I am working in H1B status, and I enjoy writing short stories in my free time. Is it considered unauthorized employment if I submit a story to a magazine and it gets published? Does it matter if I am paid a small fee?


There does not appear to be a clear answer to this question. While some activities would almost certainly be viewed as unauthorized employment (e.g., driving for Uber,) the answer is less clear for many types of activities, such as creating art.

As a point of reference, however, the  Foreign Affairs Manual states that an acceptable B-1 activity includes “[a]n artist coming to the United States to paint, sculpt, etc. who is not under contract with a U.S. employer and who does not intend to regularly sell such art-work in the United States.” Given that this is not considered unauthorized employment in the B-1 context, a strong argument can be made that such activities can be performed by those working in the U.S. in H1B status. (04.Mar.2021)

Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click here. Access more FAQs here.


Copyright © 2021, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.