When individuals from other countries want to visit Florida, they often question whether they need a visitor visa. The answer to that question depends upon your country of origin and your reason for coming to the country.
Types of visitor visas
Before you decide to enter the U.S., you typically need to choose between two types of visas. Individuals apply for an immigration visa if they seek permanent residence. If the stay is temporary, individuals need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa, also known as a visitor visa. You may apply for a B-1 business visitor visa or a B-2 tourism visitor visa.
If you choose the B-1 visitor visa, you may engage in the following activities while in the U.S.:
- Brief business trips
- Professional conferences
- Contract negotiations
The business proceedings allowed under the B-1 visitor visa are severely limited and only include temporary occurrences. You may not engage in the following activities with a B-1 visitor visa:
- Full-time employment
- Paid professional stage performances
- Radio or film
- Ship or aircraft crew
If you receive a B-2 tourism visa, you may pursue the following activities while in the U.S.:
- Visiting friends or family
- Medical procedures
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
Citizens from 38 countries do not need a visitor visa before coming to the U.S. These travelers may stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa under the VWP. These travelers still need to apply and approve for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Importance of following the guidelines
Although the visitor visa rules may seem difficult to follow, choosing to disregard the rules for visitor visas may affect your future visits to the country. Violators of the visa guidelines may be prevented from entering the U.S. for a certain amount of time and may face fines.