Cross-continental freelancing


Has anybody any experience with cross-continental freelancing?
H-B1 visas are hard to come by, almost impossible. For example, all applications are filed for 2012 and 13.

So I am looking for alternative options. I am wondering if it is possible to freelance remotely for an American company on a project basis, me being European without a work permit (aka Golden Ticket) for the US ?

What do you mean freelancing? Per project as a consultant?

That’s what I do and have been doing for 5 years and I’d say 90% of my clients are not local. US, European, middle east, Asia…


Some of our team members are located in the EU and some are in Asia. You can work remotely and deal with your income reporting on your end, the US employer would label you as a Swedish National acting as an independent contractor.

If you market your location as much as your work forte’, you’ll run into companies / consultancies whose clients are global and need regional design flair for products in development. I recommend discussing international-independent-contractor (paperwork/payment) details at the start of service-provider conversations.

By the way, my favorite place in Sweden is Gothenburg - while doing research there a few years ago, I asked a local if there is anyone in Sweden who ISN’T beautiful. His answer, with a smile on his face was, “yes, tourists”. :slight_smile:

That is good advice. I have my own company, which is based in Sweden.
But the design market s rather small. It is exciting but I am looking to branch out.
There is one studio in the US who is interested in me doing work. I would have to be there though but visa issues have gotten in the way and I can’t be hired as all H-B Visa applications are filled up till 2013.

Obviously, you guys are all speaking of actually doing all the work from a remote location.

My thought was, it might be possible to get hired as an independent contractor with my own company, then basically “live” and work in the states and just leave the country every 3 months to get my visitors visa renewed?

That seems way to easy a work-around…

EDIT: After some digging I found out that yes, you will be denyed re-entry into the states obviously as all work has to be performed abroad. This defeats kind of the purpose of this post. Amazing how desperate you get after dealing with Visa issues.
Where they want your work, they don’t let you and where they let you, they don’t want your work.

Anyway, thanks for the insights.

Can’t you do it as freelance and plan a few office visits in? I don’t think location is a big deal anymore. My main clients are in Dublin, some of the others are in Australia and the US.

As most of them attend the major footwear fairs, I meet with them at these twice a year to catch up and have proper face-to-face meetings.

One of my friends moved to Cambodia last year, she travelled there and loved the place so she just moved, it hasn’t stopped her from keeping her teaching job in the UK (she comes back three times a year), nor has it stopped her completing her MA in video art, nor has it stopped her from freelancing as a graphic designer with mostly UK based clients. ‘I just use Dropbox and Skype’ she says.

I do something similar… I have freelance clients all over the US (and one in Australia) and have usually worked remotely, keeping in touch with Email/Skype/Dropbox/etc. I haven’t seen some of my clients in years, but when I started working with them usually I saw them once a month or so in person

There doesn’t seem to be a big issue for coworkers to travel to the US on an EU passport, I haven’t heard of any restrictions on how often they could visit.

It sounds like you might want to be located in the USA though, and that’d be more difficult. You might want to talk to an immigration laywer - they would know how it works. Maybe you could start a US corporation and hire yourself? I’m sure there’s some clause to prevent that though…

To have an investor visa (don’t remember it’s exact name), you need to invest $500,000 and employ at least 5 persons.