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Can a remote worker visiting the US for one week with a B2 visa continue to work for their employer in Netherlands?

The remote worker will not get paid at the US at all. The remote worker gets their salary from their employer in Netherlands. The remote worker lives in Netherlands. The remote worker's employer exists in the US too (think of big MNCs that exist in the US and other countries) but the US company is a separate legal entity from the employer in Netherlands.

If the remote worker is allowed to travel to the US, then what should be the answer to these questions at the border control?

  • Have you come here on holiday?
  • Are you going to work during your one week stay in the US?
  • Are you on leave (personal time off) from your employer that belongs to the country of residence? (I think this should be "no" because the remote worker is not on leave.)
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    @DavidRemembersMonica not sure what makes you say that. The answer is simple and declarative. Working in the US without working visa is forbidden. I know there are a lot of people here who're trying to advance the notion of "digital nomads are above the law because laws are old", but the OP should know that this notion is basically "we like breaking laws we don't like" and nothing more.
    – littleadv
    Apr 24, 2023 at 20:54
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    @littleadv I don't disagree with you, but will observe that the OP doesn't say what they mean by the word "work." Without further definition, whatever answer is given to the OP's second query may not comport with what the OP has in mind. Apr 24, 2023 at 20:57
  • @DavidRemembersMonica "continue to work" means performing all the same duties and responsibilities as they were before the travel. That's the plain understanding of the English text, and I see no ambiguity in it. And that would be very much in violation of B2 conditions of admission (or B1, for that matter)
    – littleadv
    Apr 24, 2023 at 21:01
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    What are you going to do in the US? Would that be a new or existing visa? On a B1, you are allowed to do “business”. Meeting colleagues, customers, suppliers, partners, signing contracts, etc. is fine. Most other forms of work are not.
    – jcaron
    Apr 24, 2023 at 21:33
  • @jcaron The remote worker in this question is going to be travelling a few cities in the US for pleasure. That would be an existing visa. The remote worker has an old but still valid B1/B2 visa that they have previously used for business meetings (B1) and travelling for pleasure (B2). But this time the remote worker is visiting US for pleasure. But they plan to work for their employer in Netherlands. Apr 24, 2023 at 22:06

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Yes, the remote worker can travel. No, the remote worker cannot continue working remotely. No, it doesn't matter where your bank account is or where the employer's head office is.

There's a lot of people on this forum that consider following the immigration rules a mere suggestion and not a requirement. However, if you answer to the three questions honestly ( 1=no, 2=yes, 3=no) you would not be allowed entry to the US. If you do not answer honestly, you would be breaking the US law and may face denial of entry, deportation, or future denials of immigration benefits and bans of entry, if caught.

While many on this forum would tell you "break the law, we don't like it anyway", the risk will be on you. You will be the one actually breaking the law.


As, not surprisingly, people in comments are trying to claim that I'm wrong, here's the reference from the US Department of State:

An individual on a visitor visa (B1/B2) is not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States.

The USCIS also says this:

If you want to travel to the United States for reasons other than business or pleasure, you must apply for a visa in the appropriate category

There will be some people on this forum who will gladly coach you to lie to the CBP officers at the immigration checks. Know that you are the one who will be punished if/when caught lying, not them. Proceed ignoring the US law with caution when you come to visit.

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    @littleadv, please remember to remain polite.
    – Willeke
    Apr 25, 2023 at 3:45
  • @Willeke politeness requires respect. People here don't realize that when they tell someone to just ignore immigration law because "you won't get caught" and someone does end up being caught - they won't even know, but someone's life will be ruined. I have zero respect to these people, and will call them out every time.
    – littleadv
    Apr 25, 2023 at 4:31
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    If you do not use respectful language, as you did in a now deleted comment, we can decide you do not belong on this site.
    – Willeke
    Apr 25, 2023 at 8:04

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