Domestic Employee Travel
ATTENTION: Pony Express no longer collects visa fees or makes visa appointments. Pony Express provides courier services only.
Temporary travelers to the United States and U.S. citizens who have their primary residence abroad and will travel temporarily to the U.S. may accompany their domestic employees to apply for a B1 (business travel) visa specifically for domestic employees if the following minimum conditions are met:
- The employee has been with the family for at least one year (or) the family has a history of having similar employees in the past
- The employer and employee have reviewed and signed a contract ENG | RUS (PDF 23K). The contract must stipulate the following:
- Number of hours to be worked per week;
- Hourly wage that is at least the minimum wage of the state where the family will be traveling (requirement of U.S. labor law);
- Overtime pay of 1.5 times the hourly rate for any work in excess of 40 hours during a given week;
- A promise by the employee not to accept any other employment while working for the employer;
- A promise by the employer to not withhold the passport of the employee;
- A guarantee of free room and board, round trip airfare, and any other benefits normally required for U.S. domestic workers in the area of employment (e.g., overtime, social security, etc); and
- A guarantee that the employer will cover incidental costs that the employee incurs, such as medical care, at all times during his/her stay in the United States.
- Employers must demonstrate their ability to pay the employee based on the conditions of the contract. You can visit the following website to determine the minimum wage rate in your destination in the United States: http://www.flcdatacenter.com
The employee will be interviewed by a consular officer and a decision will be made whether or not the individual qualifies. The employee should arrive at the interview prepared to answer detailed questions about the contract as well as their employment history and relationship with the family.
If the visa is issued, employers must comply with the terms of the contract. For example, if it is discovered that the wage indicated in the contract was not paid, it will adversely affect not only future applications for that employee, but could also have negative implications for the employers’ visas. The purpose of the employee’s presence in the U.S. is only for work related to the immediate family of the employer who reside outside the U.S., and related to the contract upon which the application is based.
Additional Requirements for Domestic Employees Traveling for Longer-Term Employment (four months or longer)
Foreign nationals traveling on work visas (holders of L, H1B, O, P1, and various other types of visas), and American Citizens with their residence abroad who will travel to the U.S. on a temporary assignment (no more than four years) with a future onward overseas assignment anticipated may request that a domestic employee accompany them on a longer-term basis, with visas for domestic employees generally renewable each year of the employer’s work contract in the United States. All conditions listed above apply, with the following additional actions required upon arriving to the United States:
- Pay close attention to the expiration date on the I-94 document received by the employee upon entering the U.S. from Immigration officials. Employers can request an extension of this period prior to the expiration date from USCIS. The I-539 form to apply for an extension of this period can be downloaded from http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf (PDF, 132 Kb) and should be submitted along with the employment contract and a copy of the EAD (see below).
- Apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
- General information about the EAD and required fees.
- Instructions for the i-765 (Application for Employment Authorizarion, PDF 76K).
- The actual form can be completed online but must be printed and submitted at the USCIS office indicated in part 5 of the instructions.
- Apply for a Social Security Number at the local Social Security Administration office (for more information visit http://www.ssa.gov).
- Provide employee with W2 Wage and Tax Statement at the end of each tax year and submit a copy to the Social Security Administration. For further information on tax issues for domestic employees refer to the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p926.pdf (PDF - 1,160 Kb).
Provide suitable medical coverage (insurance or employer-paid) for the employee while in the United States
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