Read the full comprehensive report, The Sovereign Citizen Movement: Common Documentary Identifiers & Examples (PDF).
The sovereign citizen movement is a right-wing anti-government extremist movement that dates back to 1970. In its nearly half-century history, adherents of the movement have employed a large number of pseudo-legal arguments and concepts and evolved a number of linguistic and other “tics” that make many documents created by sovereign citizens very identifiable. If noticed and recognized, such identifiers can provide timely warning that the person responsible for the documents may be involved with this extreme movement.
This resource provides examples of many of the most common such documentary identifiers, most of which are unique to members of the sovereign citizen movement. Nevertheless, people should always carefully analyze identifiers only in the context in which they appear and not make assumptions.
This document may also be useful in helping people determine if someone is not an adherent of the sovereign citizen movement. In recent years, many people, ranging from vexatious litigators to the mentally ill, have been confused with sovereign citizens, because their documents or filings may be angry, anti-government, or essentially incomprehensible. However, a document that contains none of the identifiers listed here may well be unrelated to the sovereign citizen movement.
Sovereign citizen ideology, in a nutshell, claims that well over a century ago an insidious conspiracy began to infiltrate and subvert the original, legitimate “de jure” government, slowly replacing it with an illegitimate, tyrannical “de facto” government. People who discover this fact can take certain steps to divorce themselves from the illegitimate government—becoming sovereign citizens—and once they have done so, they are essentially immune to the laws, rules, regulations, taxes, and courts of the illegitimate government, which has no jurisdiction over them.
Many sovereign citizen documentary identifiers are thus related to establishing the person as a sovereign or in creating separation and distance between them and the government they perceive as illegitimate.