The I visa is a temporary visa used by representatives of foreign media on assignment in the United States with the purpose of disseminating information or news to be distributed outside the United States. The I visa is not for entertainment projects, such as fictional films created solely for entertainment value.

Who Is a Representative of Foreign Media?

Representatives of foreign media are members of foreign press, radio, film, or other media. They include reporters, film crews, and editors. Anyone who is not part of the immediate production, such as set designers and researchers, is excluded from using the I visa.

What about My Spouse and Children?

Your spouse and children under the age of 21 may also apply for an accompanying I visa.

Are Freelance Journalists Eligible for the I Visa?

Yes, but they must be under contract with a foreign media outlet for the duration of their use of their visa.  They must also provide a copy of the contract as part of their application for the visa.

Can I Get an I Visa if I Am a Foreign Journalist Working for a United States Media Organization?

It is possible the I visa would be appropriate for you as long as your visit to the U.S. is to report on American news distributed outside the United States. Since there are so many requirements, consulting with an immigration attorney for your particular situation is strongly encouraged.

For How Long Is the I Visa Valid?

Generally, the I visa is issued in one year increments, but the amount of time can vary. When applying for an extension of the I visa, also known as revalidation, your employer must provide an explanation justifying your continued stay in the United States.

What Materials Are Required for the Application Process?

For your initial I visa application, you are required to provide the following items:

  • Passport
  • A completed visa application form and application fee
  • A letter from your employer explaining the purpose of your stay

Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?

There are so many different types of visas available, and the I visa may not be the best available option for your occupation. Consulting with an immigration attorney can help you determine which visa is most suitable for you. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you fill out all the paperwork and make sure your visa is in order.