In a post-pandemic world, more and more people across the U.S. are feeling the pull of their roots beckoning them back to their homelands. For a growing number of Italian Americans, their ancestors’ voices waft from the cobblestone lanes of Amalfi, the sprawling vineyards of Sicily, the cultural mecca of Florence, and every tiny hamlet in between in a serenade of la dolce vita. But the return to their beloved Italy can be a process that is fraught with complications and bureaucratic red tape. It is a path that Lauren Hopkins, herself an Italian American, successfully navigated, and one she is now helping others traverse. Through her company, Your Italian Passport, she is delivering the “sweet life” to those who seek Italian dual citizenship.
Since founding Your Italian Passport in Florida more than a decade ago, Lauren has served thousands of clients throughout the world with the assistance of a competent, globally placed staff and a simple mission—fulfill dreams. As an experienced attorney and former state and federal prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.,
Lauren could have opened a law firm serving the influential, the powerful, and the uber-wealthy. Instead, she launched a company committed to helping those who seek a new way of life. “Not only am I proud of my nearly eight years of public service, but I think this background gives our clients confidence in working with an agency and an attorney located in another state or even country, and who they may only ever meet via Zoom,” she says.
We spoke with Lauren to learn more about Your Italian Passport, how they’re helping people achieve Italian dual citizenship, and why her personal experience is of such great benefit.
Having been through the dual citizenship process yourself, can you elaborate on some of the typical pitfalls you help your clients avoid?
Italian law provides citizenship to those of Italian descent, assuming their family history aligns with the various provisions of the law. Applicants are required to present their family tree in the form of documentation—vital records, naturalization documents, ships’ manifests, other historical records—to the Italian government. Your Italian Passport conducts historical research, compiles these records, and prepares clients for presentation of their citizenship applications.
Tell us a little bit more about your role, Lauren.
I’m the face of the company, so I personally handle all initial consultations, and I’m also responsible for managing of a team of attorneys, records collectors, and translators, who compile and ready the required documents for presentation to the Italian Embassy and consulates in the U.S. and abroad, and via court in Italy.
Does having gone through the process yourself give you a better understanding and a deeper appreciation for your clients’ journeys to dual citizenship?
It definitely does. I’ve been on the other side, whereas who’s heading the few other companies in this space have not. Using my legal expertise, I can help clients maneuver through the legalities, the research, and all the documentation requirements. But I can also relate personally to their situation, anticipate their questions, and empathize with their anxiety and their eagerness to reach the end of the process. At the end of the day, it’s about building the relationships with my legal counterparts and government officials in Italy. Sometimes it’s smooth and sometimes it’s a rocky road, but I will always get them across the finish line.
Are you seeing an increase in people seeking dual Italian citizenship in recent years? If so, why do you think this is?
Absolutely. While many people have contemplated this for years, changes in the U.S., be they political, legal, or otherwise, have altered the way many Americans perceive their home country. In this time of flux and uncertainty, pursuit of ancestral citizenship provides option and opportunity that many are taking advantage of.
Lastly, Lauren, what would you say are your most valued experiences since starting Your Italian Passport?
Starting with an investment of only $750 and building a company that has helped thousands achieve their dual-citizenship dreams. I get a such joy out of being the conductor—and it’s a big orchestra to lead. What is most rewarding is connecting our clients with their family history because everyone—even those with knowledge about their ancestry learns something. I love being part of their journeys and that discovery. It truly is a privilege.
Lauren is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and the Schreyer Honors College at Pennsylvania State University. Your Italian Passport is a corporate sponsor and partner, for purposes of Italian dual-citizenship, of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), the largest organization of Italian Americans in the United States.
Founder, Your Italian Passport
LinkedIn: Your Italian Passport
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