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My stay would be over 90 days as I would be in the US for just over three months. I've been looking online for the answer but it doesn't seem clear.

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    Are you seeking to be in US and work for your UK-based company or is the company seeking to send you to the US? How does the time add up to 90+ days since your gross working period is 84 days? Jul 24 at 1:35
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    I know someone who tried to do exactly this a few years back. Turned up at the border after a long haul flight, was refused entry at immigration and sent straight back home. So be very sure you are allowed to do what you're planning to do, otherwise it will go badly!
    – Bamboo
    Jul 25 at 2:23

2 Answers 2

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There is no visa in the US that allows the bearer to work remotely for a foreign employer. If you're planning to stay in the US as a "visitor for business or pleasure" for longer than 90 days, you would need a B visa (B-1 or B-1/B-2 as a business visitor; B-2 or B-1/B-2 as a "pleasure" visitor).

As a B-2 visitor, you are allowed to undertake incidental tasks related to your employment, such as e-mail, telephone calls, and so on. As a business visitor, you can also attend meetings, negotiate contracts, and other similar activity. There's no clear guidance concerning full-on working, but anecdotally it seems that if you apply for a visa saying that you intend to be working full time, remotely, for your foreign employer, the visa will be refused. Similarly, if the immigration officer discovers the same intention, you will not be admitted to the US.

This may not make much sense, especially in terms of fostering the US tourism sector, but that seems to be how it works these days.

For what it is worth, Canada has explicitly taken the opposite position on this question, so you might consider going there instead.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your pay for the work you perform in the United States is likely taxable in the United States.

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    The first statement in your answer is not necessarily correct. Depending on the work it is possible that a B-1 visa would be suitable, however even if it wasn't then a "B-1 in Lieu of H-1B" visa would allow this (presuming the applicant met the requirements).
    – Doc
    Jul 23 at 18:27
  • There's no clear guidance concerning full-on working - yes there is. See the "travel not permitted on visitor visas" section: travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/…
    – littleadv
    Jul 23 at 19:13
  • @Doc this article explains in what cases BILOH is suitable (hint: not this case), and also mentioned that it is going away: klaskolaw.com/news-politics/…
    – littleadv
    Jul 23 at 19:27
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    @littleadv I don't how you can state "not this case" when the chris1888 has provided almost zero details of what "this case" is...
    – Doc
    Jul 23 at 20:44
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    @littleadv "yes there is": where on that page is the question of remote work for a foreign employer addressed? It is not clear that the word "employment" covers that.
    – phoog
    Jul 24 at 9:39
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In order to work in the US, you have to have an employment authorization in the US.

There are different kinds of employment authorizations for foreigners:

  • Limited to specific employer: the employer has to ask for this, and such authorization results usually in an L or H visa (L1a/b or H1b are the most common ones, but there are other sub-classes). In some exceptional cases there's also the E visas, O visas, and for government officials there are A/G visas, and some more esoteric classes for other specific activities (like religious activities, merchant marines, air crews, etc). Some countries have specific agreements allowing their citizens to work in the US more easily (e.g.: TN status for Canadians).

  • Employer agnostic: You can get an employment authorization for yourself if you're a student/recent graduate (as part of the OPT/CPT process), or if you're in a process of adjustment of status to permanent residency. Some undocumented immigrants can also receive employment authorization as part of DACA, and some refugees and other arrivals can get it while their petitions are being processed.

  • Implicit: you implicitly have employment authorization in the US if you're a US citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident.

If you don't have an employment authorization, then you're not allowed to work in the US. It doesn't matter where your employer is. As mentioned in the other answer, you can conduct some business activities on a B1 visa, but these are restricted and limited in scope. For example, meetings with your US co-workers or partners, occasional phone calls or emails, negotiations, conferences, presentations, and such. Not working. The US DOS explicitly states that employment on B1 is forbidden here:

These are some examples of activities that require different categories of visas and cannot be done while on a visitor visa:

Study

Employment

Paid performances, or any professional performance before a paying audience

Arrival as a crewmember on a ship or aircraft

Work as foreign press, in radio, film, print journalism, or other information media

Permanent residence in the United States

All these cases have their own specific visas.

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  • This prohibits working for foreign press but why did they single out press? That seems to me to say that digital nomad type work is otherwise not prohibited, only working for a US employer. Jul 25 at 2:25
  • @LorenPechtel working for foreign press may not be employment (e.g.: freelance reporter investigating a story intending to later sell it to a paper). There is however an explicit visa class for this type of activity.
    – littleadv
    Jul 25 at 4:54

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