Moving to Washington DC with the World Bank Group? Whether you are planning your move to DC, have just arrived or have been in the US for years, here is some important practical information to help guide you through the relocation process as a WBG spouse/partner. For detailed information, read our Welcoming Handbook and attend our information seminars and welcoming events posted on our Activities page. Join our WBFN Buddy WhatsApp Group for Newcomers to DC for practical information, tips and support in real time, anytime. Please see attached WhatsApp group document with some useful tips collected by some of WBFN members. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for any specific request or to share information.
Support—Headquarters—ID & Documentation
Shortly after arriving in Washington, DC, you will need to obtain a number of identification documents and numbers e.g. a Social Security Number, a Personal Identification Number (PID), and a driver’s license. The following sections outline some of the key items you might need, and how to go about getting them.
As a spouse/partner, you are entitled to a WBG ID card which gives you access to the WBG buildings and facilities as well as the IMF buildings. To get this card, the WBG staff member must register you as a dependent with the Benefits unit and accompany you (or send electronic authorization) to the WBG ID Office in the Main Complex (MC). You must bring some form of photo identification, such as a passport or driver's license. The ID Office will take your photo and issue you a card, usually within a few minutes. If for some reason you cannot complete this process during your visit, a staff member can request a one-day guest card for you at the security desk or by submitting a request via “Visitor Pass” in the Favorites drop-down menu on the WBG intranet homepage. You will still be required to show photo identification to enter any WBG/IMF building.
Main Complex (MC) Building
700 18th Street N.W., Washington DC
1st Level; Suite 120
An I-94 number (or record of admission) is a number issued by the US Department of Homeland Security to non-immigrant aliens who are admitted to the US. In the past, non-immigrants were issued a paper copy of the I-94 card which was attached to their passport upon arrival in the US. In early 2013, the system was automated, and they no longer receive a printed card. Instead, an electronic record is kept. If a paper copy is required for a driver’s license, work authorization, or SSN application, it can be obtained from the I-94 website.
Every staff member who comes to WBG Headquarters in Washington DC on a G-4 visa must apply through the WBG for a PID from the US State Department. If the staff member is accompanied by their family, all members of the family should apply for PID at the same time. If a family member arrives at a later date, the staff must obtain a PID for them through the WBG after they have arrived. It is important to apply for the PID as soon as you arrive, since it can take some time to receive and is required for obtaining important documents like a work authorization.
Note: The PID is issued by the State Department, but it can only be obtained through the WBG’s visa services.
You can obtain a US SSN after receiving your work authorization. Any Social Security Administration office near you can assist, but the office at 1300 D Street SW, Washington DC 20024 is recommended.
Applicants must take the following documents:
- Employment Authorization Card (EAC)
- Current Social Security Card (if the applicant already has one)
- I-94 number
There has been a considerable amount of confusion about whether or not G-4 visa holders and their dependents need a SSN. The following information is taken from an information bulletin issued by Social Security Administration, titled Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens.
"As a G-4 holder or G-4 dependent, you are not obliged to have a Social Security number to conduct business with a bank or financial institution (such as Bank Fund Staff Federal Credit Union). Ask for IRS form W-8 Certification of Foreign Status. However, a SSN is often required by most US lenders and other service companies e.g. cell phone carriers. A family member does not need a Social Security number to register for school. Schools are not authorized to use Social Security numbers to administer education programs, and will assign internal numbers. A student applying for the SAT, GRE, or other educational test does not need a Social Security number to take the test."
The following are guidelines for obtaining a driver's license. Make sure to check the website of your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office each time you have to go there as there may have been some changes in state laws!
Each jurisdiction (State) - the District of Columbia (DC), Maryland, Virginia - has its own rules about obtaining a driver’s license. Please check the DMV websites for current information, service center location, hours of operation, required documents, etc.
- Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
- Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
- Washington, DC Department of Motor Vehicles
After becoming a resident (by either renting or buying a residence in the state), you have to apply for a driving license from that state within a certain period of time. The length of this period varies depending on the rules of each state. We advise you to obtain a license promptly. It will serve as your personal ID in many situations.
Generally, the process of obtaining a license can involve most of the following:
- An application
- A vision test
- A computer test on traffic rules, if applicable
- A road test (which would involve you arriving with a friend’s or relative’s car)
- Payment of a fee
Pay careful attention to what documentation to bring when you apply for a license. These documents include but are not limited to:
- Your passport
- Your lease agreement or buyer’s contract (which should be in the WBG staff member and spouse/partner’s name)
- A utility bill (carrying both your names) showing you are in fact living at the address of your lease/property
- Green Card (if you have one)
- Current foreign driving license
- SSN Card and EAC, OR a letter from the Social Security Administration Office if you do not have an EAC yet. This letter states that you are currently non-eligible for SSN.
- Marriage certificate can be useful to take (stating you are legally married to the WBG staff member)
US staff and US permanent residents do not require any special assistance from the WBG for obtaining driver's licenses. However, G-4 staff (except those married to persons with "A" visas as noted below) and their G-4 dependents must present written confirmation of their visa status from the US State Department when initially obtaining and/or at the time of the first renewal of their driver's licenses.
To obtain this written confirmation, send an email to email@example.com and provide your UPI (the number on your WBG ID card), your name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth, visa type, and residential address. The request will then be faxed by the WBG Employment Verification Desk to the State Department's Driver Services Office on Wednesdays. DO NOT contact the State Department – they will not help you. The Driver Services Office will fax the confirmation letter back to WBG Benefits.
Please allow at least 4-6 weeks for this service. The WBG staff member should contact HR Operations through the myHR page on the WB intranet or call 202-473-2222 to check if the letter is ready for pickup. For DC residents, a copy of the letter will be faxed directly to the DMV. For Maryland and Virginia residents, the copy you receive should be accepted by the DMV. Make sure to take it with you when you apply for your license. Note that State Department Driver's License letter must be used within 90 days of the date on the letter.
G-4 staff married to persons holding "A" visas and affiliated with embassies, and their dependents, will obtain their driver's licenses (whether for the first time or for renewal) from the Office of Foreign Missions. The State Department's Drivers Services Office should be contacted for information on how to obtain these licenses, as well as what documentation is required.
Please note that all area DMVs have considerably tightened their policies and requirements, and continue to do so.