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Olga&Jared

Work issue before receiving permit

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Hey guys!

 

So I was reading this topic and I got a few questions regarding work after I join my fiancé in the US and we get married. I understand that officially I cannot work until I receive the work permit which takes quite some time. But what if I don't intend to work at any American companies?

 

I am an artist/illustrator. in Russia, I'm officially registered as an Independent Contractor. So I pay taxes, work legally etc. I intend to do the same thing in the US. Is it possible for me to still take orders before I get my work permit and then pay taxes for this period post-factum? 

 

Another thing I was wondering about is that before I get any documents which would give me any rights on a territory of the US, I can still be authorized to do the same work as a Russian citizen, can't I? It's a very tricky question when it comes to remote work because I don't provide any physical services. My clients come from all over the world and basically, everything is being done online. Can I remain working before the permit and pay taxes in Russia, for example?

 

Also, I have accounts on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr where I get taxed from every order. Can I keep working there?

 

So far these are the variants I was thinking about. Could you please let me know if I can make it work somehow? Being able to take clients is important for me because it builds up my portfolio and ability to increase my income once I'm in the states. Half a year break is going to affect it in a bad way. 

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14 minutes ago, Olga&Jared said:

Hey guys!

 

So I was reading this topic and I got a few questions regarding work after I join my fiancé in the US and we get married. I understand that officially I cannot work until I receive the work permit which takes quite some time. But what if I don't intend to work at any American companies?

 

I am an artist/illustrator. in Russia, I'm officially registered as an Independent Contractor. So I pay taxes, work legally etc. I intend to do the same thing in the US. Is it possible for me to still take orders before I get my work permit and then pay taxes for this period post-factum? 

 

Another thing I was wondering about is that before I get any documents which would give me any rights on a territory of the US, I can still be authorized to do the same work as a Russian citizen, can't I? It's a very tricky question when it comes to remote work because I don't provide any physical services. My clients come from all over the world and basically, everything is being done online. Can I remain working before the permit and pay taxes in Russia, for example?

 

Also, I have accounts on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr where I get taxed from every order. Can I keep working there?

 

So far these are the variants I was thinking about. Could you please let me know if I can make it work somehow? Being able to take clients is important for me because it builds up my portfolio and ability to increase my income once I'm in the states. Half a year break is going to affect it in a bad way. 

It's a gray area that has been up for debate for a long time and one of the cons of K1.

 

You are not allowed to work for a US company or make money in the US (on a US bank account), but I've read stories on here before that people worked from inside the US while waiting for EAD but for a company in their home country and got paid on their foreign bank account (so also taxed in their foreign country)

 

I personally would say don't take the risk. If the officer at the GC interview feels like you violated the rules (and in the end it's up to the officer/their supervisor to grant or not grant you a GC) you could get deported, get bans and what not. Not saying this will happen, cause people got GC's before in this situation, but it could happen. 

 

If you can prove that you're going to experience severe financial loss, you can try to expedite your EAD, but you need some good evidence for that and even that takes time. If work is really that important you should go with the CR-1 visa so you can legally work the moment you enter the country with your CR-1 visa.

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Remote work for a foreign employer is a gray area.

 

Your circumstance is self-employment. You are the employer, so work authorization would be needed IMO.

Edited by geowrian

Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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13 minutes ago, C90 said:

It's a gray area that has been up for debate for a long time and one of the cons of K1.

 

You are not allowed to work for a US company or make money in the US (on a US bank account), but I've read stories on here before that people worked from inside the US while waiting for EAD but for a company in their home country and got paid on their foreign bank account (so also taxed in their foreign country)

 

I personally would say don't take the risk. If the officer at the GC interview feels like you violated the rules (and in the end it's up to the officer/their supervisor to grant or not grant you a GC) you could get deported, get bans and what not. Not saying this will happen, cause people got GC's before in this situation, but it could happen. 

 

If you can prove that you're going to experience severe financial loss, you can try to expedite your EAD, but you need some good evidence for that and even that takes time. If work is really that important you should go with the CR-1 visa so you can legally work the moment you enter the country with your CR-1 visa.

Thank you for your response!

