Unfortunately – as a direct result of some ridiculously bad advice from my lawyers in New York – I have been refused admission to the USA. The laywers told me that it was OK to run workshops through my UK company on a visa waiver. It seemed kind of weird to me, so I repeatedly asked them to confirm, which they did again and again.
So I was a little surprised when I was stopped at immigration in Minneapolis (MSP). It transpires that you can’t do any kind of business on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The officers at MSP were sympathetic and granted me parole so that I could at least attend the Eyeo Festival and Reasons to be Creative. This is really rare – usually I’d be put straight back on a plane home!
But I’ve only been paroled until the 16th June, so I’m left with no choice but to cancel my workshops.
Thanks to the kindness of Shad Petosky from Puny, I now have some lovely immigration lawyers here in Minneapolis, who will be helping me to sort this out in the future (and are looking into extending my parole so I can at least stay a little longer).
This whole episode has also made me reconsider the possibility of running some remote sessions, perhaps shorter bite-size online lessons, or perhaps just a video training series. If you’ve ever had a good experience with remote training, please let me know – I’m currently looking into software solutions to help with this.
And to the people who bought tickets – I’m so sorry for the inconvenience, I owe you!