The movement, which appeared in the early 1970s, is American in origin and exists primarily in the United States
, though it has expanded to other countries. Notably, the freeman on the land
movement, an offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement with similar doctrines, emerged during the 2000s in Canada
before spreading to other Commonwealth
However, sovereign citizens as such have also appeared in these countries and others. In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) describes sovereign citizens as "anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or "sovereign" from the United States."