Thank you in advance for any guidance. I've looked around the web but haven't found any clear answers.
I'm an EU citizen and I work in the conference/events industry. I've only ever worked on-site in Europe and Asia.
A UK client is planning a conference, which will take place in a venue in the US. I have been asked to attend, to carry out my normal line of work as part of the conference organization. I would only need to be there for two days.
The end-client is British, the event management company is British, and I would be billing them in GBP to be paid into a European bank account, so no financial dealings whatsoever with US clients, and any "work" I would be doing at the venue would be a continuation of preparatory work I would have been doing in Europe prior to travel to the venue in the US, and it is my normal line of business.
They will confirm next week if the job is going ahead, but I don't know whether it is permitted on the Visa Waiver Program. If I need a visa, it'd be too much hassle for two or three days and I would likely have to turn down the work rather than potentially get into trouble with US authorities. Also, I'm not clear on what the distinctions are between the official definitions of "work", "business" and "employment".
I don't know whether foreign conference staff carrying out tasks at a US conference venue is covered by the circumstances in the top two rows of page 2 of this PDF.
The wording from the above link is:
- Purpose of your travel: Conference, meeting, trade show, or business event attendee
About your temporary visit: Will receive no salary or income from a U.S based company/entity. For scientific, educational, professional or business purposes.
- Purpose of Your Travel: Exposition or trade show employees of foreign exhibitors at international fairs (excludes government representatives)
About Your Temporary Visit: Will receive no salary or income from a U.S. based company/entity. Will plan, assemble, dismantle, maintain, or be employed in connection with exhibits at international fairs or expositions.
It's not an "international fair or exposition" but a conference/business event for a UK client. Just to reiterate, I would not be there as an attendee but someone sorting out stuff behind the scenes. From the above PDF, it seems possible that it would be permitted, but I'm by no means certain.
Again, thank you in advance for any guidance.