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Washington DC - Employment

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Accompanying spouses without a valid working visa are not permitted to work in the US. The process is similar to applying for a working visa for the expatriate who has been assigned to the US. Even if accompanying non-working spouses apply and are issued with a Social Security number together with their working spouses, this does not automatically grant them permission to work.

With a valid working visa, expatriates can try job listings that are specific to the DC area such as advertisements in the newspapers (e.g. The Washington Post) or The City Paper (Washington DC). Craigslist.org is another option.

DC industries range from aerospace to agriculture, trade to education, forestry, fishing and high technology. DC is home to international companies such as Microsoft, Boeing and Weyerhaeuser, and some of the world's finest vineyards. According to the Washington Business Journal Book of Lists (2008), the leading employers in DC are: Lockheed Martin (22,000), Northrup Grumman (20,000), SAIC (16,000), Inova Health System (15,000), University of Maryland (15,000), Marriott International Inc (14,500), MedStar Health (13,000), Verizon Communications (13,000) and Booz Allen Hamilton (11,000). While there are many choices for the expatriate, note that the primary employer in DC is the US government – most US citizens working and living in DC are likely to be employed in the US government service.

There is a strong work culture here in DC. The average age of DC residents is 35 years, and generally, DC residents work long hours. Many DC residents have high education qualifications, and can be competitive, driven and motivated. This contributes to the high stress level experienced by working residents in DC.

There are ten Federal Public Holidays in the US. New Year's Day (January 1st), Martin Luther King's Birthday (3rd Monday in January), Washington's Birthday (3rd Monday in February), Memorial Day (last Monday in May), Independence Day (July 4th), Labor Day (1st Monday in September), Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October), Veterans Day (November 11th), Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November) and Christmas Day (December 25th). If the public holiday falls on a Saturday, the holiday is usually observed on the previous Friday; if the public holiday falls on a Sunday, the holiday is observed on the following Monday. States also observe other days, such as Lincoln's Birthday (February 12th) and Good Friday (usually in March or April).

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.