Willy Asselberghs on fri 23 dec 05
Hello, I am a European member of Clayart, and was invited to present some workshops in the States next spring.
One of the Organisers requested identification of green card or work permit, which I don’t have and can’t get. Over here, this is already a big problem for big-scale corporate business, but just impossible to obtain for anything related to ceramics or art in general, unless your name is Dali or Picasso.. The story also goes that, presuming an application for an official work permit is requested, examined and 999 chanches out of a 1000 refused, one gets “blacklisted” for life for any future entrance in the US.
So I am obliged to travel with a 3-month tourist visa, as I have done for many years under same circumstances..
However, I was now informed that, I quote, “for B-1 or B-2 Visas for Leisure or Tourism, persons admitted under this status are not allowed to work or receive any kind of payment while being in the US.”
As I know that some Clayarters on this list are involved in organising workshops, and regularly have non-USA teachers, here’s a request for your advice and thoughts about this situation, and how you handled this in the past, or any sidepaths or available solutions….
Any other comments or ideas wellcome.
For obvious reasons, I am sending this no-name-attached under anonymous Yahoo-Identity.
Thanks to reply off-list to my anonymous email@example.com
Allready contacted 2 Clayarters off-list about the subject. Those that advised me to “stay under the radar” and “cancel this workshop or you will end up in the computer from hell” will know who I am…..
One too many Kafkas.
Yahoo! DSL Something to write home about. Just $16.99/mo. or less
Steve Slatin on fri 23 dec 05
I'm replying on-list because there's no compromising information
of any kind in the following, and the problem is not unique to
your situation. Oh, and you gave us your name.*
First -- you say you usually get a 3-mo visa. I'm not sure what
you mean by this, because you also say you're a Western
European. If your country of citizenship is on the Visa Waiver
list (see list at www.travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html#2)
then you've probably been traveling on visa waivers instead of
an actual applied-at-the-consulate visa. Entry under this
program gives you a maximum stay of 90 days; it permits you
to travel and engage in business, but you can't work for wages
on this program. You have to have a particular kind of passport
for this program; one of the newer machine-readable ones.
Second -- There are also the B-1 visa for business, and the B-2 for
travel for pleasure, family visits, etc.; frequently they are issued
as B-1/B-2, from what I believe to be your country these are issued
generally for 120 months' duration, and permit stays of up to 6 months
and allows for extensions. The restrictions on your activities is as in
a visa waiver trip, though. Any valid passport will do.
Third -- At this point you're thinking "Well that's a fine mess you
got us in! I can get to the US in two different ways, but in neither
can I do the workshop!" But not so! If this workshop is something
that you want to participate in, and you don't need the money,
you can participate on an unpaid basis. If you want to be 100%
pukka-pukka on this, apply for a visa at your local consulate with
a letter from the workshop organizer confirming that you will not
be paid, and the visa may be issued on that basis. They may not
annotate it, but the records will show your purpose in traveling,
and the organizer may certainly arrange room and board for you
at the organization's expense.
Fourth -- This leads to the question of honoraria. To the best of
my knowledge, the sole established guidance for accepting
honoraria for what is otherwise travel under a non-wage type visa
is approved is for precisely those B-1/2 visas, and limits you to
five such visits a year and no more than 9 days per visit, but I
only knew of it being done for Journalists. I do not know if it
is specifically restricted to journalists, but it might be worth some
research. With this exception, the institution where you get the
honorarium has to be an institution of higher learning, a related nonprofit,
a nonprofit research organization, or something similar. Do your
organizers qualify? If so, this is worth a look.
Fifth -- If you are to obtain a visa specific to your work (and not
a general travel-for-pleasure-or-business visa) then you need
to have your conference organizers look into getting labor
certification for you. The reason why you've heard the rumor that
people who apply are 99% sure to be turned down is that with a
very small handful of exceptions, you can't get the visa until the
labor certification is obtained by the proposed employer. There
are also numerical limitations on the number of visas that can be
issued for these exceptional cases, long story short -- the
organizers have to do this for you. You can't do it for yourself.
Sixth -- The problem isn't with your status or even with the US visa law (though
an argument can be made for this) -- it's with the organizers of the
The organizers have to jump through certain hurdles for you to get
a visa to work in the US. This means that -- if you are to be compensated
for your presentation -- they have to obtain "labor certification" to get you
a work visa. Once they have gotten this, your odds of getting an
appropriate visa rise to 98% or better.
My guess is, based on the organizers having asked you for your green
card, is that they know they're paying wages, they know they can't
employ you if you're not legal, and they haven't got a clue as to what
your status is or, for that matter, what they're doing.
Seventh -- Worrying about being 'blacklisted' because of requesting
a work visa is about 97% myth for citizens of *******. If you already
have a visa, or have traveled to the US and returned, and have a
permanent job and a life in ******* requesting a TEMPORARY work
visa doesn't count for much in terms of predicting your future behavior.
If you were a penniless, illiterate, unemployed orphan from a country
with a civil war going on trying to get to the US to do agricultural work,
it would be different.
My advice** -- The smart thing is to write the organizers, explain that
you're a citizen of ******* with no legal residence in the US, and THEY
have to straighten out the details with the visa issue, since you,
legally, cannot. If they can do it in time for spring (it's probably still
possible, I don't know what state they're in or how long labor
certification may take in that state, but that's usually the holdup)
you've got no issue, they just need to do their work.
DISCLAIMERS -- I haven't been an FS professional for 4 1/2 years;
I haven't had any visa responsibilities for approximately 10 years,
laws and regulations do change, yes, I know YOU see nothing
wrong with Willy's giving a presentation in the US, no, I don't
have anything personal against Willy, foreign potters, or residents
of *******, no, you shouldn't recommend that Willy break the law
and fib about the purpose of his trip because people can and do
get caught, and yes, you can end up with a VD*** and then you can't
get back in the US for many years even if you DO have a good
reason; please don't kill the messenger.
Best wishes -- Steve Slatin
* See your message, below.
** Widely reputed to be worth every penny you paid for it
*** A record of a voluntary departure rather than a deportation on
your record. Why, what did you think I meant?
Willy Asselberghs wrote: Hello, I am a European member of Clayart, and was invited to present some workshops in the States next spring.
One of the Organisers requested identification of green card or work permit, which I donï¿½t have and canï¿½t get. Over here, this is already a big problem for big-scale corporate business, but just impossible to obtain for anything related to ceramics or art in general, unless your name is Dali or Picasso.. The story also goes that, presuming an application for an official work permit is requested, examined and 999 chanches out of a 1000 refused, one gets ï¿½blacklistedï¿½ for life for any future entrance in the US.
Steve Slatin --
And I've seen it all, I've seen it all
Through the yellow windows of the evening train...
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