Delivering an educational service in the USA

Discussion in 'International Business' started by Fire In Your Face, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Fire In Your Face

    Fire In Your Face UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 1
    I've been trying for days to figure out an answer to my question with no luck so far!

    I am a fire manipulation instructor and during the pandemic, all my tuition has been online rather than a combination of online/physical workshops. Due to this, I've developed a very large following of Americans and I am hoping to be able to bring my physical services to them this year (covid dependent).

    The benefit to this is that my main (and pretty much only) competitor cannot operate there, I believe due to breaching the terms of his visa.

    I am looking for a way to legally provide my services, in person in America. I have researched visas and the UK is part of the visa waiver program which allows travel for business reasons. As far as I'm aware, this is intended for things like attending seminars or going to business meetings etc. I am unsure on whether this will cover delivering a paid service in person? I've also looked at getting a visa that would allow me to work and earn money (and pay tax) in the US however this doesn't allow for self employed earning. I would have to be working for someone and have them sponsor me, which would make things super messy.

    So the question is, how do I do this legally? Is it possible? I'll give a run down of how it would typically work (if possible) just in case it's relevant...

    I advertise my services prior to any fire manipulation workshop and accept payment for it prior to the workshop. No cash is exchanged in hand and all transactions would happen while I'm outside of America. I then meet my students in an indoor venue and teach them how to eat/manipulate fire. No money changes hands while I'm on American soil. The plan is to hold 4 workshops over two weekends in two separate states.

    I currently sell props from my UK company to customers all over the world and pay VAT/Tax for them in the UK. What is the difference between shipping a physical product to the USA and me flying over there and delivering it myself?

    Any clarity on this would be much appreciated. I can potentially do VERY well in America so I'd rather it not be something that is one and done! I want to do this legally and above board so that I don't end up in the same situation as my competitor.
    Posted: Jan 11, 2021 By: Fire In Your Face Member since: Jun 24, 2020
  2. Oscar478

    Oscar478 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    22 3
    I have a contract with an american university, to provide online training and look over an online programme that they run. It is different to your situation, because I am not selling directly to the public, but I'm sure our struggles will overlap. You will not believe the number of IRS forms I had to fill out to satisfy them, which may as well have been written in another language. I spent weeks and weeks fulfilling the requirements to become an 'approved supplier' and now every single year the contract is renewed I have to go through more or less the same nonsense although thankfully I can pull last years forms off the system to reference.

    Anyway, it will be a pain in the neck, but I do recall that on one of the tax waiver forms I fill out (W8-BEN) there is a special category for delivering training/visiting lecturers who receive a salary for their services.

    Also, my business liability insurance trippled when I wanted to add US/Canada cover. You have been warned.
    Posted: Jan 11, 2021 By: Oscar478 Member since: Sep 6, 2017