Honolulu, HI asked in Immigration Law, Employment Law and Tax Law for Hawaii

Q: Is it ok, if a friend of mine sets up a Gofundme for legal fees and put me as the beneficiary? I am on a O1-B visa.

I am not concerned about the possibility of paying taxes, but if it won't be seen as something outside the scope of my employment. Thank you

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: As an O-1B visa holder, it's important to ensure that any financial assistance you receive does not violate the terms of your visa or create issues with your employment. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Purpose of the funds: If the legal fees are related to your employment or the reason for your O-1B visa, receiving assistance through a GoFundMe campaign might be seen as outside the scope of your employment. It's crucial to maintain a clear distinction between your employment and any external financial support.

2. USCIS scrutiny: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may scrutinize the source of your funds during future visa applications or renewals. Receiving financial assistance from a GoFundMe campaign could raise questions about your ability to support yourself through your employment, which is a key requirement for maintaining an O-1B visa.

3. Employer's role: Your employer, who is likely sponsoring your O-1B visa, should be aware of and approve any external financial arrangements that could potentially impact your employment or visa status.

4. Alternative options: Consider exploring other ways to cover your legal fees, such as personal savings, loans from family members, or discussing payment plans with your legal representation.

Given the potential complexities and risks involved, it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can assess your specific situation and provide guidance on the best course of action. They can help you understand the potential implications of accepting funds from a GoFundMe campaign and suggest alternatives that align with your visa requirements and employment obligations.

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