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I Visa

I Visa
Members of the Foreign Media, Press, and Radio

 

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Media (I) visas are 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 their profession engaged in informational or educational media activities, essential to the foreign media function. Activities in the United States while on a media (I) visa must be for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country. Activities in the United States must be informational in nature and generally associated with the news gathering process and reporting on current events.

Travel purposes which require a Media (I) Visa – Examples:

  • 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.

Working Media Cannot Travel on the Visa Waiver Program or with Visitor Visas

Representatives of the foreign media who will work in their profession as media or journalists while in the United States cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program or on visitor (B) visas.

When Can a Visitor Visa Be Used – Examples:

  • Attend 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 engage 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 9 days at a single institution, and you must not have received payment from more than 5 institutions or organizations for such activities in the last 6 months.
  • Take 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 for the above purposes (as examples), on the Visa Waiver Program instead of a visitor (B) visa.

Some travel purposes require a temporary worker visa, not a media (I) visa

While certain activities clearly qualify for the media visa, since they are informational and news gathering, others require a temporary worker petition-based type visa, such as the H, O, or P visa. Select Temporary Worker to go to the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS website to learn about temporary worker requirements and procedures for filing the petition, which must be approved by USCIS, prior to applying for the visa.

 

Spouse and Children

Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal media visa holder in the U.S. for the duration of his/her stay require media visas. If the spouse and/or children apply for visas at a later date, a copy of the principal visa holder's media visa must be presented with the application. Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but 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. For information about work or study in the U.S. review Representatives of Foreign Media on the USCIS website.  

Required Documentation


Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:

  • Passport valid for travel to the U.S. - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U.S. (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.

Additional Documentation May Be Required

Visa Denial and Ineligibility

Review Visa Denials for detailed information about visa ineligibilities, denials, and waivers. 

I was refused a visa under INA section 214(b). May I reapply?

Yes, if you feel circumstances have changed regarding your application. Review Visa Denials to learn more.

Misrepresentation or Fraud

Attempting to obtain a visa by the willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or fraud, may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the United States. Review Ineligibilities and Waivers: Laws.

 

How Do I Extend My Stay?

  • Transit (C) visa holders are not able to apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change status or extend their stay in the U.S., under immigration law. See the USCIS website under Change My Nonimmigrant Status and Extend Your Stay to learn more.
  • You must depart the United States on or before the date indicated on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94, unless your request to extend your stay is approved by USCIS.
  • Failure to depart the United States on time will result in you being out of status, can void your visa, and may make you ineligible for visas you may apply for in the future. Review Visa Denials, Ineligibilities and Waivers: Laws, and section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to learn more.

How can I find out how long I am authorized to stay in the U.S.?

  • A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, but allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United States port of entry and request permission to enter the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveler may stay. If you are allowed to enter the U.S., the CBP official will determine the length of your visit.
Notice: New Electronic I-94 Process - A new electronic I-94 process at air and sea ports of entry was fully implemented by May 25, 2013. Under the new CBP process, a CBP officer will provide each admitted nonimmigrant traveler with an admission stamp on their passport. CBP will no longer issue a paper Form I-94 upon entry to the U.S., with some exceptions. Learn more on the CBP website. 
  • On the admission stamp or paper Form I-94, the U.S. immigration inspector records either a date or "D/S" (duration of status). If your admission stamp or paper Form I-94 contains a specific date, then that is the date by which you must leave the United States. If you are issued a paper Form I-94, this will document your authorized stay and is the official record of your permission to be in the U.S. It is very important to keep inside your passport. Review information about Admission on the CBP Website. Also, see Duration of Stay.

I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States, what should I do?

If you failed to turn in your paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, see Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection website for more information. If you did not receive a paper Form I-94 and your record was created electronically, CBP will record your departure using manifest information obtained from the air or sea carrier.

 

 

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