Crown Relocations is NZ’s leading moving company.

Moving To San Francisco From New Zealand

Let us help you plan your relocation and discover everything San Francisco has to offer. Crown are an international relocations company, specialising in international removals, storage, overseas moving, movers insurance, relocation services and lots more. We will even relocate your vehicle and pets!

Our team is available to answer any relocation questions you may have. They can be reached between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm from Monday to Friday on 0508 227 696 or email [email protected]

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About The San Francisco

San Francisco is a beautiful city by ‘The Bay’, set along the blue water of the Pacific Ocean, on the west coast of the USA, with rolling hills and its unique mix of architecture. It contains some of California’s most notable landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The city is known for many more things: the cable cars, Pier 39 (or Fisherman’s Wharf) where the sea lions snooze in the sunshine, the Golden Gate Park (which at 1017 acres, makes it one of the largest urban parks in the world); the late Steve McQueen’s Ford Mustang being chased through the city streets in the movie Bullitt, or the many culinary delights of China Town.

The city is the cultural, commercial, and financial centre of Northern California, and surprisingly covers only 46.9 square miles (121 km2). It also has a relatively small population of some 850,000, although when you include the wider San Jose and San Francisco-Oakland areas, the population increases to 8.6 million.

San Francisco is a very popular destination to both move to and visit with many things to do and see, a good place to start is the official tourist website at

Visas / Permits in San Francisco

New Zealanders need an Immigrant Visa to be able to live in the USA and details of how to obtain one can be found at the United States Diplomatic Mission to New Zealand’s website.

Money in San Francisco

The official currency of the United States of America is the US Dollar, shops and service providers will only accept the US Dollar. Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents, and notes in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills.

Many migrants who have relocated to San Francisco have found it helpful to set up a US bank account before moving to the country. This makes it easy for converted money to be transferred straight in to your account, as well as minimising the need to carry cash while travelling. There are many banks in San Francisco who offer an on-line sign-up service.

The best way to convert large sums of money is through online transfer companies, who provide a much cheaper rate. Crown has entered into a partnership with OFX to provide an easy, reliable and cost effective solution for clients who are moving their funds internationally. The deals offered by OFX are at super competitive exchange rates and in most cases there’s no fee. The cost structure is so good that the saving you make may even pay for the entire cost of your relocation. To register and for more information visit OFX

Transportation in San Francisco

San Francisco has an excellent public transport system, and details can found at

If you do choose to drive in San Francisco you’ll need to keep in mind that in the US, they drive on the opposite side of the road to New Zealand drivers.

The city’s roads are narrow and congested with very limited parking, to the point that visitors are advised not to rent a car while staying in the city but to use the extensive public transport system. For those planning to live in San Francisco, then a car will be useful and limited resident’s parking is available to apply for in most suburbs.

You can drive in the US on a NZ drivers licence, but only for a short period, and the US Embassy in New Zealand recommends that you apply for an International Driver Permit. If you are staying in the US, you should definitely apply for a US driving licence.

San Francisco has a major international airport, with flights to most major destinations around the world, there are also services to cities within America. The airport is linked to the city by the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system.

Education in San Francisco

There are six universities in the San Francisco, the most famous of which are the iconic University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Universities. With regards to the local schooling system, there are both private and public education services available for children in America. Most expatriates choose to enrol their children in private or independent schools, this is because state schools are generally based on ‘catchment areas’.

The school year begins in September and ends in June, typical school-days run Monday-Friday from 8.30am to 3pm although this can depend upon the age of the children.

Students generally travel to school by car with their parents, or in some cases, take the school bus (the bright yellow ones you see in the movies), others will cycle or walk.

Crown can arrange an appointment with a Specialist Education consultant who can provide an in-depth explanation of local education systems, the curricula available and arranging interviews, as well as assist with enrolment requirements. Please contact us for information and rates.

Health in San Francisco

America has a public health-care system, called Medicare, but most people take out private insurance as well. If the insurance company you were with in New Zealand is a member of the International Federation of Health Funds, you may be able to transfer your policy to the USA without penalty – at a similar level of cover. Check with your insurance provider for details, or visit

Accommodation in San Francisco

When choosing where to live in San Francisco, the deciding factor for expats is normally how close you need to be to your work or tour children’s school. The cost of accommodation and commuting to work are also significant considerations.

Rather than purchasing a home, most expatriates choose to rent, at least at first. This is because house prices in San Francisco are expensive. As is the case in most of the largest, most sought after, American cities, looking for a home in San Francisco can often be a daunting task. , and Crown has the expertise to advise on rental accommodation or purchasing properties and we can also arrange for your family to have access to temporary accommodation.

Networking in San Francisco

San Francisco‘s diverse, multi-cultural population means that you are bound to meet people from all walks of life. Expatriates blend into the community through the sports, and hobbies and socialising they are interested in.

The relaxed environment that California is justifiably famous for provides numerous opportunities to meet new people. Social media is also a great way to get to know like-minded people.

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Moving to San Francisco? Go knowing with Crown

Next Steps

Crown Relocations has 55 years of international moving experience relocating individuals and families to San Francisco and throughout the USA.

To arrange a quotation call our office for an obligation FREE quote on: (NZ) 0508 227 696 or you can use our online quote form.

For more information read our blog: Why you should choose Crown for your move to the United States.

To convert your money to US dollars the cheapest and most reliable way, check out our guide for Moving Your Money.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.

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