Now Sweden’s Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern) has ordered the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) to pay the woman 1,000 kronor ($130) because of the mistake.
The woman, who has a Canadian father and a Swedish mother, was technically born a dual citizen in 1984 and resided in Sweden.
Around her eighth birthday, the woman’s father applied for her to receive a Canadian passport.
In the process, the Swedish consulate in Vancouver sent some documents to tax authorities which caused the agency to mistakenly change the woman’s records to indicate that she had given up her Swedish citizenship.
From that point on, she was only a Canadian citizen in the eyes of the Swedish state.
Neither the woman nor her parents were ever informed of the clerical error.
She only learned of the mistake eleven years later, in 2003, when her mother attempted to renew her daughter’s Swedish passport only to discover she was not a Swedish citizen.
A subsequent appeal by the woman’s mother to have her daughter’s citizenship reinstated was denied without explanation.
Soon thereafter, the woman was informed by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) that she couldn’t stay in Sweden because she lacked a residence permit.
She was awarded a residence permit seven months later, in the middle of 2004, and eventually applied for and received her Swedish citizenship in 2005.
It was when her Swedish citizenship was reinstated that the Tax Agency confessed that she never should have lost it in the first place.
The woman took her case to the Chancellor of Justice in hopes of recouping the costs of reapplying for her citizenship, as well as an award to compensate for the nearly 20,000 kronor in Swedish student aid she was denied because she wasn’t a citizen.
In the end however, the chancellor ruled that it was unclear of the tax authorities had committed a clear mistake that would qualify the woman to compensation any greater than the 1,000 kronor she spent to regain her citizenship.