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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.

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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? –  Vince Jan 15 '13 at 8:42
    
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. –  ruch Jan 15 '13 at 9:06
    
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. –  Vince Jan 15 '13 at 9:20
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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. –  Karlson Jan 15 '13 at 14:49
    
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 –  ruch May 10 '13 at 18:07
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

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

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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" ? –  Kate Gregory Jan 16 '13 at 17:02
    
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. –  Karlson Jan 16 '13 at 17:12
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My visa was immediately rejected when I mentioned that I was planning to work for a German company while in the States, with the reasoning that I was planning to work there.

As you can read in this article, the US tax law states that every income from abroad of more than 3000 $ per year counts as a US income (which means that taxes need to be paid in the US). With a B1/B2 visa, you are not allowed to have a US income. Now, this seems to be an ongoing debate among lawyers, and some argue that the tax law is independent from the immigration law. But in the end, the law does not count, but the personal choice of the immigration officer does.

I would thus recommed to not mention such a job in the visa interview, or try to suspend the job during the stay in the US.

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