January 21, 2022

Volume XII, Number 21

Advertisement
Advertisement

January 21, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

January 20, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

January 19, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

January 18, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis
Advertisement

Will U.S. Customs & Border Protection Admit Your Foreign Visitor? How to Avoid that Sunday Evening Phone Call from CBP

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.

The following conduct will likely trigger CBP’s intervention:

  • Staying more than 3 weeks per visit (even though an ESTA visa waiver visitor is admitted for 90 days and a B-1 visa holder is admitted for 180 days).

  • Leaving the U.S. and returning too soon after the last trip (back-to-back entries). CBP’s interpretation of “too soon” is very fact specific. They look at the totality of the circumstances.

  • Too many trips to the U.S. – “too many” is not defined but is more of a smell test. Again this is fact specific.

  • Having a Facebook or other social media profile that lists you as an employee of a U.S. company.

  • Bringing children to the U.S. on B-1’s at the start of a school year.  Children cannot attend public school on a B-1 and should get an F-1 visa before attending private school.

Documents to Carry on the Plane to Prove that One is Merely a Visitor:

  • Proof that one is employed and paid abroad.

  • Foreign business card.

  • Bank statement to show that one has enough funds to cover expenses while in the U.S.

  • Ties to home country (occupying a home, family ties, etc.)

  • Invitation letter from the U.S. host outlining the purpose of the trip.

  • Evidence that the U.S. entity has U.S. workers to do the daily productive work in the foreign national’s area of responsibility.

When Does The Person Need a Work Visa?

While, again, there is no bright line test, a work visa should be seriously considered in the following situations:

  • Spending more than 3 months a year in the aggregate in the U.S.

  • Repeatedly spending more than 1 month at a time in the U.S.

  • Traveling to the U.S. more than 4 times a year and staying for long periods of time on some of those trips.

  • Owning a home in the U.S.

  • The U.S. company has few or no U.S. workers on the payroll to do the daily productive work.

Final Advice

Don’t wait until you receive that Sunday evening phone call from CBP!! Be proactive and minimize your risk. If you have any doubt as to someone’s B-1 eligibility, consult with counsel. Preventive measures on the front end can spare a lot of aggravation and expense on the tail end.

Copyright © 2022, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 310
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Greg L. Berk Labor & Employment Attorney Sheppard Mullin Orange County, CA
Partner

Greg Berk is a partner in the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. He leads the Firm’s immigration practice and is based in Orange County, California. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He is the author of Immigration Checklists and Practice Pointers – A  Desk Reference for Attorneys and HR managers. He has also taught immigration law at two college-level paralegal certification programs in California.

Areas of Practice

He has over 20 years of...

714-424-2877
Jonathan E. Meyer, Sheppard Mullin, International Trade Lawyer, Encryption Technology Attorney
Partner

Jon Meyer is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

Mr. Meyer was most recently Deputy General Counsel at the United States Department of Homeland Security, where he advised the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, General Counsel, Chief of Staff and other senior leaders on law and policy issues, such as cyber security, airline security, high technology, drones, immigration reform, encryption, and intelligence law. He also oversaw all litigation at DHS,...

202-747-1920
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement