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Working remotely from US during COVID

Working remotely from US during COVID

Old May 21st 2020, 5:25 pm
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Default Working remotely from US during COVID

Hi All,

Apologies if this is not the correct place for this, but I just wanted to check before I agree to anything.

I live in the U.K, and currently in the 1-130 process with my USC Wife. I work for a UK company and currently am permanent WFH for the foreseeable future due to the pandemic, my manager has offered to let me go and work remotely from my Wifes house in the US until we return back to the office.

Just curious if this would be allowed legally with employment laws in the US. (I’m aware of the COVID dangers with travelling and in the US right now, and I’m willing to accept that to be with my wife)

Thanks.
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Old May 21st 2020, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Working remotely from US during COVID

There are two areas of concern [1] do you have a visa that allows you to work while physically present in the US? (And would anyone notice if you worked but don't have the right sort of visa and/or EAD? .... which might imply that you would have misrepresented yourself to the immigration officer when you arrived in the US, which would be what I would call "a bad idea".) And [2] are you, and your employer, planning on paying taxes to the IRS, state, and perhaps municipality, not to mention payroll taxes (equiv to NI), for the period while you are working in the US?

My thoughts on these two areas are that [1] USCIS wield a pretty big stick and could make things difficult for you, but that [2] the IRS can make things far more painful!

Last edited by Pulaski; May 21st 2020 at 6:08 pm.
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Old May 21st 2020, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Working remotely from US during COVID

Basically, no. If you enter the USA as a visitor, you are not allowed to work at all, not even remotely for a non-US employer.

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Old May 21st 2020, 11:35 pm
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Default Re: Working remotely from US during COVID

Your question is one I call “deceptively simple.” I do not say the prior two answers are wrong, but reasonable US immigration legal minds may beg to disagree on the answers.

i am not trying to be obscure (forum participants accuse me of being “cryptic” whatever the eff that means, but I digress). But if I was still practicing (come out of retirement) my opinion would be in writing, no less than five pages, single spaced.
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Old May 22nd 2020, 11:09 pm
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Default Re: Working remotely from US during COVID

Originally Posted by S Folinsky View Post
Your question is one I call “deceptively simple.” I do not say the prior two answers are wrong, but reasonable US immigration legal minds may beg to disagree on the answers.

i am not trying to be obscure (forum participants accuse me of being “cryptic” whatever the eff that means, but I digress). But if I was still practicing (come out of retirement) my opinion would be in writing, no less than five pages, single spaced.
this keeps cropping up - general advice is "no" but if it's worth it to you, you could get an immigration lawyer to look into it for you and see if you could manage it legally. However, I'd pay the lawyer for the advice before attempting to work.
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Old May 22nd 2020, 11:19 pm
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Default Re: Working remotely from US during COVID

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
this keeps cropping up - general advice is "no" but if it's worth it to you, you could get an immigration lawyer to look into it for you and see if you could manage it legally. However, I'd pay the lawyer for the advice before attempting to work.
I know you have been keeping on top of this, so would he not have to self-isolate both on arriving in the US and then returning to the UK, making the whole situation even more complicated?
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Old May 22nd 2020, 11:58 pm
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Default Re: Working remotely from US during COVID

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
I know you have been keeping on top of this, so would he not have to self-isolate both on arriving in the US and then returning to the UK, making the whole situation even more complicated?
He would currently have to self-isolate coming into the USA and he would be restricted to using 1 of 13 airports which may or may not be an added bother and after June 8th going back to the UK.

https://www.dhs.gov/coronavirus/prot...merican-public
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Old May 23rd 2020, 12:48 am
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Default Re: Working remotely from US during COVID

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
this keeps cropping up - general advice is "no" but if it's worth it to you, you could get an immigration lawyer to look into it for you and see if you could manage it legally. However, I'd pay the lawyer for the advice before attempting to work.
I think the very fact that the esteemed Mr Folinsky says he could write five pages on the subject proves that the answer is, at best, very murky, and is a long way from "yup, there won't be a problem", and therefore, unless as Petitefrancaise said, you want to pay for some specific legal advice to hear what your lawyer thinks would be OK, and bear in mind that you might have to either [1] pay for further advice if everything blows up, or [2] might be denied entry on arrival in the US if the immigration officer thinks that something doesn't smell right, as they can do that on pretty much a whim, then the only safe advice is to be patient and wait in the UK for your visa to be approved unless it is convenient and practical to spend and holiday time in the US.

Oh, and as far as I can tell, Mr Folinsky's advice does not have any bearing on the matter of the IRS and income taxes, which I believe is a lot clearer cut.
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Old May 23rd 2020, 4:39 am
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Default Re: Working remotely from US during COVID

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
I think the very fact that the esteemed Mr Folinsky says he could write five pages on the subject proves that the answer is, at best, very murky, and is a long way from "yup, there won't be a problem", and therefore, unless as Petitefrancaise said, you want to pay for some specific legal advice to hear what your lawyer thinks would be OK, and bear in mind that you might have to either [1] pay for further advice if everything blows up, or [2] might be denied entry on arrival in the US if the immigration officer thinks that something doesn't smell right, as they can do that on pretty much a whim, then the only safe advice is to be patient and wait in the UK for your visa to be approved unless it is convenient and practical to spend and holiday time in the US.

Oh, and as far as I can tell, Mr Folinsky's advice does not have any bearing on the matter of the IRS and income taxes, which I believe is a lot clearer cut.
The issues are murky. And quite frankly I don’t know the answers - but it is an informed lack of knowledge.

Perhaps as a pathway for OP to figure it out, some questions might be asked.

Is OP asking if I t is permissible for him to work? Is OP asking if it permissible for the UK employer to use OP’s services? And assuming it is not permissible, what is the downside or penalties?

Curiously, a common criticism of lawyers is that we are too quick to say “no.” It is preferable to figure out how to do it.
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