Working in the United States as Canadian with an E-Business?


I'm a freelance translator.

My clients are abroad, some in the US, some in Korea, some in Egypt.

I don't sign any papers with american companies per say, I don't deal with anyone locally, I don't make transactions in person or on hardcopy paper, payments are done to my Canadian account, I don't make any transactions via a US account.

I can work anywhere on earth there's internet.

Now my question is this:

As a Canadian, it is prohibited to obtain employment in the United States. I don't have a social Security Number for the US. I just get my jobs online and send them back online. Obviously I pay Canadian Taxes. My body isn't in Canada, but my business is. It has a PO box, I am self-employed. Where my body is, due to the nature of my business, is absolutely and totally irrelevant. It is entirely irrelevant to position in space on this earth.

Is it illegal to do so? Could it lead to trouble if a job is approved and a payment is made to my canadian account if my body is in the United States? Does it matter at all?

Thank you:



Thank you Fred for this very comprehensive and informative response.

On those points you've put there:

1) Say I jettison the US clients so I don't work for them when in the US. I would take work from Korea, Canada and Egypt only; my salary being foreign only, would it then make it legal?

2) I do have an apartment in Montreal, I do have a girl in Atlanta. She's American and under contract for 8 months in Atlanta. I'm trying to find the optimal solution for my visiting her pending this period.

3) Trying to understand the semantic difference between "Working", "Compensation" and "Employment". Are all acts of "Work" prohibited? Can I produce something while visiting? Can I make a transaction in foreign land (Canada) while being in the US without it being illegal? Can I work, basically, for the stated period of time I am enjoying my determined period of time in the US?

2 Answers

  • Fred S
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I would like to point out some court cases. Space is limited, but I'll give you enough to perceive more. Before I do, I need to indicate that you do not appear to be admissible as a visitor in that for an individual to be eligible for visitor status, the applicant must be: "An alien . . . having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States temporarily."

    A general requirement of the visitor category is that the alien's salary may not come from a U.S. source. Compensation for services is prohibited.

    There is a decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals that says: "The word 'employment' is a common one, generally used with relation to the most common pursuits, and therefore ought to be received as understood in common parlance and includes the act of being employed for one's self." You say you are self employed, and your body is in the U.S. Therefore, you are employed in the U.S. Int. Dec. 2668, Matter of Tong.

    Matter of Lawrence, 15 I. & N. Dec. 418. "The respondents, citizens of Canada, who owned 40 percent of the stock of a US corporation, entered the United States as visitors for business. In that case, the BIA held that the visit of aliens who “did not seek to enter the United States for a reasonably short and relatively definite period of time and were not coming here with any limited goal in mind, but, instead, were entering to manage the day-to-day operations of a United States enterprise,” clearly could not be characterized as “temporary,” and they were not entitled to B-1 business visitor classification."

    In Matter of Neill, 15 I. & N. Dec. 331, the BIA concluded that a principal of a Canadian engineering firm, earning approximately 30 percent of its income from clients located in the United States, who averaged one or more trips a week to the US in connection with his practice, was not engaged in “business” for B-1 visa purposes. The BIA found that his professional activities in the United States went “well beyond functions which can be described as necessary incidents to international trade or commerce.” The BIA further found that he was “regularly performing personal services in the United States independent of any other commercial activity.”

  • Ellen
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Not possible. ONLY qualified employers can apply for fully qualified & experienced employees. You neglect to mention her qualifications: education, experience & areas of expertise. Over 31 million Americans currently looking for work. Real unemployment rate is 23%. Employment visa can easily cost the employer $15,000 in legal & other fees & expenses. She has to have something no Americans have because Americans are much cheaper. So what's her masters degree in? What experience & expertise in which high-tech field? Don't even think about MBA, accounting, etc. Major glut worldwide & only 20% of American grads can find any kind of work whatsoever within a year after graduation. Wages have dropped, often by 50% or more. Engineering degrees in robotics? Nanotechnology? Might find something if she has excellent reputation in the field and superior references from current & former employers.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.