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I'm an independent European contractor and I'm currently working with a an Irish company who wants to send me to US for a couple of weeks in order to receive training from an American company (I work in IT).

The plan is that I will then start working with them (the US company) remotely and might get back to US every 2-3 months for a couple of weeks each time. I will not receive any direct payment from the US source as the US source will pay the Irish company and the Irish company will pay me.

I'm pretty sure that under these circumstances I could use an VWP ESTA business (B1) if I were an actual employee of the Irish company, but I'm not (again, I'm an independent contractor working for different companies across the globe).

So my question is: will I be fine if I use ESTA business B1 being an independent contractor?

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Purely FWIW: in exactly this sort of situation, any number of people I know just go to the Usa, in the situations you describe, not even thinking about it and just using the everyday ESTA system that ordinary tourists use, and leaving it at that. In any event, by all means your Irish company should pay for a visa specialist to sort this issue out for you. –  Joe Blow 21 hours ago

1 Answer 1

Ye standard disclaimer: IANAL

You might have to get a consultation from an immigration lawyer to get exact details.

The best of information I have you can travel to the US under B1/B2 visa and VWP to:

  • consult with business associates
  • attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference

Technically what you are doing is consulting with US business associates, while performing work and representing a company in Ireland. If you were so called W-2 employee of the US company and receive payment from the US company directly and or cash the check received from the company in the United States then you will be in violation of the terms of your visa.

Otherwise you're not but if you want to check on precedents set for this type of situations by law you will need to get in touch with an immigration lawyer.

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Just as you say, it's a fact that people continually and often blur the lines between " ' working ' " there for a week and "just going for a meeting". –  Joe Blow 21 hours ago

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