I Visa

Visa for Foreign Media Representatives

The I Visa is for representatives of the foreign media, including members of the press, radio, film, and print industries, traveling temporarily to the United States to work in informational or educational media activities that are essential to the foreign media function.

The activities in the United States while on an I Visa must be for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country. Such activities in the United States must be informational in nature and generally associated with the news gathering process and reporting on current events.

In adjudicating an I Visa application, the consular officer will look at the intended qualifying activities of an applicant.

The following categories of persons can apply for an I Visa:

  • An employee of foreign information media or employee of an independent production company having a credential issued by a professional journalistic association engaged in filming a news event or documentary.
  • A member of the media engaged in the production or distribution of film, if the material being filmed will be used to disseminate information, news, or is educational in nature. The primary source and distribution of funding must be outside the United States.
  • A journalist working under contract with a credential issued by a professional journalistic organization, if working on a product to disseminate information or news that is not primarily intended for commercial entertainment or advertising.
  • A foreign journalist working for an overseas branch office or subsidiary of a U.S. network, newspaper, or other media outlet, if traveling to the United States to report on U.S. events solely for a foreign audience.
  • An accredited representative of a tourist bureau, controlled, operated, or subsidized in whole or in part by a foreign government, who engages primarily in disseminating factual tourist information about that country, and who is not entitled to receive an A-2 visa as a foreign government official or employee.
  • An employee of an organization that distributes technical industrial information who will work in the U.S. office of that organization.

In limited cases, a B-1 or B-2 visitor Visa be used in place of an I Visa. Such cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Attending a conference or meeting as a participant, as long as you will not report about the conference or meeting while in the United States or upon return to your home country.
  • Guest speak, lecture, or engaging in an academic activity for which you will receive an honorarium from an institution of higher education, a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization. The speaking activity must not last longer than nine days at a single institution, and you must not have received payment from more than five institutions or organizations for such activities in the last six months.
  • Taking a vacation, as long as you will not be working or reporting during your trip.
  • Citizens of Visa Waiver Program participating countries may be able to travel to attend a conference, lecture or take a vacation (See the above examples), on the Visa Waiver Program instead of a visitor (B) visa.

An I visa is generally issued for one year. Extension in one year increment can be issued, and there is no limit on the number of the extension that can be granted.

Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years that wish to accompany the primary media visa holder in the U.S. can apply for a derivative I visa.

With few exceptions, every visa applicant is interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Contact a New York Immigration Attorney for more information on the I Visa for representatives of foreign media

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