Moving to Washington DC
Are you moving to Washington, D.C. in the USA?
Let us help you plan your relocation and discover everything Washington, D.C. 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!
Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia) is the capital of the United States of America and is located the northern shore of the Potomac River on the country’s east coast. Modern-day Washington D.C. is home to some 660,000 people and is an extraordinary city with a history that can be traced back as far back as the signing of Residence Act on July 16, 1790., It is also a city one with multiple personalities: a working federal city, an international metropolis, a picturesque tourist destination, an unmatched treasury of the country’s history and artefacts and a cosmopolitan city-centre which retains a neighbourly and small-town ambience.
Washington will always be associated with being the centre of US Government, through its iconic monuments such as the White House, the Jefferson Monument and the Lincoln Memorial (where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963). It has the cultural and entertainment gems you would associate from other major city international cities of the same status, including the Smithsonian Museums (a collection of 19 internationally-recognised museums, some of which have become even more well-known due to being featured in the Night at the Museum movies), the Arlington National Cemetery, or the Washington Zoo (where you can see New Zealand’s iconic national bird, the Kiwi, on display), Georgetown (where the suburb’s cobble-stone streets are lined with meticulously-restored houses, and upscale boutiques and restaurants). There’s also iconic historic sites such as the Whitehouse, the Lincoln Memorial, or perhaps gaze at the Declaration of Independence in the National Archives Building. The arts are not neglected either with the National Theatre, the Kennedy Centre and the Folger Theatre all providing a showcase for the best America and the rest of the world can provide. For more details of the city and its attractions visit the official tourist website at http://thedistrict.com.
Visas / Permits
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 Washington 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 Washington 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
Washington has an excellent public transport system, incorporating buses and Metro trains, details of all these options can found at www.godcgo.com
If you do choose to drive in Washington, 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 Washington, then a car will be useful. When it comes to commuting, the public transport system is again recommended, as whilst there is resident’s parking available in most suburbs it is limited.
You can drive in the US on a NZ drivers licence but only for a short period, 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.
Washington has three international airports; Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and as you can imagine, between the three of them, most major cities around the globe have direct flights to and from Washington.
There are eight universities in Washington, the largest of which is University of the District of Columbia and in terms of 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 Relocations 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 Washington, 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 Washington are expensive. Looking for a home in Washington can quite often be a daunting task but Crown can advise on rental accommodation and/or purchasing properties and we can also arrange for temporary accommodation.
Washington‘s position as the capital of the US, and the associated consulting, public relations and policy industries which go hand-in-hand with being at the centre of national Government 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 Washington 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 Washington 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.