Moving to Houston
Are you moving to Houston in the USA?
Let us help you plan your relocation and discover everything Houston 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!
The home of NASA’s Mission Control Center, Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States of America, with an estimated population of some 2 million. It’s said there’s no place quite like Houston with its mix of world-class arts, booming business, professional sports teams award-winning cuisine and southern hospitality.
Houston’s development was due to its role as a transport hub through the Port of Houston and the railways for the region’s cotton and timber products. The discovery of oil in 1901 helped transform the identity of the city. From the mid-twentieth century onwards Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Centre (the world’s largest concentration of health-care and research institutions), and the Johnson Space Centre where NASA’s original Apollo Mission Control Centreer is located.
Houston has a seven-mile (11kms) system of air-conditioned tunnels and skywalks linking the downtown shops and restaurants, allowing pedestrians to avoid the intense summer heat and heavy rain. Today Houston is a reflection of its tremendous post-War growth. Older downtown buildings are dwarfed by the modern office towers that define the city skyline.
As one of the few American cities with a professional symphony orchestra and resident professional companies in ballet, opera and theatre, the downtown theatre district is home to arts. The Houston region and 24 surrounding counties possess striking natural beauty, unique biodiversity and globally important ecological resources.
The world’s first ‘domed’ and air-conditioned sports stadium, the Astrodome is in Houston and until 1999 was home to the city’s professional baseball team the ‘Astros.’ This impressive structure is home to the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – the largest event of its kind in the world. Close to the city are a number of lakes, wildlife refuges and Galveston Island beaches, as well as an arboretum in the city and the Sam Houston National Forest to the north, all of which provide vaired outdoor recreational opportunities. The Armand Bayou Nature Centre preserves the wetlands, prairie, forest, and marsh habitats of the Texas Gulf Coast. The city is also home to the Downtown Aquarium, Houston Zoo, Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts and of course, NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre, one of the few places on earth you can see moon rocks up close. For more details of the city and its attractions visit the official tourist website at www.visithoustontexas.com.
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.
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 Houston 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 Houston 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
Houston has an excellent public transport system, incorporating buses and light rail, details of all these options can found at www.ridemetro.org.
If you do choose to drive in Houston, the first point to bear in mind is that in the US, they drive on the opposite side of the road to that in New Zealand. For those planning to live in Houston, then a car will be useful, but when it comes to commuting, the public transport system is again recommended.
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, and if staying in the US, you should apply for a US driving licence.
Houston’s main airport is the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and there are two other airports -, the William P Hobby Airport and Ellington Airport. Between the three of them, services are available not only to most cities across the USA, but around the world.
There are ten universities in the city, and many more colleges of higher education. 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.
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 www.ifhp.com.
When choosing where to live in Houston, the deciding factor for expats is normally how close you need to be to your work or your 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 (and apartment) prices in Houston are expensive. Looking for a home in Houston can quite often be a daunting task, Crown can advise on rental accommodation or purchasing properties and can also arrange temporary accommodation.
Houston’s position as an internationally-recognised centre of commerce means that you are bound to meet people from all walks of life. Expatriates commonly assimilate into the community through the sports and hobbies they are interested in. The business environment that Houston is famous for provides numerous opportunities to meet new people. Social media is also a great way to get to know like-minded people.
Crown Relocations has 50 years of international moving experience relocating individuals and families to Houston and throughout the USA. To arrange a quotation call our office for an obligation FREE quote on: 0508 227 696 or you can use our online quote forms: Instant Quote, Quick Quote, Home Visit Request
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.