It’s 9:30 pm on a Sunday and you just got a call on your cell from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”) at LAX. A Vice President from one of your foreign offices has been spending a lot of time here lately developing business leads and strategy. CBP is holding him in secondary inspection and he’s been there for 12 hours. Even though he’s paid overseas, CBP has some questions to ask you to see if he has been “working” here. CBP advises you that they are seriously considering giving him an “expedited removal order” with a 5-year bar on entering the U.S., and putting him on a flight back to Europe tomorrow afternoon. His inability to return to the U.S. would be catastrophic to your business.
The regulations regarding business visitors entering on a B-1 visa or ESTA visa waiver are vague. There is no bright line test for when someone is “working here” versus “having meetings and consultations”. However, there are ways to improve your odds that you will not be flagged and challenged by CBP. Continue Reading