How I Moved from Missouri to Italy and Started My Dream Business

  • Jennifer Sontag was an empty brood living in the Midwest who was bored at work and needed a change.
  • She applied for Italian nationality and, once obtained, she moved to Italy.
  • Here’s how she started her business and started living her dream, as Caroline Chirichella said.

This narrated essay is based on a conversation with Jennifer Sontag, the 49-year-old owner of Concierge of Italian nationality. It has been edited for length and clarity.

The idea of ​​moving to Italy came to me in 2015 when I learned about the possibility of acquiring Italian citizenship thanks to my ancestors.

At first, moving to Italy seemed crazy. But it was just as well.

I was living in the Midwest and had recently become an empty nest, divorced and looking for a career change.

I was ready for something new.

I want to live a more peaceful life at a slower pace, and Italy was a good choice

Of course, as a serial entrepreneur, I was also excited to start a new career chapter.

I started researching the idea of ​​obtaining citizenship in 2016, but it wasn’t until January 2020 that I got serious and started gathering all the necessary documents.

When I started looking for agencies to help me with my Italian citizenship, I felt like I was not seen or heard.

I had to choose between doing the work myself or paying an agency up to $10,000. Finding all the necessary documents to obtain dual citizenship by descent is a roller coaster ride. I was confused and frustrated, and even the lawyers I hired to help me were confused.

I ended up applying, which took a few months. I finally received my nationality in March 2021. The process cost me 3,400 euros.

I saw a gap in the market for people like me, which eventually led me to start my business, Italian Citizenship Concierge.

When I finally arrived in Terrasini, Sicily in March 2021, the thought of starting a business felt overwhelming.

But it turned out to be simple to sign up as a business consultant. I met a salespersonthe Italian equivalent of an accountant – who helped with legal documents, which only cost around 500 euros.

Since my consultation was for US clients, I also had to set up a registration in the US, which cost about the same amount.

My business started very organically. While working on my citizenship process, I started helping other people I met on different social media groups. This network has given me a head start in my business. People on Facebook asked me questions, I gave them advice and shared my experience.

Seeing the request for help, I started to draw up a business plan and decided to go ahead with the caretaker of Italian citizenship.

Soon the people I had helped strictly as a mentor started referring other clients to me. They started connecting me with referrals in late 2021. I spent April 2021 to December 2021 mentoring people while I was building a website that launched in January 2022.

Since starting my business, I have helped over 20 clients and their families complete their citizenship applications, with five incoming applicants this month.

The whole process usually takes about 4 months from arrival to recognition

The average cost for everything – which includes collection of documents, apostilles, translations, our assistance, rent for four months and fees paid to Italy for processing the application – is around $10,000.

We try to take care of everything. Obtaining citizenship can start a new life for many, so I help clients integrate into the community.

This is where having a friendly relationship with the locals comes in handy – finding accommodation, finding schools, finding the right butcher.

Life in Italy is so different, and I really embrace it all

I can wake up when it suits me and walk on the beach in the morning. I then sit in front of my laptop and catch up on emails with clients. I take long lunches that even involve dessert.

Running my business in Italy even allows for an afternoon siesta before meeting clients and partners in the US in the evening.

It feels like a dream because sometimes it is.

Many Americans eligible for Italian citizenship have realized the potential merits of living in a country with free health care and a balanced lifestyle without the fear of guns.

I still have time for my daily walks, naps and ice cream – but it’s much busier now with lots of requests

Since the overthrow of Roe v. Wade and other political challenges in the United States, I also see a steady supply of potential clients, especially women who no longer feel safe.

Many of my clients are intrigued by the idea of ​​”slow living”, especially now that they can work remotely due to all the changes the pandemic has brought about. I have also helped several families with young children to leave the United States in search of a better life.

I like my business to be about people. When people get dual citizenship, they get a new passport. It creates new opportunities and a new chapter, just like it did for me.

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