One of the companies I look after has its HQ in Georgia. Now, I’ve had a hankering to visit America for a long time, and if work can pay for my travel, so much the better. So my thought would be to work for 2 weeks or so - as a team-building / getting to know you / learning exercise - and then travel. Is this going to be a problem with US immigration / whoever? Would I need one visa to work then ‘exit’ the US and then ‘re-enter’ or can one visa cover the lot? Further, this is the aerospace field (though I’m not a pilot), so are there additional considerations?
More IMHO-ish, but what is the most congenial time for a Brit to visit Georgia?
Right now it’s kind of warm (to say the least) in Georgia. Fall might be a good time for a visit. As to the visa question, your employer should be able to help arrange the proper travel docs for you. I doubt if you will need multiple visas if you’re entering for business reasons even if you mix in some personal time.
According to the U.S. State Department, citizens of the UK can travel to the U.S. for tourist or business purposes without a visa, as long as the visit is less than 90 days and certain other requirements are met. See this page for details. If you don’t meet the waiver requirements you will have to apply for a B-1 visa, but it sounds as though that visa class applies to business and tourism purposes alike.
Flying lessons are one thing, but there’s no reason to be concerned if your job is as a measly office drone. The US and UK have mutual visa-waiver agreements, and people go back and forth for office work all the time. As sunfish points out, as long as your visit is for less than 90 days, there shouldn’t be any problems.
Quartz, make sure to let us know when you’ll be here, and we’ll have a big old party! We have great Dopefests in Atlanta.
However, it really is hotter than heck here right now. And the humidity! And it will only get worse for the next two months, from what I understand. I’ve been here since last September and am suffering through my first ‘Hotlanta’ summer.
I could be wrong but I suspect that flying lessons required tuition payments and then would have come under the heading of “attending school,” and so a student visa would have been necessary. (Flight schools are under special scrutiny these days w/r/t foreign students anyway, as you might imagine.) As long as you’re only hanging out in the office, you should be fine as just a visitor.
Heed herownself’s warning about the weather, though! You’ll wilt in no time if you go to Atlanta during the summer months.
It is surprisingly cold and damp and icky here in the winter. My friend who helped me pack (moved from Seattle) didn’t let me bring enough winter stuff - like, no gloves!- because “it’s so hot in Atlanta”. Ha! Cold, yucky winter.
Come in the fall or the spring. Besides, you don’t want to go to most of the rest of the US in the Winter. Winter big yucky in, say, Chicago. And you have to visit Chicago! And New York! And …
There’s a fine line between what kinds of work-related activities are considered “productive employment” for immigration purposes, thereby requiring a work visa, and what kinds of activities will be OK on the Visa Waiver as a UK national. As a rule, meetings, attending conferences, and generally training are OK, but if you’re coming to do hands-on work on an actual project, you may need a different type of visa (H-1B, L-1, J-1, etc., depending on the purpose of your visit, the legal relationship between your employer and their office in the U.S., etc.). I’d say you should default to whatever the more "hardcore"visa category is; you can certainly take a few days off to travel on a visa that allows for U.S. work, but not vice versa.
I’ll see if I can look up something a little more clear on the subject…
Interesting. I’d really be there for training / teambuilding / getting to know you, but I expect to be doing real work as part of it. Possibly relevant is that the company which employs me is American.
Well, depending on how much trouble they’re willing to go to, you might consider the L-1 (Intracompany Transferee) visa. They’re good for 3 years, with further extensions available depending on the category, and allow for work, so no headaches about visa violations.
Thanks. This is not good news: if it’s a bother, my company won’t do it. I’ll have to make sure it’s on the job training - briefing on future strategy etc. It’s apparent that the situation is not simple, so I think a letter to the American embassy is in order.
How the heck would they ever know if you came in on a tourist visa and did a bit of work at an office? Seems like you could just get a plain ol’ visa, and do whatever you want. I’m not advocating anything illegal, just sayin’.
BY the time you write a letter to the Embassy, to which they will likely not reply, you could write an L-1 visa petition. It’s not hard - you need a Form I-129 with L Supplement, available online here:
plus you need to explain a bit about your company (I usually grab a chunk from their annual report), what your position entails in the UK, and what you would be doing in the U.S. The L-1 comes in two flavors: L-1A, for someone coming to the U.S. to serve in an executive or managerial capacity, and L-1B, someone coming to the U.S. to serve in a specialized knowledge capacity. Both of these assume that you have been working for the UK company for at least 365 days out of the past 3 years in a managerial or specialized knowledge capacity, which I’m guessing you have.
The concept of “specialized knowledge” can be a bit tricky; you may think that aerospace stuff would be by its very nature “specialized knowledge,” but the term applies to knowledge that is specific to your employer (in theory, anyway; in practice, sometimes if you wow them with the technical terms, they will approve the petition.)
More details can be found in the I-129 form instructions:
Alternately, my former employer (an immigration law firm) now has an affiliated office in London; post here, and I’ll e-mail you their contact details. If you can work this out, you can go back and forth to your heart’s content for the next 3 years.
–Eva Luna, Immigrayion Paralegal (in-house these days at a large corporation)