I might have the opportunity to do some contract work as a contractor in the US. My fiscal advisor already told me that I am fully taxable in my home country. I will do all the work from home. In case I would travel to the US for a face to face meeting in the context of this contract work, would this be considered working and if so would I need a separate visa next to my already obtained ESTA waiver.

For taxation I already understood that these visits are still considered working in my home country. The cost of the trips would even be considered tax deductible as being costs for doing business.

  • 1
    There's no such thing as an ESTA waiver, AFAIK. ESTA is for those with a visa waiver arriving by air or sea.
    – gerrit
    Mar 12, 2014 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


Entering the U.S. on VWP for business, you can only do business in the U.S. You're not allowed to do any work, even if the work is billed by your employer at home.

Activities allowed under the VWP are:

  • consult with business associates
  • 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)
  • negotiate a contract

(source: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/visit/visa-waiver-program.html)

Doing contract work in the U.S. is not allowed when traveling under the Visa Waiver Program, no matter who's paying you. The only exception is for service engineers who are in the U.S. to install, service or repair commercial or industrial equipment or machinery sold by a non-US company to a U.S. buyer, when specifically required by the purchase contract.

The rules for business trips on VWP are roughly the same as for a B-1 visa. See also: http://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/BusinessVisa.pdf

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