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Relocation Guidelines

We would like to assist you with your first major task -- relocating to the Washington, D.C. metro area. The Bureau pays certain amounts for the cost of travel, transportation, and temporary storage of household goods to the first duty station of persons appointed to certain positions such as the one you have accepted.

To help you make this move, we have prepared this website outlining the procedures involved. Please read through the contents carefully and note the information requested on the Form CD-150 - Request for Authorization of Travel and Moving Expenses. YOU MUST HAVE AN APPROVED AUTHORIZATION BEFORE YOU INCUR ANY TRAVEL EXPENSES. It is very important that you fill out the CD-150 completely. New hires are not entitled to expenses for sections 20-23 on the form.

NOTE: A signed service agreement, approved CD-29, Travel Authorization and a CD-150, Request for Authorization of Travel and Moving Expenses must be issued to the relocating employee prior to incurring any expenses. The CD-29 and CD-150 should be completed, approved, and issued at least six weeks prior to the enter-on-duty date (EOD). This is especially true if you are moving under the CBL Method (See 3A below). Please keep this in mind when you are determining a beginning employment date with the Census Bureau.

If you have any questions on this information, you may contact the Travel Management and Policy Branch on 301-763-7840. 

Travel and Transportation Information

The travel order authorizes the Government to reimburse new appointees for the following expenses:

1.       Travel to first duty station - You may be reimbursed for the travel expenses associated with your trip to your first duty station. If you travel by air, you must use a government contract carrier when available. Travel arrangements must be made through our Travel Management Center.  Please contact your hiring division for reservation information. If you drive, the Government will reimburse you .18 per mile.

2.       Per Diem En route - The Government will reimburse you a per diem allowance for daily living expenses to cover the costs of lodging and meals while you are traveling to your first duty assignment. To be eligible for this type of reimbursement, you must have an approved authorization to travel and you must be in a travel status in excess of 12 hours, and travel at a minimum of 300 miles per day (when driving), lodging must be 50 miles from duty station. Remember to keep lodging receipts if you have to stay at a hotel or motel overnight while en route. Please note, however, that per diem can only be paid for the new appointee, and not for a spouse or children. Therefore, if your travel requires overnight lodging and you have a family, be sure to record the lodging rate applicable for a single person, so that the correct per diem rate can be calculated for you.

3.       Transportation and Temporary Storage (up to 60) of your Household Goods - If your CD-150 is properly completed and returned to the Travel Management and Policy Branch (TMPB) at least 6 weeks prior to your anticipated beginning workday, TMPB will be able to assist you in transporting your household goods. If an extension is needed for more storage, then an amendment must be submitted with a justification of why, 2 weeks prior, not to exceed 150 days.

After you have returned the CD-150 and allowed sufficient time for the hiring division to prepare your travel order, you may contact TMPB, to make arrangements for shipping your household goods by CBL method.

  • Commuted Rate Method - Under this method of moving, you must make your own arrangements with the van carrier. Articles are usually transported uncrated. When claiming reimbursement under the commuted rate, you must provide a receipt. This is required because payment at commuted rates is based on constructive weight.  You will not be reimbursed based on the fee charged by the carrier. Since most carriers charge a separate fee for packing, it is difficult for the commuted rate schedule to completely anticipate this cost. As a result, some new appointees have not been reimbursed for all the charges when transporting their household goods by this method. Therefore, if you are authorized to move under this method, it is to your advantage to obtain moving costs estimates from several carriers before choosing one.
  • Weight Limitations and Insurance - The Government is responsible for paying the carrier for your household goods. The allowable maximum weight is 18,000 pounds with 2,000 pounds for packing materials. If the shipment exceeds the maximum weight, the employee must pay the difference.

Estimating Weight - A reasonable estimate of the weight of your household goods may be made by multiplying the rooms of furniture to be moved by 1,000 pounds (excluding bathrooms and closets). Liberal estimates should be made of the weight of such articles as garden tools, game room equipment, work benches, etc. The carrier's representative will assist you in determining weights.

The Government has Full Replacement Insurance. It is available through all carriers, but this extra cost is not reimbursable.

What Can and Cannot be Shipped:

Furniture Motor Vehicles (4-wheel)
Clothing Boats
Books Wines & Liquors
Baggage Pets
Dishes & Flatware Explosives & Inflammables
  Perishable Articles

4.       Carrier Service at Origin and Destination and Damage Claims: Whether you move your household goods under the CBL method or the commuted rate method, the vendor will provide packing and loading services. They will provide acceptable containers for your articles.

