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I live with my fiancee in Europe. I'm from here, she is American.

We want to marry so she can stay with me in Europe.

We're not interested in living in America. However it would be interesting for me to apply to an immigrant visa (CR1), so I can work remotely for US companies, as an employee rather than as a contractor.

(I'm currently a contractor. As a US employee, I could get better work opportunities)

Is it possible to achieve, retain and make use of CR1/IR1 visas while staying outside the US, but working for US companies as an employee, paying US taxes, Social Security, etc?

We could occasionally visit the US for specific steps, but otherwise we wouldn't want to establish ourselves there. At the same time we would like to keep everything faithful to the law.

closed as off-topic by phoog, Mark Mayo May 1 '18 at 1:03

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    This is more appropriate to Expatriates, but the answer is no. Immigrant visas are for people who plan to become permanent residents, which implies that they intend to reside in the US. By intending to reside outside the US, you do not qualify. To work for a US company while living in Europe, you should set yourself up as an independent contractor. For example, you can start a European company that employs you and bills the American company. US companies generally won't even employ Americans who live abroad; employment law assumes that you live in the jurisdiction where you work. – phoog Apr 30 '18 at 22:36
  • @phoog thanks for the reply! Much appreciated. – throwaway Apr 30 '18 at 23:26
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Is it possible to achieve, retain and make use of CR1/IR1 visas while staying outside the US, but working for US companies as an employee, paying US taxes, Social Security, etc?

No, it is not possible. An immigrant visa itself does not grant you any rights you're looking for, such as a right to be employed in the USA. You get those rights by entering the USA, turning on your immigrant visa and paperwork and - assuming you're admitted - receiving the conditional/permanent resident status. This status is what essentially grants you those rights.

Then you can apply for employment in a specific company, and after some time ask to be moved abroad on a temporary assignment (which can last a while). This way you'd be considered an employee, and eligible for employee benefits - many of which, such as US health insurance or FSA plans, would make no sense for you anyway.

The catch, of course, is that to keep this status, you have to be physically present in the USA 180+ days in each year, which you don't want to do. Thus this will not work for you.

Finally, to work for an US company from abroad you do not need any kind of US visa; you either work on a contract basis, or are hired by a local office of this company, if any. As you already mentioned, you would get more limited opportunities, but this is not because you're not American. The USA-based job market protections do not apply in this case, so you're effectively competing with people from other countries, many of whom have low salary expectations.

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    "to keep this status, you have to be physically present in the USA 180+ days in each year" There is no such rule. Whether someone abandons residence depends on many factors, not just the amount of time they are out of the US. – user102008 May 1 '18 at 1:12
  • There are ways to work around it (finishing study, hospitalization, reentry permit, work for US government abroad etc). Lacking that, the only way to be sure is to spend more time in the US than outside. – George Y. May 1 '18 at 3:12

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