Translating while on tourist visa
Thread poster: mari pet

mari pet  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:46
Spanish to Slovak
+ ...
May 13, 2013

I am going to spend two month this summer in the US doing an unpaid internship (basically volunteering) and will be coming on ESTA or tourist visa. Am I allowed to do some small (if time) translations for my longterm clients in between? Or would this be illegal?

 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:46
Member (2008)
French to English
US or non-US based clients May 13, 2013

I don't know what's legal but I do know that doing such work while in the US for US based clients may well be illegal. The government's view would be that you are doing a US-based translator out of a job.

But doing work remotely for a client that has no ties with the US may be a different story. However, I doubt you will get a definitive answer on it - no one will want to commit themselves.


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends May 14, 2013

Do you have a company? How do you normally invoice for your translation work? Where are your long-term clients based?

If you do not live more than 182 days of the year in a country, you are not considered tax resident in that country, therefore if for example you usually invoice for your translations through your Slovakian company or as a resident of X country in your personal name, you can continue to do so irrespective of where you are based at the time, as long as you are based there for fewer than 182 days in the year and you comply with your tax obligations in your home country.

There is nothing illegal about this. Realistically people move around.


 

mari pet  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:46
Spanish to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Only European clients May 14, 2013

Thank you, John and Marie-Helene.
I am a registered - self-employed translator in Slovakia, my clients are all in Europe. I invoice them as a Slovak tax resident.

I was asking because I know that the US officers are strictly checking everything when letting you enter the country. So I am just wondering if I can mention that apart the non-paid work I possibly will be doing some remote paid work for my old clients or should I just shut up?

Anyway, hypothetically if I had a long-term US based client and I did some translation for him even being in the US (maybe few thousands miles away), wouldn't that be the same as doing job for my European clients?
Just askingicon_smile.gif
Thank you


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:46
English to German
+ ...
John made a good point. May 14, 2013

It is not YOU who will be checked on a regular basis, but US businesses and our business checking accounts. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) passed in 1986 prohibits an employer from knowingly hiring, recruiting, or referring illegal aliens for work in the United States, whether the individual is in the country illegally or because their immigration and residency status does not allow employment. The law also extends to employers who discover that an employee is an illegal alien after hiring.


mari pet wrote:
I was asking because I know that the US officers are strictly checking everything when letting you enter the country. So I am just wondering if I can mention that apart the non-paid work I possibly will be doing some remote paid work for my old clients or should I just shut up?


Uhm - the latter option, or you better book your round-trip ticket for the very same day. Otherwise you will not even get one inch past the yellow line on the floor in front of the immigration desk for visitors.

Anyway, hypothetically if I had a long-term US based client and I did some translation for him even being in the US (maybe few thousands miles away), wouldn't that be the same as doing job for my European clients?


Ask your US client. It depends where your payments will be sent to. Technically you can work from Mars or a spaceship or where-ever your laptop works. But you can never accept payments within a country where you do not have a work permit. That's a criminal offense.


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
There is a difference between employment and freelance work May 14, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

It is not YOU who will be checked on a regular basis, but US businesses and our business checking accounts. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) passed in 1986 prohibits an employer from knowingly hiring, recruiting, or referring illegal aliens for work in the United States, whether the individual is in the country illegally or because their immigration and residency status does not allow employment. The law also extends to employers who discover that an employee is an illegal alien after hiring.




I can understand the rule about companies hiring, recruiting etc. but I don't think that this could possibly apply to freelance work. I don't think the original poster was planning on being recruited as an illegal alien, simply issuing an invoice for work and getting paid for it. There is a difference. As a Slovakian tax resident, it doesn't matter where you do your work from, you will still come under Slovakian tax legislation if you're only going to be away for 2 months.

What if you want to work while on holiday? That may not be advisable, but it's certainly not illegal.

With regard to disclosing information upon entering the country, I would only disclose things that are certain. Since you are not certain that your long-term clients will have work over those two months, I don't see any reason to mention it.

It's nothing to do with US authorities as you will not become a tax resident there and to all intents and purposes you are going on holiday.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:46
English to German
+ ...
@ Marie-Helene: I was waiting for this objection regarding: "employed" :-) May 14, 2013

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:
I can understand the rule about companies hiring, recruiting etc. but I don't think that this could possibly apply to freelance work. I don't think the original poster was planning on being recruited as an illegal alien, simply issuing an invoice for work and getting paid for it.


