I work as a freelancer in web development in Germany for German customers. I now want to visit my sister as a tourist for 2 months in the US. She's studying there for a year.

Am I allowed to continue to work on my projects for my German customers while being in the US? I do not want to get new American customers.

  • Which kind of problems are you anticipating? Especially since it's remote work, no one will ever notice. As for taxes, no Finanzamt will ever know that you were traveling while sending your invoices (from your home address). As for visa regulations, it might be illegal, but I don't think Immigrations will or can prove that you were working while you were only allowed to travel. IANAL ;)
    – graup
    Sep 24, 2013 at 10:40
  • Thanks graup. This might be an option but I would rather work legally. Btw I will be going to Seoul next year too. Do you know the regulations there?
    – user8526
    Sep 24, 2013 at 13:28
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    @karancan I disagree, this question is about working while travelling, and not about looking for a new job
    – Dirty-flow
    Sep 24, 2013 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


Looks like a duplicate of Can you search for a job when using a tourist visa (B-2) in the US
To summarise the accepted answer there: NO.
The visa requirements quite clearly state you're not allowed to perform labour, they don't specify that that labour has to be performed for a US company.
In fact you are not even allowed to enter the US on a tourist visa to go to a professional conference or training course, where you don't perform a job at all.
From what I can read on the requisite websites, you probably need an H-1b or L visa, which can be very hard and expensive to get (the H-1b application quota for example are usually full for the year within an hour of the process opening for that year).

  • Thanks for the links, I will read them. But as I said, I am not getting in touch with any American companies, customers or job seeking what so ever. I am just sitting at the flat coding my projects to deliver them out when I am back in Germany.
    – user8526
    Sep 24, 2013 at 13:31
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    So you are saying if someone came as a tourist, is a writer, he couldn't sit on the beaches of Florida and pen his thoughts in a word editor in his laptop, while the book would be published later in Europe ? Sep 24, 2013 at 13:55
  • Not sure if I quite agree. Particularly for intellectual work, it's very hard to prove what is "work" and what isn't. Is checking your company email work? Is coding? Or thinking about the project you are working on? For those types of activities, I'd say you should be able to do it without anyone making a fuss. Sep 24, 2013 at 13:56
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    @mindcorrosive there's a difference between doing it and not getting noticed and being allowed to do it. I know that if my employer sends me to the US to do coding there for one of their customers I definitely need a business visa, and if it's long term a work permit. For a free lance coder that would be no different.
    – jwenting
    Sep 24, 2013 at 15:54

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