Can I travel to the USA while working remotely for my non-US employer?
I would like to travel in the USA for a period of 3 - 6 months. But I want to spend some time working for my employer (remote work) and getting paid by the employer. Is this possible under a tourist visa (B1/B2)?
I hope this is OK since I will not be getting paid by a US employer. I am in the IT trade so all that I will be needing is my own laptop and a connection to the internet. The money I earn would actually help me pay for the expenses I get during the holiday.
you want or you will? Could your problem be rephrased as : Your non-US employer would pay you in another country while you are working in the US, and you're asking which visa you'd need?
Thanks for the reply. My non-us employer has no issues paying me for my work during the holiday in the US. My question is whether US will like that arrangement and allow me in to the country as a Business/Visitor B1 Visa in to US and allow me to stay for a period of 3 - 6 months.
I think you have 2 questions: what visa you need for your leisure trip, and whether it is allowed to remote work from abroad. While I don't see why you would need to justify your activities when you travel for leisure, other people on this site probably have more experience in this field.
This is done all the time by the US and non-US employees on their vacations/holidays. Technically while you are doing work in while being on US soil you are not working in the US since you're not being employed by a US employer and your travel to the US is not employment related, so apply for a tourist visa and you should be fine.
Thank you all for your input as it helped me a lot. Just to follow up on how it went down if anyone is interested, I had no issues at the border control at US. I had a letter from my employer prepared in case it was required but it wasn't needed. Border protection agent did raise the question of why coming in to US shores for such a long period and they were satisfied with my answer which was to visit the country while working remotely for my overseas employer
B1 is a business visa, and it makes little sense if cannot do things remotely for the foreign employer for whom you are in the U.S. to conduct business.
@Ruch - can you tell what letter from your employer did you have? Did it state that you're a remote worker?
Is there any definitive answer to this question, as I am in the exact same scenario now. Thanks, Sean
@Sean I had no issues at the US border. They were happy with my answer to their question "What are you going to do here for such a long period?" to which I answered "I'll be visiting family/friends, sight seeing etc" I did have a letter from my employer which I didn't end up needing that stated, 'this person is going on holiday in the US during a critical stage of a project so we might need him to work remotely..such and such'. I ended up working 8 hour days initially from my hotel room and then from the client's site for the 1st two months. Plenty of sight seeing from the side
Since so many people liked the comment I thought I'd turn it into an answer.
What you are describing is done all the time by the US and non-US employees on their vacations/holidays. Technically while you are doing work in while being on US soil you are not working in the US since you're not being employed by a US employer and your travel to the US is not employment related, so apply for a tourist visa and you should be fine.
To be more specific I found several sites explaining the differences between B1/B2 and H visas in more laymen's terms, so you can try to read up on that to make your determination:
And last but not least
How important is the "your travel is not employment related" part? Does the US distinguish between "I am here to take my kids to Disney, but will code in the evenings" and "I am here to meet with the US clients of my non-US employer all day, plus I will code in the evenings on their project" ?
If you answer the question of "What is the purpose of your visit" exactly as you put it the Immigration officer at the border or State Department official at a US consulate will likely err on the side of caution and make it a B1 and depending on what country you're from Visa may be denied altogether.
@KateGregory This distinction is important. If you are primarily in the country to work for your non-US employer, which has dealings in the US, then you cannot enter/stay on a B1/B2. See the case of the Russian Boeing engineers here: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2016551275_boeing20.html and also user16885's answer.