I know this is a kind of question we have probably already asked but I keep reading and I never get the answer I look for, I never find the same situation.

I am French, living in Spain and my boyfriend is American living in NYC. He has his own business with his brother and before we met they already wanted to expand the business (creams and body care oils) to Europe.

He wanted to hire a person to be in charge of all the translation work, calls, emails and European marketing in general for Europe. I don't want to go to the US, I am fine here in Spain but we found it stupid to hire someone to do this job when I am actually a teacher and translator here in Spain. So the plan would be to go there for a year to help them get into European business, teach them a bit of Spanish and French so they can travel (they already are in touch with potential clients) and get to know the products etc. being at the stores they have. After all this, the idea is to come back before next summer as I plan to open my little language school and he plans to open another store here in Spain.

Can he hire me even if I am his girlfriend? Nothing is official we are neither married nor pareja de hecho as we call it here. If he puts an offer online and present my resume etc for H1B visa, in the case to be approved (which I doubt with all this Corona virus thing), am I able to tell the embassy he is my boyfriend ? I mean I don't want to lie and I don't think it is an option actually, and as I really don't wanna live in the US neither... I have no plan to stay over there for green card they can be sure I will not. I have lots of stuff ready for my future school which is also a proof that I clearly have other things in mind than the US.

How should we do this?

  • For an H-1B visa you do not need to show nonimmigrant intent, because H-1B is a "dual intent" status: it provides a route to immigration. So you wouldn't need to worry about having to prove your plans to leave the US. But are you aware that petition fees and visa fees would cost a few thousand dollars? Looking at the page describing the fees, I can't even figure out which fees apply, which means the company would probably want to hire a lawyer, adding at least a few hundred more dollars to the cost.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


The H1B process takes time, luck, qualifications, fees, and skilled form-filling. I suggest avoiding it by never working in the US. You would go on living in Spain and only visit the US for short periods.

In practice, you would use the Visa Waiver Program, but B-1 Temporary Business Visitor lists the permitted business activities for a visitor to the US.

Short term training should cover getting to know the products. Discussing marketing strategy would be consulting with business associates.

Translations and marketing can be done from anywhere in the world. Calls and e-mails are best done from the correspondents' timezone or close to it, so being in Europe would be an advantage. To promptly return a 9 a.m. call from someone in France you would need get up very early in New York.

You would not be allowed to teach your boyfriend and his brother while visiting the US, but you could teach remotely and you could travel with them whenever they are in Europe to translate, smooth their way, and teach them the languages. As time goes on you do less talking and translating, until they can do business in Europe without you and you can get on with starting your school.

  • 1
    To this I would add the fact that there are more H-1B applications than visas available, so there's a good chance that it would not be possible to get a visa for months or years, depending on the lottery. Last year, the lottery ran from April 1 to April 10. This year's lottery seems still to be open, but if they miss it, Alexandra won't be able to get a visa before 2022.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 15:42
  • 1
    Alexandra (and her boyfriend) may also be unaware of the expense involved for the employer and for the employee.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 15:50
  • @phoog. I agree with your points but I listed time, luck, qualifications, fees, and skilled form-filling as being needed to get an H1B. Time is the up-to-a-year delay to be able to file, plus the time from filing to getting the visa. Luck is needed for the lottery, and the fees are indeed high. Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 16:31
  • 1
    You did indeed list those things, but I forgot them by the time I got to the end of the answer. Had I remembered, I would have worded the comment differently. The primary intention of the comment was to bring up the specific magnitude of the fees, the time, and the lottery probability, which many people will find surprising. Your answer will make more sense to people who have an accurate sense of these factors than it would to those who assume that it will cost a few hundred dollars and 6 months or less of waiting.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 17:28
  • 4
    The 2020 (fiscal year 2021) H-1B lottery is already closed. This year you had to register between March 1-20. Then USCIS picked who can submit a petition. They received 275k letters-of-intent for 85k visas. 20k of those are reserved for applicants with an advanced degree, and another (up to) 6800 are reserved for Chile or Singapore applicants.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 18:15

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