I Visa

AWhat is I Visa

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. 

BQualifications for I Visa

There are very specific requirements, dictated by U.S. immigration law, which must be met by applicants in order to qualify for the media visa. To qualify for the media (I) visa, applicants must demonstrate that they are properly qualified to be issued a media visa.

 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 media visa. Reporting on sports 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.
  7. Technical industrial information. Employees in the U.S. offices of organizations that distribute technical industrial information.
  • Freelance journalists will only be considered for 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; and
  3. Disseminate information or news not primarily intended for commercial entertainment or advertising.
  • Still photographers are permitted to enter the United States with B-1 visas for the purpose of taking photographs, provided that they receive no income from a U.S. source.
  • Note: Citizens from a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program , who want to enter the United States temporarily as representatives of the foreign media while engaging in their profession as media or journalists, must first obtain a media visa to come to the United States. They cannot travel without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program, nor can they travel on a visitor (type B) visa. Attempting to do so may result in a denial of admission to the United States by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. The list below describes situations when a visitor visa or the Visa Waiver Program can be used.