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Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

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International Business

Washington, DC has many faces. It is the home to the U.S. government while being remarkably international with approximately 180 resident embassies and respected global economic and policy organizations. DC is serviced by three airports with 62 nonstop international destinations and welcomed 23.8 million visitors in 2018.1

TOP OVERSEAS MARKETS TO DC (number of visitors, 2018)2

1. China  226,000
2. United Kingdom 191,000
3. India  117,000
4. Germany 114,000
5. Brazil 100,000

The Washington, DC region is home to 400 international associations and 1,000 internationally owned companies. Fifteen of the Fortune 500 companies call this region home, and they represent a variety of industries from international hospitality to finance to technology. Washington, DC, is a thriving marketplace for ideas, inclusive innovation, and invention. It is considered one of the most accessible and welcoming of U.S. cities, with its low-profile skyline and with a lifestyle and culture that are the envy of other world capitals.

The District of Columbia has the strongest economy in the United States.3

Washington, DC, is a hub for thought leadership and global policy makers. Organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace consider Washington, DC, as a focal point for critical international conversations about the world economy, global politics, the environment, and peace. If your business is seeking to have an impact at an international level, this is the place for you.

Washington, DC Metro Area

Population 5 6.25 million
Median Household Income6 $97,148

 Washington, DC5

Population4 702,455
Population increase (Since 2010) 16.7%
Daytime Population 1.15 million
Population with Bachelor's Degree 57%
Population with Graduate degree or higher 33%

Nonstop International Destinations7                 Daily Departures         Destinations

Reagan National Airport (DCA) 415                            97                 
Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) 325 84
Dulles International Airport (IAD) - domestic 261 87
Dulles International Airport (IAD) - international 70 57

International Business Resources

DC China Center
With locations in Shanghai and Beijing, the DC China Center assists DC businesses with promoting and exporting their goods and services to China. This team also focuses on attracting Chinese foreign direct investment and encouraging Chinese businesses to expand their operations to DC. 

ExportDC advises DC-based businesses on how to sell their products and services in other countries. The team helps you determine if your business is export-ready, and counsels you on how to prepare to export. 

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
Designed to stimulate job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, this federal program sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with approved regional centers. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the EB-5 program.

Several changes to the program went into effect on November 21, 2019. We will no longer be certifying Targeted Employment Area (TEA) letters as the USCIS will now directly review and determine these designations. If you are a Regional Center interested in investing in a DC-based project within a TEA, please contact the USCIS directly.

International Business Guides
The DC Chamber of Commerce's International Business Guides provide relevant information for foreign firms considering entering the U.S. market and establishing a presence in Washington, DC. The guides are available in five different languages: English, Mandarin, French, Spanish, and Arabic

Office of International Affairs
The Office of International Affairs is located within the Office of the Secretary of State of the District of Columbia and is the District government's primary liaison with the diplomatic and international community for both substantive and ceremonial matters. 


1. DestinationDC, 2019; 2. TMI, 2018; 3. Business Insider, 2019; 4. Delta Associates, Real Capital Analytics, 8/2019; 5. US Census Bureau, 2018 Population Estimates; 6. American Community Survey, 2013–2017; 7. BWI, IAD & DCA, retrieved 8/2019