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I am a UK citizen who has been invited to the US for the purposes of an onsite interview in a few weeks' time. I have been looking online for an answer to this question and have found many conflicting reports (for examples of such differing opinions google terms like 'vwp job interview' and read the many answers).

While applying online using the ESTA form I came across this question (emphasis mine):

D) Are you seeking to work in the U.S.; or have you ever been excluded and deported; or been previously removed from the United States or procured or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the U.S. by fraud or misrepresentation? *

There is no additional context to this question such as 'on this visa' and so looking at it objectively it seems that the only correct answer in my scenario is to answer 'yes' - I am seeking to work in the US, albeit in many months time if and when the company a) offers a job and b) acquires an appropriate work visa.

Clearly answering 'yes' to this question is the 'wrong' answer and looks very much as if it would result in a rejection. I do not wish to answer 'no' and be seen as having lied due to the above reasoning (especially if asked at the border what the intention of my trip is - the truth is that I am there to attend a specific interview and leave).

I'm asking here because I cannot find anywhere official that states whether this scenario counts as 'seeking to work in the U.S.' or not. I have only found several people across the web who are utterly convinced of their own reading of the phrase 'seeking to work' and their implicit assumption of non-existent context in the question.

The company in question now tells me I need a B1 visa instead which I have begun the process for, however I am not convinced yet that this is required for my situation, considering my trip will be 2-3 days only. I have tried emailing the embassy in London but it will be a few days before I potentially hear back.

Thank you for any help you may offer.

EDIT: After reading links in the comments, an additional question is in regards to the difference between the B1/B2 and the VWP - does a B1/B2 visa offer anything regarding job interviews to the holder aside from more time in the US (which in this scenario is not an issue)? This pdf for example does not include mention of a job interview and is linked from this VWP page giving the impression that the two paths of entry are functionally the same in terms of business travel. If anyone knows of an official statement regarding the visa to use for pre-arranged job interviews then this would be extremely useful.

UPDATE: I have received an email response from the London Embassy. They state:

If you are travelling to the United States exclusively for an interview or meetings, you may do so on a B-1 business visitor or visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if you are otherwise eligible. Please be aware that you are not permitted to undertake any work on a B-1 visa or the VWP and must obtain the relevant work visa in order to do so.

At the time that you apply for entry to the United States you will be require to demonstrate that your purpose of travel is appropriate for visa-free travel or the visa you hold, and that you intend to comply fully with your conditions of entry and that you have sufficiently strong social and economic ties to your country of residence to compel you to depart the United States at the conclusion of a temporary visit.

Immigration officials at the port of entry make the final determination of each individual’s eligibility to enter the United States.

I am still looking for written confirmation about the answer to give to question D) above. It looks as if the answer is simply that the question is worded terribly and that in fact the correct answer is to say 'No' - but this is not directly confirmed yet.

FINAL UPDATE: I successfully traveled using the ESTA (marking no for the aforementioned question) and had no problems at the border when explaining that I was visiting for a job interview. On my landing card I marked that my trip was for business purposes. I didn't even have to show any documentation other than my passport (I had printed my ESTA confirmation, hotel information, interview confirmation etc.) but obviously this may vary. Hopefully this question helps anyone in a similar situation.

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I read this question but i'd prefer a more clear-cut answer - in the linked question the accepted answer states 'Yes, you can travel on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if you meet the requirements (please see our page on the Visa Waiver Program).' - specifically if you meet the requirements where requirements may include things like 'seeking to work in the U.S.' –  anonymous6271407 Dec 18 '13 at 2:07
    
@MarkMayo: It seems attending a job interview is OK on a B1/B2 visa to USA but other interpretations of "looking for a job" in the USA I'd be less confident about. So I wouldn't say this question is a dupe but it could be that one of the answers on the old question also answers this question. –  hippietrail Dec 18 '13 at 4:49
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'Clearly answering 'yes' to this question is the 'wrong' answer ' - Why is it the wrong answer ? Your intent of entering the US is to seek work - giving an interview to seek work has the same intent. May be this site has more answers : travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html –  happybuddha Dec 18 '13 at 5:15
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You are not on this visit, seeking to work in the US. You can say "I'm here for an interview, and if they offer me the job I will go home, decide whether to take it or not, and start the paperwork to move here to work when I have an offer. I will not be working on this visit." That's the truth, right? –  Kate Gregory Dec 18 '13 at 18:03
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up vote 15 down vote accepted

Speaking from first-hand experience, I can say with certainty that YES, you CAN use the VWP in order to enter the US to attend a job interview, either for a job in the US or for a job outside of the US.

A VWP is functionally equivalent to a B1/B2 visa (they often actually write B1 or B2 on the entry stamp to designate this!), and there are no other visas that would allow you to attend a job interview, so clearly B1/B2, and thus VWP, is the correct status.

That's not to say that you won't have some trouble on entry. The fact that you are entering the country to attend a job interview will immediately put the immigration agent on alert that you are potentially entering the country to actually 'work', which is NOT allowed under a VWP.

As with any entry to any country, at the end of the day it is up to the immigration officials to decide if they will let you into the country - if they believe you are there to actually work, you will be denied entry, regardless of whether you have a visa or not (other than a work visa, obviously). If they believe that you are there simply for a job interview, and that you will not be paid for anything that you do in the country (other than expense reimbursement), then you will be allowed enter.

I would suggest carrying as much documentation as possible to show that you are not intending to stay and work on this visit. Examples of this would include a letter from your prospective employer clearing stating that you are only entering the country for a short period for the interview, that you will be returning to your home country after a few days, and that if you are successful in obtaining the job then they will proceed to support your application for a relevant work visa in the future. Also make sure that you have a printout of your return ticket, and preferably details of where you will be staying during your stay - I was asked for both of these when entering on a VWP for a job interview.

Also, if you are interviewing with a large, well known company be sure to say so - immigration staff know that companies like Microsoft, Google, etc, will not hire someone without checking their legal status in the country, which will help in convincing the immigration staff that you are not intending to work on this visit.

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Thank you, this is very useful. You have confirmed my suspicions regarding equivalency of B1/B2 visas and the VWP. However I'm still curious how you answered the ESTA form when applying for the VWP - did you answer 'no' to the question regarding seeking to work? Isn't this technically incorrect as I discussed in the OP? –  anonymous6271407 Dec 18 '13 at 17:01
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ESTA didn't exist at the time I did it. Personally I would enter "no" on the basis that I am not looking to work under the ESTA, and the fact that answering "yes" will likely cause a rejection - but that's just me... –  Doc Dec 18 '13 at 19:18
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