 

Unfortunately, going with CR-1 is not an option already since I am at the NVC stage of my K-1 :) For whatever reason, I didn't think that my work occupation would be so problematic when we started the process. I thought that it was strict if I were to work only for American companies. In my case, I am the company myself, and I assumed I go as Russian, not American. I do want to transition into being an Independent Contractor in the US officially once I have a chance to do so, but before it happens I thought I could stay as a Russian one and work accordingly. 

 

I would definitely not want to lie at the interview. So if I were to pay taxes in Russia and get paid to my Russian bank account while waiting for a status change, that would be considered a violation, too? If that's the case I definitely won't risk it but it's quite frustrating. 

 

The only reason why it matters is that there's and always have been a difference between incomes in Russia and Western countries. I make a good amount for living comfortably here, but I would very much want to increase it for my life in California. I definitely won't be able to do so while not working for so long. Plus, I feel bad for my fiancé having to support both of us without my contribution for this entire time.

Edited by Olga&Jared

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1 minute ago, Olga&Jared said:

I would definitely not want to lie at the interview. So if I were to pay taxes in Russia and get paid to my Russian bank account while waiting for a status change, that would be considered a violation, too? If that's the case I definitely won't risk it but it's quite frustrating.  That's up to the officer. Like said before it's a gray area that has been up for debate forever, even by lawyers lol. But like geowrian pointed out, you're self employed so there's a big chance they would consider it as working in the US without EAD. I wouldn't take the risk and just wait the 4-6 months, but in the end it's up to you.

 

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Ugh alright :) Thank you for your recommendations! I'll see how it is once I'm there. I do hate breaking the rules, it always bugs me. I wish they could have come up with something for self-employed individuals or those who work remotely. These days it's a very popular occupation. 

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1 minute ago, Olga&Jared said:

In my case, I am the company myself, and I assumed I go as Russian, not American. I do want to transition into being an Independent Contractor in the US officially once I have a chance to do so, but before it happens I thought I could stay as a Russian one and work accordingly. 

You remain a Russian so long as you don't renounce citizenship and they don't revoke it. So basically that will never change.

The moment you enter the US on a K-1 visa, you are considered to be in the process of establishing residency in the US. There is no "entering the US as a Russian, not an American" difference (at least until you become a US citizen in the years down the road). You're entering the US with intent to establish residency, which is what matters.

 

There is no formal process to become an independent contractor in the US. If you engage in self-employment, then you are one. You can formally establish a US business and such, obtain a business license, etc., but just being an independent contractor is a matter of engaging in independent contract work.

 

8 minutes ago, Olga&Jared said:

So if I were to pay taxes in Russia and get paid to my Russian bank account while waiting for a status change, that would be considered a violation, too?

This would 100% have to be declared for US tax purposes regardless of it being remote work or not. The piece isn't a gray area.

 

I would add that unauthorized work is not a bar for AOS purposes as the spouse of a US, but that doesn't make it legal either.

 

3 minutes ago, Olga&Jared said:

I do hate breaking the rules, it always bugs me. I wish they could have come up with something for self-employed individuals or those who work remotely. These days it's a very popular occupation. 

Laws*

 

They do: It's a spousal visa. :) Choosing to do the K-1 path instead is a trade off for speed versus other factors like working right away.


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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Quote

There is no formal process to become an independent contractor in the US. If you engage in self-employment, then you are one.

Here as well. But our government is trying to fight against "unregistered" freelancers that's why these days Independent Contractor is an official status when you obtain a license and pay taxes.

Quote

This would 100% have to be declared for US tax purposes regardless of it being remote work or not. The piece isn't a gray area.

That is why I was wondering if it's possible to pay taxes for this period post-factum. To show that I am not avoiding paying. I guess not then :)

Quote

Choosing to do the K-1 path instead is a trade off for speed versus other factors like working right away.

Haha I guess it's fair. 

 

In this case, I guess there's no point for me to keep paying taxes here in Russia, and I should lose my license before I leave? 

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~~Moved to Working and Traveling, from K1 P&P - The OP is asking about working prior to receiving her EAD.~~


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6 hours ago, Olga&Jared said:

In this case, I guess there's no point for me to keep paying taxes here in Russia, and I should lose my license before I leave? 

Not sure how the license works. but I'm assuming continuing to earn money in rubles is not the most lucrative way to earn a living in the US?