While an employee contributes labor and expertise to an endeavor of an employer and is usually hired to perform specific duties which are packaged into a job, in most modern economies, the term "employee" refers to a specific defined relationship between an individual and a corporation, which differs from those of customer or client. This is why laws have been created recently that prevent US companies from using this loophole, i. e., declaring anyone who performs any kind of labor a "freelancer". Those laws are new, and even small companies will face fines of $10,000 and up and/or prison.


There is a difference. As a Slovakian tax resident, it doesn't matter where you do your work from, you will still come under Slovakian tax legislation if you're only going to be away for 2 months.


Certainly. But don't forget that she is planning on entering the country with a tourist visa, instead of the more appropriate student visa. Double whammy.


It's nothing to do with US authorities as you will not become a tax resident there and to all intents and purposes you are going on holiday.


You still can not enter any country and conduct your business where ever you wish. The worst thing you can do, is lying. You can not tell the officers at the airport that you are here on vacation only and then work at a company, paid or not. This company has full liability if anything happens to you on their premises. You will need a letter from the hiring company and then apply for the appropriate visa. I have no idea why work permit laws are considered negligible for students. Especially in countries that have been in a war situation for many years and where due to recent terrorist acts committed by foreign students each and every foreign student will be taken into the back room for a special interrogation.


 

mari pet  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:46
Spanish to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
not planning to lie May 14, 2013

I am absolutely not planning to lie to anybody. The internship is a volunteering at a public charity foundation. The people from the project told me that the previous interns were able to do it on tourist visa. Now I am investigating more details, that's why I am asking here too.
My question about possible translating during these two monts is just for information. Maybe I will not have time or just will prefer to enjoy the city and holiday. I think asking to the inmigration officers on the airpart if this is legal or not is not so good idea.


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:46
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
The real issue here... May 14, 2013

mari pet wrote:

The people from the project told me that the previous interns were able to do it on tourist visa. Now I am investigating more details, that's why I am asking here too.


In other words, the previous interns, with the tacit cooperation of the company, violated the terms of their tourist visa and were lucky enough not to get caught. Presumably, they do this because the proper paperwork would be more time-consuming/expensive/complicated.


My question about possible translating during these two monts is just for information.


As long you don't volunteer this information to the immigration officer - or, ahem, in a public, searchable forumicon_wink.gif - and generally avoid working for US companies, nobody will ever know. Ultimately it has nothing to do with the purpose for your visit to the US.

Maybe I will not have time or just will prefer to enjoy the city and holiday. I think asking to the inmigration officers on the airpart if this is legal or not is not so good idea.


Yes, it would be a very bad idea, unless you want your stay in America to be very, very short.

The translation question is really a distraction from the real issue, which is whether you have right type of visa for your proposed internship. You're unlikely to an adequate answer here, as we are not immigration officers or attorneys. Perhaps the consular department of your local US embassy or consulate can provide an answer?


[Edited at 2013-05-14 14:06 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:46
English to German
+ ...
mari pet - this sounds fishy. May 14, 2013

mari pet wrote:
The internship is a volunteering at a public charity foundation. The people from the project told me that the previous interns were able to do it on tourist visa.


I hope you don't have to pay any fees for such a "work placement".


 

mari pet  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:46
Spanish to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I know May 14, 2013

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

The translation question is really a distraction from the real issue, which is whether you have right type of visa for your proposed internship. You're unlikely to an adequate answer here, as we are not immigration officers or attorneys. Perhaps the consular department of your local US embassy or consulate can provide an answer?


[Edited at 2013-05-14 14:06 GMT]


Exactly, but my question regarded the translation when on tourist visa. As for the "real issue" - I am aware I have to ask somewhere else to get the relevant answer.

Thanks anywayicon_smile.gif


 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:46
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Working illegally May 14, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) passed in 1986 prohibits an employer from knowingly hiring, recruiting, or referring illegal aliens for work in the United States, whether the individual is in the country illegally or because their immigration and residency status does not allow employment.


That may be the law, but there are millions of "illegal aliens" working in the US, and many of them entered without any form of visa.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:46
Russian to English
+ ...
I am not even sure if you can do unpaid internship on a tourist visa. May 14, 2013

I would check into it because it would be really sad if you were not let into the country. They can sometimes give you a visa, and then not let you in at the port of entry, if they find out some possible violations based on what you tell them.

 


There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »


Translating while on tourist visa

Advanced search







BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search