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Im an Italian citizen. I will have to spend 3 month (90 days) in a illustration studio based in washington. I will follow the work and gain some practical experience, working with computers programs.

I will not be paid by any US source for this training and i will also attend a conference in Philadelphia.

Can this situation be considered into the criteria of elegibility found for VWP

"attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference. attend short-term training (you may not be paid by any source in the United States with the exception of expenses incidental to your stay)"

??

Will I be safe, if asked from an officer, to say the truth?

Any help is welcome.

  • 2
    I'm not an immigration lawyer, but what you describe seems to exactly match the paragraph you quote: short-term training and a professional conference. – Nate Eldredge Mar 25 '15 at 18:39
  • When asked by a customs officer, always tell the truth. The one concern I see, incidentally, is I'm not sure where the conference fits in with the training -- if the training takes the whole 90-day stay, when do you do the conference in Philadelphia? – cpast Mar 26 '15 at 3:34
  • Are you attending the training in the hope to secure a job with the company? I.e. can your training be in any way considered an unpaid internship with a better-than-nothing chance of leading to a job? – JoErNanO Mar 26 '15 at 15:06
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Yes to Training, No to Internships

As you correctly point out, the Visa Waiver Program governmental webpage states:

Business

[...]

  • attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
  • attend short-term training (you may not be paid by any source in the United States with the exception of expenses incidental to your stay)

You should therefore be allowed to attend a conference in the USA on the Visa Waiver Program. You should also be allowed to complete a training period with a company in the US, as long as you receive no money from that company aside from reimbursements for living expenses.

More importantly however, a distinction is to be made on whether the training is considered an internship or not. The idea behind this being that internships can lead to a potential job offer, hence carrying out an internship in the US would effectively be considered job-seeking. This is specified in the Business Visa Travel to the United States leaflet which can be found on the aforementioned governmental website:

Training

Participating in a training program that is not designed primarily to provide employment. Will receive no payment or income from a U.S. based company/entity, other than an expense allowance or expense reimbursement related to traveler’s stay.

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