Make sure both you and the carrier are in agreement regarding the place and approximate time the goods are to be delivered. The Government will allow 10 business days for delivery. When the goods are delivered, the carrier will make one placement in the appropriate room for each piece of furniture. Containers will be unpacked in the location of your choice. Examine your goods carefully as they are unpacked to see if there is any damage. If you find any damage to your articles, note this in the space entitled "Receipt of Delivery" on the bill of lading or delivery receipt and sign it. Have the carrier's agent countersign the notation.

If you move by the commuted rate method, you must contact the carrier's agent to file a damage claim. If you are moving under the CBL method, TMPB will assist you in making your claim for damage to your household goods.

5.       Storage of Household Goods - You may wish to have your goods stored while you seek permanent housing at your new duty station, or the carrier may have to put your household goods in storage while waiting for another shipment of goods to accompany yours on the moving van. In any case, the Government will reimburse you for the temporary storage of your household goods for up to a 60-day period.

6.       Use of Rental Vehicle in Transporting Household Goods (Self Move) - You may use a rental vehicle to transport your household effects to your official duty station. If you elect to do this, you will be reimbursed based on actual cost. To properly certify the cost,

  • You must weigh the vehicle when it is empty and after it is fully loaded with your household goods. You must obtain certified receipts clearly indicating these weights.


  • You must obtain certified receipts indicating the cubic foot capacity of the vehicle and indicate how much of the capacity of the vehicle was used by describing the size and weight of each article placed in the vehicle.

If you move yourself instead of using the CBL method, the Government will repay you only for the actual cost of the move.

NOTE: This cost cannot be more than those authorized under the CBL method. If you move yourself instead of using the commuted rate system, repayment will be based on the allowances on the commuted rate schedule

  • No Reimbursement for Temporary Lodging - The Government cannot reimburse you for temporary lodging while you look for an apartment or home at your duty station. Once you arrive at your new duty station, en route per diem ends and you cannot be reimbursed for any personal living expenses that you incur.
  • Reimbursement - After you arrive at the Census Bureau to begin your career with Federal Government, you must submit a CD-370 (Instructions) "Travel Voucher," to claim the authorized allowable expenses incurred in moving to your new duty station. Each phase of the move must be submitted on a separate CD-370 (Instructions). The administrative office of the division that hired you will assist you in completing this form.
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Relocation Travel Guidelines for New Appointees (First Official Duty Station in the Federal Government)

Yes. You must have an approved travel order BEFORE incurring any travel expense.

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No. Airline/rail tickets are prepaid by the government. The hiring division will arrange the traveler’s reservations through the Government travel system, E2. Airline tickets should not be purchased using personal cash or credit card. A travel authorization must be prepared by the Hiring Division and submitted to SATO before a prepaid electronic ticket can be issued.

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  • Shipment and storage of household goods.
  • Travel expenses, including per diem, for the employee.
  • Travel for the immediate family (per diem excluded).
  • Mileage for use of POV.
  • Transportation of mobile homes versus shipment of household goods.
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Travel Management and Policy Branch will contact you once your travel authorization has been approved and signed to schedule for shipment and storage of household goods. A determination will be made on the method of shipment most cost advantageous to the government by using the General Services Administration cost comparison. The Commercial Bill of Lading (CBL) is the method most widely used. The government is billed directly using this method. Storage of household goods for 60 days with extensions not to exceed 150 days.

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Employee only (Standard rate of $96 for lodging and $59 for M&IE) NTE $155 per day. Locality rate may be applicable if advantageous to the Government.

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Transportation is the only authorized expense for immediate family traveling to the new duty station. This included one way airfare and rail. Checked Baggage expense is only authorized per the request of your hiring division.

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Shipment of POV must be cost advantageous to the Government. A cost comparison will be required.

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Travel by POV will be paid at a mileage rate of .18 cents per mile currently. This rate is subject change based on the guidance from the General Service Administration.

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Yes. Receipts are required for all lodging and rental car expense and any travel expense in excess of $75.

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Expenses (with receipts) are submitted on a CD-370 and Instructions, Travel Voucher to Finance Division, after approval by the approving official.

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Related Materials

Page Last Revised - August 3, 2022
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