Sunday, July 29, 2007

Short update: I have managed to schedule a hearing for a regular visa. The first available date was the 24th of August *cough*.

While this is clearly too late for Blackhat, but once you have a "regular" meeting scheduled you can ask to have an "urgent" meeting scheduled, too. Wether I am eligible will become clear when the embassy opens at 7am on monday morning.

The current plan is to call them and explain them why the entire thing might've gone haywire in the first place:

There's a special provision in the german tax code that allows for people with certain qualifications to act as special 'freelancers', essentially giving them a status very similar to one-person-companies ("Freiberufler"). It is not totally trivial to obtain this status - for example, you cannot simply be a 'Freiberuf'-programmer if you write "regular" software.

My agreement with Blackhat and all transactions were taxed in Germany under this status.

Personally, I think the fundamental issue in this tragic comedy is that the US doesn't really have such a special status for freelancers, and that therefore the US customs inspector did not understand that there is a distinction between a "regular Joe" and a "single-person company/Freiberufler". Hence the customs officer assumed that this entire thing must be some devious way to bypass getting an H1B visa for someone that would not normally qualified to get one. The frequent repetition of the question "why is your course not given by an American Citizen ?" points to something like that.

I hope that I can clear up this misunderstanding tomorrow morning, but right now, I am not terribly optimistic.

9 comments:

Scarlet said...

Best of luck, hope you come on top.

wad said...

If I am understanding your explanation correctly, the US does recognize the equivalent of freelancers/single-person-company. We call the business a sole proprietorship. Perhaps knowing the standard US terminology will help with your dealings with the embassy and customs, but who knows. I have no idea how the US views foreign sole proprietorships.

Best of luck!

Jay said...

Airport security in the states can be a bit touchy, but I hope you can get this worked out. Though I'm not at the convention myself, I had hoped to hear about you this year.

Also, your problem made it on to /. so I'm sure your getting a lot more hits on your blog today @_@

Nightmare said...

Good luck to you on this. US customs really does suck. I was in the military for a while and even we'd get scrutinized coming back from work in Germany and France.

Nightmare said...

Good luck to you on this. US customs really does suck. I was in the military for a while and even we'd get scrutinized coming back from work in Germany and France.

Nightmare said...

good luck with that. I was in the military a while back and US customs even gave my unit a hard time when we came back from working in Germany and another time when we came back from France.

Fuzzy2k said...

Bathe, wear a nice suit, and smile at the appropriate moments. You will be fine.

Good luck with that hearing.

IOt seems rather counter-productive to keep you out of the country, ATC.

Waffa said...

Good luck to you man, this would really suck if u can't go.

They one time broke my laptop, I'm not sore what they hoped to find.

paperghost said...

As someone who regularly gets the usual hassle from these guys when attempting to enter the States, good luck.