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Moving to Norfolk?

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Norfolk at a Glance

Moving to Norfolk

As Norfolk is a popular expat city, chances are that you too might also be considering moving to Norfolk. Congratulations on this great choice! This guide briefs you on the most important aspects of preparing your move to Norfolk, such as local demographics, climate, visas, and more.

About the City    

Norfolk is an independent city, situated in the state of Virginia, USA. It is one of nine cities which make up the Hampton Roads Metropolitan area, bordering the city of Chesapeake to the south, the Chesapeake Bay to the north, and Virginia Beach to the east.

With an estimated population of almost 250,000 in 2014, Norfolk is the second most populous city in Virginia and one of the oldest cities of Hampton Roads. 

The city is home to the world’s largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk, and has a long-standing naval heritage which includes the sites of two NATO Strategic Headquarters. With a bustling and dynamic population, Norfolk is considered the center for culture, history and financial institutions for the Hampton Road region.

Bordered by several large bodies of water including the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach on the Atlantic Ocean and the large Elizabeth River, Norfolk is also the headquarters of Maersk Line Limited, managing the largest fleet of US-flag vessels and has historically been a central point for military transportation and strategy.

The Climate in Norfolk

Expats moving to Norfolk will experience a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and warm, sunny summers due to the city’s proximity to the coast. 

Winter can see temperatures falling to slightly above freezing, which can feel cooler as a result of winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Typically the coldest month is January, which provides occasional snowfall. A record low temperature of -2°F (-19°C) has been recorded during the winter season.

March heralds the spring season with temperatures steadily rising to provide consistently warm, humid summers from June to September, with July typically being the warmest month of the year; temperatures can reach highs of around 104°F (40°C). Again, the Atlantic Ocean often provides a cooling effect on the air temperature but can also warm temperature drops at night. 

August is frequented by thunderstorms and an increase in tropical weather activity such as tropical storms and hurricanes after which fall commences and sees mild weather throughout with cooler nights as the onset of winter approaches.

Visas for the United States

To enter the USA you must, in most cases, obtain a visa before arrival. Check with your embassy regarding exemptions, but if you are not eligible to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or exempt from the visa requirement, you must apply for, and obtain, your visa prior to moving to Norfolk.

There are two main categories of visas in the USA: non-immigrant and immigrant. A non-immigrant visa is required for anyone looking to stay in the USA temporarily and covers visits for the purpose of tourism, business, to study or to work for anyone not exempt from the visa requirement or able to travel under the VWP program mentioned above.

An immigrant visa is one required by anyone wanting to remain in the USA indefinitely or to take up permanent residence. Once granted, the visa holder will be processed for a Permanent Residence Card (PRC) or Green Card on arrival in the USA.

Please note that permanent residency and US citizenship are two separate entities and have different processes involved. For more information, you can also refer to our dedicated articles on Visa & Administration in the USA.

InterNations Expat Magazine