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2 hours ago, millefleur said:

Not sure how the license works. but I'm assuming continuing to earn money in rubles is not the most lucrative way to earn a living in the US?

The lisence basically obliges me to pay taxes regardless the currency. I earn money in both rubles a dollars depending on where my client comes from. But I pay taxes in rubles. 

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18 hours ago, C90 said:

 

 

I personally would say don't take the risk. If the officer at the GC interview feels like you violated the rules (and in the end it's up to the officer/their supervisor to grant or not grant you a GC) you could get deported, get bans and what not. Not saying this will happen, cause people got GC's before in this situation, but it could happen. 

 

 

Nope.  Unauthorized employment by an immediate relative will be forgiven and will NOT result in a ban, deportation, or refusal to adjust status.

Edited by Neonred

If at first you don't succeed, then sky diving is not for you.

Someone stole my dictionary. Now I am at a loss for words.

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Ban shredded cheese. Make America Grate Again .

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Ugh so which one is it? 😅

 

We will probably consult a lawyer just in case to be certain. But if is a violation for sure then I won't bother. It's much more important to me to be with Jared and 5-6 months is a doable wait. 

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5 minutes ago, Olga&Jared said:

Ugh so which one is it? 😅

 

We will probably consult a lawyer just in case to be certain. But if is a violation for sure then I won't bother. It's much more important to me to be with Jared and 5-6 months is a doable wait. 

I would suggest reading over this: https://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume7-PartB-Chapter6.html

 

Some relevant excerpts -

 

With certain exceptions, a foreign national is barred from adjusting status if:

•He or she continues in or accepts unauthorized employment prior to filing an application for adjustment of status;[1] or

•He or she has ever engaged in unauthorized employment, whether before or after filing an adjustment application. [2] 

These bars apply not only to unauthorized employment since an applicant’s most recent entry but also to unauthorized employment during any previous periods of stay in the United States. [3] 

 

A. Definitions

1. Unauthorized Employment

Unauthorized employment is any service or labor performed for an employer within the United States by a foreign national who is not authorized by the INA or USCIS to accept employment or who exceeds the scope or period of the foreign national’s employment authorization. [11] 

 

The INA 245(c)(8) bar applies to any time engaged in unauthorized employment while physically present in the United States regardless of whether it occurred before or after submission of the adjustment application. USCIS places no time restrictions on when unauthorized employment must have occurred, because the INA does not state that the unauthorized employment must have occurred during any particular period of time.

 

@Olga&Jared 

As others have said, your situation is a bit of a gray area, and you could get away with it but it is grounds to be barred from adjusting status according to the USCIS policy manual. I wouldn't risk it, because when it comes to tax time, you will have to disclose this income and that will be proof to any officer looking at your taxes that you had employment. I believe you mentioned previously that you have clients from all over - including the U.S. correct? If you are living in the U.S. and you accept work from a U.S. client, well that's pretty clearly U.S. employment, is it not? Doesn't matter if the transactions take place online.

 


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12/30/2018 - Packet 3 Sent

01/06/2019 - Packet 4 Received

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02/05/2019 - Visa Received

05/17/2019 - U.S. Arrival

05/24/2019 - Married ❤️ 

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8 minutes ago, beloved_dingo said:

I would suggest reading over this: https://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume7-PartB-Chapter6.html

 

Some relevant excerpts -

 

With certain exceptions, a foreign national is barred from adjusting status if:

•He or she continues in or accepts unauthorized employment prior to filing an application for adjustment of status;[1] or

•He or she has ever engaged in unauthorized employment, whether before or after filing an adjustment application. [2] 

These bars apply not only to unauthorized employment since an applicant’s most recent entry but also to unauthorized employment during any previous periods of stay in the United States. [3] 

 

 

I should have quoted that manual also.

 

The relevant excerpt that is at the begining:

 

As previously discussed, the INA 245(c)(2) and INA 245(c)(8) bars to adjustment do not apply to: [4]

 

Immediate relatives;

 

 

One of the certain exceptions....

 

So as long as you get married, no issue.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Neonred

If at first you don't succeed, then sky diving is not for you.

Someone stole my dictionary. Now I am at a loss for words.

If Apple made a car, would it have windows?

Ban shredded cheese. Make America Grate Again .

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Deport him and you never have to feed him again.

I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

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