As an European, is it possible to travel to the US on a tourist visa and visit companies to apply for jobs or business assignments in person?


As an European, is it possible to travel to the US on a tourist visa and visit companies to apply for jobs or business assignments in person? I. e. is it possible from a legal perspective, from a practical perspective etc? Would there be a difference between applying for jobs (actual employment) and applying for business assignments for a company based overseas (B2B networking sort of thing)?

Please don't hate, I'm just chasing the American Dream like everyone else.

Kind regards


Networking Visa B2B USA

asked May 13 '11 at 23:52
18 points
  • Yes Kekito, you're right - I wouldn't even need a visa. Had forgot about that since the last time I visited. – Pongy 13 years ago
  • What does this have to do with starting up? The OP seems to be looking for a job in the US... – Jberger 12 years ago

3 Answers


You can travel to the US and apply for jobs here, but it is very unlikely anyone will hire you. You probably will have a hard time even getting an interview, since you are not eligible to work here in the US.

In the current US job market you don't just show up at a company and get an interview. They screen their candidates before interviewing them, and you won't make it through the screening prcess. They will ask for your resume and you will give them a copy- typically by email or mail. They will eventually read your resume and immediately notice your lack of US work history. They will then either throw your resume in the garbage or call and ask you about your elegibility to work in the US. Then you will be rejected- all before you ever got an actual interview.

answered May 14 '11 at 01:23
Gary E
12,510 points
  • But I don't operate like that. I don't call or send e-mails in advance, I just show up on their doorstep, take it or leave it style. CEOs of big companies may not see me because they expect applicants to make a reservation but at least over here I often find myself talking business with the CEO when I make a surprise visit to a small to midsized company. Could it be that most IT guys are too nerdy and shy to make spontaneous visits like I do or is there another business culture in the US where noone has even heard of visiting companies without calling first? The visa matter is another story... – Pongy 13 years ago
  • ...of course but I could always go back home, apply for a work visa and then return, at least theoretically. You may or may not be right, if you are 100% sure that noone's ever gotten a job like this in the US then I stand corrected. But I am not completely convinced yet. – Pongy 13 years ago
  • Furthermore, on the business side of things, I wouldn't need a visa if I returned home and worked in the cloud, would I? Come on Gary, please don't shoot me down without exploring every possibility. I'm not trying to steal your job, I'm trying to build international networking and trade opportunities. Don't bash the European please, there could be mutual benefits from companies working together on a global scale. – Pongy 13 years ago
  • I'm not bashing you, I'm giving you the truth for most US based businesses. We have tons of people coming in the front door every day. **None** of them make it past the receptionist to see me. I don't waste my time with salesman or random people who walk off the street. I have **never** talked with another CEO who does talk to people like that. – Gary E 13 years ago
  • Ok, if you're right then there's definitely a difference between your company's policies and the policies of every other firm in the town I live in. You don't waste your time with salespeople, eh? That sounds pretty high and mighty to me. I can imagine there being a different business culture where you're at but I can definitely sense a bit of protectionism going on too. Stash your money Gary, if you're concerned the Europeans are coming to take it away from you. And what's with this "people like that" nonsense? Do you realize how bigoted that sounds? – Pongy 13 years ago
  • @Pongy. Your only hope would be with small, enterpreneurial startups. They would likely talk to you, because they tend to take a different approach to doing business than more mature companies. However, they also have to abide by the law. And candidates who do not have eligibility to work in the US will not be employed. I know, because I'm a foreigner working in the US and I know what it took. Also, re Gary E's answer - You know you aren't eligible to work for him but you expect him to set aside time to talk? You're not being realistic. – Gef05 13 years ago
  • The way I see it there are two options: obtain a job visa and work in the US, which as you point out may not be realistic, or aim for smaller firms that could be interested in hiring freelancers overseas. I concur, if I may, that some startups and smaller firms could actually be interested in talking to me. I wonder if the IRS and its heinous counterparts worldwide will put an end to people working in the cloud and getting paid through Paypal. I wonder if they could even if they wanted to - they would have to monitor billions of web pages and all their intricate relations. – Pongy 13 years ago
  • In conclusion, perhaps you're right that I could not realistically obtain a work visa but on the other hand CEOs of these new types of startups that are sprouting everywhere might be interested in networking and perhaps would grant me a few moments of their precious time. – Pongy 13 years ago
  • Correct me if I'm wrong please. – Pongy 13 years ago
  • @Pongy. I'm not seeing anyone say you couldn't get a work visa. I am seeing some comments regarding approaching people without one. Big difference. – Gef05 13 years ago


Please be careful.

Whether you obtain a B-2 tourist visa, or you enter with the Visa waiver program, it's not legal to look for a job. Of course you can do that, and nobody will certainly report you for doing that, but that is not legal.

answered May 16 '11 at 22:27
Filippo Diotalevi
2,573 points
  • Well, perhaps I should not look for a job then but focus on business networking and perhaps freelancing in the cloud. That can hardly be illegal, can it? – Pongy 13 years ago
  • Doesn't sound illegal - a lot of off-shoring takes place. How you report it to your tax authorities is up to you. – Gef05 13 years ago
  • Exactly, a lot of people is doing it so it can't be illegal - but I doubt the representatives of the state appreciate it - they're all about retaining control and destroying business opportunities wherever they can. – Pongy 13 years ago
  • There are legal considerations and practical considerations. From a legal point of view, if you go to the US to visit (potential or established) business partners, you need a B-1 visa. In many countries it's easy to obtain a B-1 Visa, it might take some time though. The B-1 Visa does not allow to work for a US company though, not even as a freelance if you work in the US and for a US company. From a practical point of you, you won't probably find any issue to visit potential business partners and do some freelance work "in the cloud", as long as you invoice them from your company abroad. – Filippo Diotalevi 13 years ago
  • Final (practical) note: if you go two (or more) times a year in the US, for extended periods, with a touristic Visa, you are 100% certain you will be subject to the 'secondary check' at US customs. The process (I've gone through once) is not exactly entertaining, you will be interrogated (1,2,3,4 times if they want), will need to wait 3+ hours in a small and crowded room, and they will also use some nice tricks to help you to "tell the truth". That's why I wrote "Please be careful" in my answer. – Filippo Diotalevi 13 years ago
  • Thanks, I appreciate the info. I will adjust my plans accordingly. – Pongy 13 years ago


@Pongy, start working out the problem sets and participate in coding contests at . You will get noticed by the companies. Once they notice you, they will figure out a way to interview/hire you.

answered Aug 21 '12 at 02:50
111 points

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