Visa Waiver Entry for Business Purposes Refused at Chicago O’Hare

My name is [REDACTED] and I am the CFO for [REDACTED], a UK firm that has offices in NY and Chicago.  I recently attempted to enter the US for business purpoes through the visa waiver program but was denied entry.  I explained that the purpose of my entry was to review accounting procedures at our newly opened branch office in Chicago.  Immigration told me that they considered this work and that that was not authorized under this program and that I should apply for a work visa.  Is this new policy?  I have never had trouble with this before.

I have seen this type of issue before and I have made it a point to be available for my clients who enter through O’Hare in case they run into entry problems like yours.  If you had called me at the time of your entry I may have been able to sort this out with CBP at O’Hare but since you’ve already left it is too late. This is not new policy but just a misunderstanding of current policy.  You may use the visa waiver program and the B1 visa for limited business purposes.

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink
In: B-1 Visa, Visa Waiver Program · Tagged with: ,

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Ross Smith
    on December 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Of course it is work. You cannot travel on the VW for anything other than tourist purposes. When they say “business travel” they mean buying a home, buying things to go sell in the UK, etc….. Not working for a branch of your company in the US. You should have obtained a J1 Visa. Your HR should have arranged a visit to the US Consulate on your behalf.

  2. Written by Gregory Mabe
    on April 6, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I’m now marry to a Chinese women who I been with for six years. I travel back and forth to China about five month out of the year. My wife would just like to be able to visit the US with me a couple time out of the year. She has no desire at this time to become a residence of the US do to her having a 24 year old daughter and 22 old son in college plus family in China plus me living in China five month. I want to know if we could apply for the B1 tourist visa for her.

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