who resides in Lebanon.