I-Visa (Representatives of the Foreign Media or Journalist Visa)

Occupations under I-Visa category include reporters, film crews, editors, and similar occupations. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join an I nonimmigrant.

You may be eligible for the I-Visa if you:

  1. Represent a foreign information media outlet (press, radio, film, or other foreign information media)
  2. Are coming to the United States to engage solely in this profession; and
  3. Have a home office in a foreign country

Who is not eligible for an I-Visa?

If the applicant is working on commercial, entertainment, or advertising productions, they will not qualify for “I” classification visa. Stories that involve reenactments or staged events, scripted or dramatized events such as reality television and quiz programs are not primarily informational and, as such, cannot be the basis of an I visa application.

What are the requirements for an I-Visa or Journalist or Media Visa?

The applicant must be engaging in qualifying activities for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country. The activity must be essentially informational, and generally associated with the news gathering process, reporting on actual current events, to be eligible for the media visa.

The consular officer will determine whether or not an activity qualifies for the journalist or media visa. Reporting on sporting events are usually appropriate for the media visa. Other examples include, but are not limited to, the following media related kinds of activities:

  1. Primary employees of foreign information media engaged in filming a news event or documentary.
  2. Members of the media engaged in the production or distribution of film will only qualify for a media visa if the material being filmed will be used to disseminate information or news. Additionally, the primary source and distribution of funding must be outside the United States.
  3. Journalists working under contract. Persons holding a credential issued by a professional journalistic organization, if working under contract on a product to be used abroad by an information or cultural medium to disseminate information or news not primarily intended for commercial entertainment or advertising. Please note that a valid employment contract is required.
  4. Employees of independent production companies when those employees hold a credential 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 if the journalist is going to the United States to report on U.S. events solely for a foreign audience.
  6. Accredited representatives of tourist bureaus, controlled, operated, or subsidized in whole or in part by a foreign government, who engage primarily in disseminating factual tourist information about that country, and who are not entitled to A-2 visa classification.

Does a freelance journalist qualify for the I-Visa?

Freelance journalists will only be permitted to obtain an I visa if all of the following criteria are met. The journalist must:

  1. Hold a credential issued by a professional journalistic organization
  2. Be under contract to a media organization
  3. Disseminate information or news not primarily intended for commercial entertainment or advertising

Our Austin Immigration lawyer will help you gather the required information and documentation for the I visa or Journalist or Media Visa. We then we carefully prepare all documentation needed to obtain your I-Visa approval. We’ll communicate with you and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) while the application is being processed up until adjudication.

Contact our employment-based immigration attorneys today!


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