As with many countries, you will need to apply for a certain type of Visa to be allowed entry into another country whether that being a short or long term stay. To allow entry anywhere into the United States of America (USA), you must hold a Valid Visa and a Valid passport.
Ready? Set? Go!
Whether you are flying to Orlando for a business or vacation purpose, it is important to make sure you have important documents completed before you travel to ensure your journey is a quick, easy and enjoyable experience! Read below for some useful information to help you prepare for your travels to Orlando, including documentation you will need to enter the USA, such as a valid visa and passport to useful airport and luggage tips.
What do you need to know?
So What Visa do I need?
There are different types of US Visa’s available depending on your citizenship and the purpose of your trip.
An ESTA visa is a Visa that individuals can apply for if their country falls under the Visa Waiver programme. Currently, there are 38 Countries under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) – a programme designed by the US government that allows citizens from certain countries to travel in America for up to 90 days without applying for a VISA through the US Embassy.
See below for countries for which this ESTA/VWP applies to:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Applying for an ESTA is a very simple and easy online process. Once you have an approved ESTA application, it is then valid for up to 2 years. However, if you’re passport expires and/or you obtain a new passport within these 2 years, you will have to apply for a new ESTA, providing the details of your new passport.
Tip: An ESTA costs approximately $14 dollars for coverage of the 2 years. If you find a website that says otherwise, try to avoid this as it is likely to be someone trying to rip you off and charge you a fortune. To avoid this, you can find the official ESTA website here.
However, if you are a citizen from a country that does not comply with the VMP or you plan to stay in America for longer than 90 days, you must apply for a tourist/work Visa from the US Embassy. To learn more about what type of Visa you will need for your circumstances, visit the official US Embassy website.
There is always important documentation when travelling to Orlando (or any other country) that you should carry with you, such as:
Other valid ID – e.g. Divers licence and DVLA access code (if you are planning on driving in Orlando.
For further ideas and tips about what documents and items you may want to pack with you, check out our Planning Ahead Page.
Airport Rules and Guidance
Whilst airports all around the world will have rules and regulations as to what is and isn’t permitted through their security customs and on flights, many of us still bring non-permitted items to the airport and consequently, experience delays and or inconveniences during security at the airport.
If you are unsure of what items you can take through security or are a first-time flyer, then read below for some general information and useful websites to help you prepare for this.
Note – below is general advice regarding UK airports. Whilst many airports outside of the UK follow similar procedures as UK airports, it is worth while checking the official website of the airport you are travelling from to ensure you comply with their rules.
General UK airport rules:
Any sharp tools/objects that are unsafe or pose a danger threat are not permitted for you to carry in your hand luggage and any such items should be placed in your hold luggage before you check you baggage in at the airport.
Such objects include:
- Box Cutters
There are usually restrictions as to the amount of liquids you can carry with you in your hand luggage.
If you are taking liquids in your hand luggage, they must be in clear containers of no more than 100ml as this is the maximum size of liquids you can take through UK airport security. (Note this may vary in Non-UK airports so make sure you do your research into the airport you are travelling from.
You will be allowed to take liquids which are brought at the airport (e.g. at duty free) or on the plane through security only if:
The items brought are unopened and closed in a security bag with the receipt clearly visible. Bear in mind, that some airports security may need to open your items and screen the liquids.
Liquids include items such as:
- Drinks (including water)
- Toiletries and Cosmetics – e..g Toothpaste, make up, perfumes, oils, lotions, hair gel and shower products
- Contact lens solution
- Certain foods of a liquid type substance – e.g. syrups, Jam, Honey
However there are airports that make exceptions, such as for those with specific dietary requirements, certain medical reasons and baby food or baby milk. See your airports official website for more detail.
For those who are travelling from airports within the UK, be sure to visit the airports official website to find out its the specific requirements and restrictions on what you can bring.
For those who are travelling from outside of the UK, be sure to check the rules for your specific airport and airlines as different rules often apply between different countries.
Airport Baggage allowance
You can check the baggage allowance weight for your airline by visiting the airlines official website. Note: Airlines do vary on their luggage allowances.
Most airlines will allow you to check in online a few days before the flight and print off your boarding pass. Doing so can enable you to spend less time at the airport in the queues to check in, and ensure your journey is that much simpler!
Be sure to visit the website of your airlines as policies for checking in do vary between them.
When booking online, you will be able to allocate your plane seats. However, seat allocation is subject to the availability of seats on that flight at that current time.
Tip: Some airlines do not advertise all of their available seats online so if you are unable to find the seat preferences you would like, then it is worthwhile ringing up the airline to see if they do have any additional seating available.
Direct and Indirect flights
Many airlines fly to and from Orlando, but it helps to know which of the airports and airlines provide direct and/or indirect flights.
Most of the Major cities in the UK offer flights to Orlando, such as London airports which provide both direct and indirect flights. Other cities such Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow usually provide indirect (1 stops) flights.
Orlando has 2 airports – Orlando International airport and Sanford international airport. The main airlines that can fly directly (Non-stop) to Orlando from the UK are:
- British Airways (BA)
- Virgin Atlantic
- Thomas Cook
- Norwegian airlines
- Thomas Airways (Fly directly to Orlando International Airport)
- Monarch (fly directly to Sanford international airport)
Other airlines that fly to Orlando:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- Air New Zealand
- American Airlines
- LATAM airlines
- Singapore Arlines
There are also indirect flights provided by some of the airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and Delta.
Whilst direct flights are often more preferred as they are less time consuming, they are often more expensive than indirect flights.
However, indirect flights are sometimes favoured as they allow you to have a break from the plane and a chance to stretch out your legs.
There are many different stop off destinations you can travel to on your way to Orlando from the UK. One of the popular stop off destinations is at Atlanta Airport which is a large hub for airlines; from here, you can fly on to Orlando.
Alternatively, you may wish to fly directly to Tampa, Fl. And take a leisurely drive up to Orlando that way.
There are many direct and indirect flight options available to suit your preferences. Make sure you look and compare airline prices from different websites as you can find they tend to vary!
Useful tip: If you are looking for great in flight entertainment then airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are highly recommended due to the wide variety of movies, tv shows and interactive games they provide!
On the Flight
Do you have any dietary requirements the airlines need to be aware of?
Fear not! When booking online with many airlines, there will be an option to specify any food requirements you have, including vegetarian and Kosher. Similar , if you are booking your flights via telephone, you can pre-order your flight meals here.
Keep in mind that there is always alternative food and snacks available to purchase when you are on the actual flight if you get hungry.
Useful tip (especially for families): When booking your flights to Orlando, it is often a good idea to look at the in-flight entertainment different airlines will provide as it can be a relatively long flight without it! Two of the most popular airlines with regards to their in-flight entertainment systems are Virgin Atlantic and British Airways (BA).