I Visa

The category I-Visa for media personnel is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign citizens who would like to travel to the United States temporarily representing a foreign media service or agency.


Do I Qualify?

As an applicant you must demonstrate that you have the qualifications to be issued a media visa. You must be a member of the press, radio, film or print industries, whose activities are essential to the foreign media function. Media personnel included in the category include reporters, film crews, editors, and persons in related occupations.

Some of these reporting and news gathering activities apply to:
1. Primary employees of foreign information media engaged in filming a news event or documentary.
2. Media professionals engaged in the production or distribution of film used to disseminate information or news funded by the foreign agency.
3. Persons holding credentials issued by a professional journalistic organization full time or as contractors with valid employment contact
4. Employees of independent production companies with credentials issued by a professional journalistic association.
5. Foreign journalists working for an overseas branch office or subsidiary of a U.S. network, newspaper or other media outlet
6. Accredited representatives of tourist bureaus, controlled, operated, or subsidized in whole or in part by a foreign not entitled to A-2 visa classification.
7. Employees organizations that have offices in the US, which distribute technical industrial information.


Can I Bring my Family?

Yes. Spouses and children under the age of 21 can accompany or join the principal media visa holder in the United States. They are allowed to stay for the duration of the stay of the media personnel. The family members are issued derivative I visas.

Note: Spouses and children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but would like to visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas, or if qualified, travel without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.


What are the key documents required?

You must submit the following forms and documentation along with the appropriate fees:
1. A valid passport
2. Completed and signed Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-156, either the current electronic “e-form application” or the paper version.
3. A Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-157 9require for all male applicants between the ages of 16-45.
5. One (1) 2×2 photograph.
6. Proof of employment such as:

· Staff Journalist: A letter from the employer that details the employee’s name, position held within the company, and purpose and length of stay in the United States.
· Freelance journalist under contract to a media organization: A copy of the contract with the organization, which shows the employees name, position held within the company; purpose  and length of stay in the United States and duration of contract.
· Media film crew: a letter from the employer with name, position held within company, title and brief description  of the program being filmed, and period of time required for filming in the United States.
· Independent production company under contract to media organization: a letter from the organization commissioning the work which gives the following information: name; title and brief description  of the program being filmed; period of time required for filming in the United States and duration of contract.


What are the applicable fee?

· A non refundable US $100 nonimmigrant visa application processing fee.
· Visa issuance fee: If the visa is issued, there will be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable.


What activities do not qualify for I-Visa?

The following are examples of activities that do not qualify for I-Visa:
1. A media visa cannot be used to film material, or for employees who will work on a film, which will be used primarily for  commercial entertainment or advertising purposes.
2. Proofreading, librarianship, set design.
3. Staged events, even when unscripted, such as reality television shows, and quiz shows, and documentaries involving staged recreations  with actors.
4. Artistic media content production in which actors are used.
5. Public speaking or other usual academic activities, where an honorarium is paid. However, a media representative, holding an I-Visa can engage in informal  free speaking activities, where no fee for such activities is received, beyond reimbursement of reasonable expenses.


Can I extend my stay?

Yes. Those visitors who wish to stay beyond the time indicated on their Form I-94 must contact the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to apply for the extension of their status.

The immigration laws provide a nonimmigrant visa classification (“K-1″) for persons coming to the United States to marry American citizens and reside here. A person who is already married to a U.S. citizen may apply for  permanent residence through marriage , but may not apply for a fiancee visa.