I Visas for Representatives of Foreign Media

Individuals may be eligible for the I, Representatives of Foreign Media, nonimmigrant visa if they meet the following criteria:

  • The foreign national represents a foreign media outlet;
  • The foreign national is coming to the U.S. to solely engage in the media profession; and
  • The foreign national has a home office in a foreign country.

The following occupations qualify as media:

  • Reporters
  • Film crew
  • Editors

The foreign national must demonstrate that they are legitimate representatives of foreign media and that their activities are essential to the function of the media outlet. The consular officer at the U.S. embassy determines whether the foreign national’s activity is essential.

The foreign national must apply for an I visa at the American Embassy or consulate with jurisdiction in the foreign national’s place of permanent residence. The application must indicate the specific end date for the job.

The foreign national, as a member of a foreign media outlet, is not permitted to travel to the U.S. and engage in media activities without an I nonimmigrant visa, regardless of whether the foreign national is a citizen of a country that participates in the U.S. Waiver Program (VWP). Failure to adhere to this requirement could result in being denied admission; however, there are specific circumstances in which a foreign media representative may be eligible to travel with a visitor’s visa.

At the port of entry, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer will determine the admission of the foreign media representative to the U.S. If entry is permitted, Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record will be stamped and clearly state the authorized period of stay. If a length of stay is necessary beyond the date specified in the application, the foreign national must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Spouses and children under the age of 21 who wish to join the I visa holders may apply to accompany the foreign media representative. Spouses and children are not eligible to work in the U.S., but are eligible to study in the U.S. without having to apply for an F-1 visa.

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