I am writing to ask about a personal circumstance that entails a complex situation, and I would appreciate if any of you could give me some advice.
I am a European citizen who has been living in the US for 6.5 years. I came with a J-1 Research visa to work as a scientist in a State Public University, and about two years ago I transferred to an H1-B visa that expires by the end of 2019. However, I recently earned a position to come back to live and work in my home country in the EU. Since I cannot delay it, I recently resigned from my job in the US and plan to start my new position in the EU in a few weeks. On the other hand, my wife (who is also from the EU) is also working in the US with an H1-B visa that expires on 2020, and she plans to stay in the US for at least half a year more.
Our “problem” lies in that we are expecting a baby that will arrive by the end of December. This will be our second baby; we have a 2 year old kid who has an American passport. For this reason, I would like to stay in the US as much as possible for the next six months. My plan would be to spend two 3-month stays as a tourist to take care of my wife and the kid(s).
My new company in the EU would give me permission to stay in the US for this period. Also, although my primary aim visiting the US is to take care of my family, ideally I’d like to work remotely even if not at full time (I am a programmer). Notice that during this time I wouldn’t keep in touch or hold any professional relationship with my present employer, or any other company in the US. Moreover, our family plan is to leave the US after these six months and therefore I have no intentions of moving to the US permanently.
My inclination is to travel back to the US in late October as a tourist using the VWP. To do so, I have been thinking that I should gather as much evidence of my intentions to avoid any problem with the border officers. For instance, I could present a document from my new EU employer stating that they allow me staying in the US until March due to my personal circumstances (as well as stating what my new EU salary is and that I have a 5-year contract there). I have also thought about getting a letter from my current American employer explaining that they are not planning any professional relationship with me, and that my US visit is entirely due to personal reasons. Finally, I can also obtain official extracts of my EU bank account, as well as copies of my wife’s salary and immigration documents to demonstrate that I can support my visit with my own EU money.
I have a few questions about this:
Does all this sound like a feasible plan? If so, is there any other official document I should bring with me?
Even if this is not problematic when doing it once, should I tell them about my plans of a second 3 month visit after my first visit?
On the other hand, how I am supposed to address the work bit? I wouldn’t be working for any American company, nor having any professional relationship in the US. So my gathering is that I am allowed to work, even if not full-time, during these visits. But if officers ask me, should I be that open about it? This bit worries me, because on the one hand having my own salary in Europe serves as proof of attachment to Europe, but on the other hand they can get picky if I keep some professional activity whilst visiting my wife?
Finally, I have also thought about trying to get a B2 visa that would allow me staying in the US for 6 months without any problem when travelling back and forth. But I am not sure if my 6.5 stay in the US on J-1 and H1-B visas might be an impediment to obtain it, and whether any potential rejection would entail not having access to the VWP?
Thanks a lot!