Can You Work When in the United States on a Tourist Visa?


Each year, millions of people enter the U.S. on a temporary basis under a visitor visa for pleasure, tourism, business or medical treatment. A visitor visa restricts what you can do while you are in the country.

Tourist or Visitor Visa

  • Under the visitor visa to the U.S., you will not be permitted to work for any U.S. companies, and you must depart the U.S. before the date specified on your visa.

Visa Waiver Program

  • If you enter the U.S. from a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program for tourism or business that will last less than 90 days, you do not need a visa.


  • If you are not eligible for the Visa Waiver, you must prove your trip to the U.S. is for business, pleasure or medical treatment, and that you plan to leave after a specific time period.


  • You should apply for your visitor visa at the U.S. consular office within the country where you are a permanent resident. An interview is usually required.


  • You will be required to prove your intent to depart the U.S. A return plane ticket, proof of your employment outside the U.S., or information about dependents is sufficient.

Work Permit

  • If you wish to apply for a temporary work permit within the U.S., your employer must file the application for you. You will then enter the U.S. on a Temporary Workers Visa.


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