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july2009

Remote work for UK company before EAD?

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Alien Fiance elect posting through my fiancee's profile...

I now have my K1 visa and am all (nearly) ready to go. Hooray! My question to the good people of VJ is: before I get my EAD, is it just the case that I can't work in the US for a US company, or is it that I can't do any work for anyone anywhere at all?

A bit of context: a British company that I've done a lot of freelance work for has asked me if I want to continue working remotely online for them in the near future while I'm in the US. So I'd be working for a UK company and getting paid in sterling into my UK bank account, but living in the States. Is this allowed? I would obviously declare everything in a timely fashion to both HMRC and the IRS (I am self-employed and a tax return veteran).

Have done a search and found conflicting advice in different places on VJ - if anyone has any ideas about an authority/oracle I could consult to get a definitive answer on this, that would also be brilliant.

Thanks to everyone in advance!

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It's fuzzy, and covered under the laws that govern what kind of work you can do on a business trip and on vacation.

Nothing specifically says you can't, and at any rate those laws aren't regularly enforced.

I would say, pragmatically, that if it is something that would seem reasonable to do on a vacation or business trip to the US, that you could do without getting in trouble, you could continue to do it while waiting for your EAD.

Obviously, this only applies to getting paid foreign currency by a foreign employer into a foreign account. Working for a US employer is obviously right out.


DON'T PANIC

"It says wonderful things about the two countries [Canada and the US] that neither one feels itself being inundated by each other's immigrants."

-Douglas Coupland

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Additionally, the freelance aspect makes this very fuzzy: working for a foreign employer while you are in the US can plausibly be regarded as just a kind of business trip, or getting some work done while you are on vacation. It is FAR less obvious that you are allowed to be self-employed in the US without an EAD. I don't know about that.


DON'T PANIC

"It says wonderful things about the two countries [Canada and the US] that neither one feels itself being inundated by each other's immigrants."

-Douglas Coupland

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Thanks to everyone for your replies, although the consensus seems to be 'it should be OK but it might not be allowed', which is a little too ambiguous for comfort (cue nightmare scenario of having my TPR status invalidated, being deported and having to start a K-3 application from scratch - nooooo).

Does anyone know who I should ask to find out a definite answer? USCIS? US Embassy in London? etc

Thank you!

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I realize this is an old thread, but for any future readers I've actually consulted with both an immigration attorney as well as the international student advisor at my old school. Both had the same answer:

If it's a foreign employer, you pay taxes to a foreign government, the payment is paid into a foreign account for work that does not require you to be present in the US, and for all intents and purpose, you are working in a foreign country, it is not considered working in the US, and you should be fine.

Put it this way, you are not stealing American jobs, and an American would not even be able to do the job unless he/she had a British work permit.

Be advised that journalism is not ok without the proper visa. Also be advised that the main purpose of your presence in the US must be the reason for your visa. In other words, if you're on a student visa, you're still required to be a full-time student. If you're on a tourist visa, the main purpose of your stay should be tourism etc. This based on consultation with an attorney and not USCIS or DOS.

Edited by jaejayC

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