As published on Silicon Republic, with commentary from Deirdre O’Brien:
As more Irish tech CEOs and their workers look towards the US and locating in Silicon Valley to grow their business, misunderstandings about how the US visa system works could cost them dearly, an expert warned.
Deirdre O’Brien, a US immigration lawyer with O’Brien & Associates who has worked with Irish tech companies to ensure they comply with US regulations, said that many CEOs and start-up team members make mistakes in terms of the US visa waiver programme and the B-1 visitor visa.
Like the maxim ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, O’Brien said that often companies win business in the US or secure a pivotal meeting and in the 11th hour decide to send people over on the waiver programme.
“The waiver programme allows visitors to travel to the US without a visa for up to 90-days, for business or pleasure but not for actual working.
“Firms are also making the mistake of sending specialists over to work on contracts without the proper visas. The problem there is that if they show up at an airport and the official doesn’t accept that they are engaged in allowable activities, they may be denied entry to the US and can never use the visa waiver program again. They must then go to a US embassy and apply for a B visa to enter the US.”
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