I'm sending a crew of two cameramen out to boston and hiring a local soundman. They are going to be filming a corporate film for my UK client, featuring their product in a Boston location. One of the cameramen has told me that he's previously done this on an ESTA. Can I confirm that this is okay? I don't want to get them all the way there for them to be refused entry.

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    You should read carefully the conditions of ESTA. In any case you should prepare a good plan. "two cameramen" is borderline to "media, press, .. film and print industries", which requires a special visa. – Giacomo Catenazzi Sep 4 '18 at 15:24
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    The camerman probably lied to the immigration officer on his previous entry. – JonathanReez Sep 4 '18 at 15:55
  • Sounds dodgy, to me. If you told an immigration officer this exact story, I bet their first question would be, "So, if you can hire an American sound man, why can't you hire American cameramen, too?" – David Richerby Sep 4 '18 at 18:25
  • The most direct way to confirm what's ok is to ask your local US consulate. – krubo Sep 4 '18 at 18:58

According Travel.State.Gov, an I visa is needed for, e.g.:

  • An employee of an organization that distributes technical industrial information who will work in the U.S. office of that organization.

and for such works:

Representatives of the foreign media who will work in their profession as media or journalists while in the United States cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program or on visitor (B) visas.

There is some permission for still photography, but you are doing a much more professional set up, so I fear (but not 100% sure) that your cameramen should apply a "I visa".

As you see, most wording is about foreign media, but they took a broad definition.

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    It's unclear, to me at least, if producing a corporate film counts as "media" (though I think the right thing to do is to be cautious and assume that it does). – David Richerby Sep 4 '18 at 18:23
  • It is utterly unrelated to "media" or the "press". It's just a commercial. – Fattie Nov 15 '18 at 17:58

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