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I do have a business travel to the US that will last for 5 months. This includes technical trainings, knowledge transfers, project planning and client meetings. Im kinda worried since this initial trip of mine is too long. I do have return ticket and a hotel booked for 5 months.

  • What do you think will be the possible questions by immigration officers to me?
  • And what supporting documents from my company should I have?
  • Any tips will also be a great help.
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    Do you have a US visa? That's where most of the documents and questions will happen. You can only enter on the Visa Waiver Program (if you're eligible) for 90 days, so you'd need a visa for this trip. In addition, a five month trip sounds much more like "working in the US" than an ordinary business trip and a visa that allows employment may be required. – Zach Lipton Jun 16 '16 at 17:56
  • Do you have a history of travel to the US? What kind of visa do you have and what justification did you use? – Berwyn Jun 16 '16 at 18:03
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    Yes. I do have a multiple entry visa valid for 10 yrs. This upcoming project will be big and most technologies are proprietary that's why a long duration of training is required. All of the "work" in making the system will be done back in my country. – Bri Jun 16 '16 at 18:06
  • Hi Berwyn, this is my initial travel. I do have a B1/B2 Visa, Multiple entry valid for 10yrs – Bri Jun 16 '16 at 18:07
  • Where are you from? Can you answer about history of travel to the US? I doubt I can give you a good answer to your question but it might help others. I've probably spent at least 5 years in the US on various different visas and I still can't rate your chances. – Berwyn Jun 16 '16 at 18:19
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There is nothing to worry about.

I did the same thing a while ago - for 7 months - and the officers asked me the usual stuff, which company, what work, etc. You answer them truthfully about duration, content (training, project discussions and coordination meetings, customer meetings, etc.), and that's it.

The core point is you are not doing anything illegal or shady, so there is nothing to worry. You have the correct paperwork, and they are only verifying the details.

  • Thanks! What are the docs they look for? – Bri Jun 17 '16 at 3:02
  • He never asked anything to see (outside of my passport and visa). I had my return flight ticket and hotel booking ready, but he didn't care for it. I think the main point is that you answer consistent and don't sound avoiding or fishy. Don't try to hide details (like you want to sneak in a week of vacation at the end - that's legal and makes you more human) – Aganju Jun 17 '16 at 3:04
  • Great! Seeing some good light now. If its okay, may I know the nature of your business? – Bri Jun 17 '16 at 3:09
  • @Bri, IT Project Management. I'm generally not publishing any more about me, sorry. – Aganju Jun 17 '16 at 13:39
  • It's fine. i'm on Software Development, this business really entails long trips if necessary. :) – Bri Jun 17 '16 at 14:45
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Just updating this now, I am now in US for about a month having my trainings. Here's what happened during the immigration officer in Point of Entry:

He asked me my purpose of visiting US, and how long I will stay. I said 5 months, he was quite skeptic because of the long duration of training, he asked for supporting documents like invitation letter and list of trainings I will be attending into and why will it take that long. I told him that the purpose of the training is actually a knowledge transfer because the project our company got will be developed back in my country and I am the one who leads it. He asked me the what is the nature of our services/projects. And he stamped my i-94 for 6 months.

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    Well done and thanks for coming back and updating us – Berwyn Aug 3 '16 at 2:05
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I'm going to suggest an answer and hope that someone else will come along with more knowledge.

I've entered the US dozens of times, probably hundreds, on multiple visa types and also on an ESTA many times. Hence, I'm probably considered a small risk and won't get the same type of interview as you. I have had many interrogations though! I also have many colleagues who have related their experiences to me.

If I were you, I would probably request an entry for a shorter period than 5 months. Perhaps 2 or 3 months. My reasoning would be that as a visitor with no prior history, a 5 month entry might be rejected as indicating that the purpose of entry is for work. If I received a 6 month entry stamp, I would then consider changing my flights to leave later.

At immigration, you must do as you have said and talk about training, meetings, knowledge transfer. Do not mention the word "work"!

  • Thanks a lot Berwyn! My company already bought the ticket good for 5 months though as well as hotel reservations. I'm now asking them to provide me - a guarantee letter that I will return, a contract/bond that I need to return to my home country and an invitation letter attached with the full overview of my itinerary that includes the trainings, meetings and knowledge transfer. Do you think will that be good? Asking for prayers too. :D – Bri Jun 16 '16 at 19:03
  • The thing about guaranteeing you will return is good for a typical visit, but you need to persuade the immigration officer you are not there to work. That is a big deal. Is it possible that your company could split up your visit if it were necessary? – Berwyn Jun 16 '16 at 19:06
  • I think it's too late now since all things were set and the expenses were paid. This is giving me anxiety – Bri Jun 16 '16 at 19:09
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    @Bri Maybe another visa type would be indicated, such as L-1. – phoog Jun 16 '16 at 19:10
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    Ok, Bri. I suggest drawing up an itinerary for every week. List the meetings, attendees, who you will train or who will train you. Try not to leave any gaps where someone might draw a conclusion that you're working – Berwyn Jun 16 '16 at 19:18

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