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Miami: Visa Information

Will you be moving to Miami soon? This city in Florida’s south may be vulnerable to hurricanes, but it is a breathtaking sunny paradise nonetheless. Before settling down in this warm climate, have a look at our guide on moving to Miami and learn about districts, housing, visas, and safety.
Securing a valid work visa is important before you move to Miami.

Immigration legislation in the United States is incredibly comprehensive. While some countries have merely three or four visa categories, the US boasts countless categories and subcategories, applying to different professions, purposes, and durations of stay. Below, we will list some of these categories, but you should not hesitate to have a look at the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or visit the US consulate or embassy closest to you for more information. Our article on moving to the USA also has additional information on how to obtain a visa.

On Temporary Business: Nonimmigrant Visas

Before acquiring a visa and moving to Miami, you need to figure out if you plan to work for a limited period of time or if your move is permanent. Non-permanent stays require a visa from the nonimmigrant category. There are many different nonimmigrant visas, each with its own purpose. Below, you’ll find a description of the most common nonimmigrant visas for expats.

Specialty Occupations (H-1B)

This visa applies to expats who have specialized in a certain occupation and who have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, fashion models also fall into this category. The specialty occupations visa is valid for up to three years. At the time of writing (September 2016), a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas were issued per year.

Executives and Managers (L-1A)

Expats who have worked in a managerial position for at least one year and are transferred abroad by their employer need to apply for an L-1A. This visa is initially valid for one year if your business in Miami involves establishing a new headquarters for your company. If you are going to work in an already established office, your visa is valid for three years.

Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O-1)

Expats who are considered among the best in their field (particularly in the fields of science, business, art, sports, film, and education) can apply for an O-1 visa to enter the United States. As with many other visas, it is initially limited to a period of three years.

Treaty Traders and Employees (E-1)

The USA maintains treaties of commerce and navigation with a number of countries. If you are a national of one of these, this visa allows you to carry out substantial trade with the United States. The E-1 visa is particularly popular because it can potentially be extended an unlimited number of times after the initial two years. In addition, your family can join you in Miami by obtaining their individual E-1 visas, and your spouse can even apply for work authorization.

If you want to learn more about the different visa categories and their requirements, you should take a closer look at our article on nonimmigrant US visas in our Extended Guide.

Here to Stay: The Famous Green Card

If you fall in love with Miami and wish to move to this city permanently, you should apply for an immigrant visa instead. Most expats may have heard of the most notable immigrant visa, the Green Card, which you may receive through an annual lottery.

For information on this and other immigrant visas, have a look at our article on immigration and citizenship in the USA or visit the USCIS’ page on permanent workers.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Ben F. Bagley

"I love this city, I really do, but discovering Miami in company of other expats was much more fun than on my own."

Maria Loura

"I am looking forward to the next InterNations Get-together here in Miami. Socializing with other expats from Latin America is always such a great time. "

Global Expat Guide