Media / I Visa Explained

Media / I Visa

Visa for Journalists and Members of the Media

The I visa is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign media representatives who seek to temporarily enter and remain in the United States of America in order to pursue their career. Foreign News Media is the official term for the I category, which allows for temporary assignment in the United States for journalistic purposes.

Journalists and correspondents working for an American media office or a German newspaper, for example, can come to the United States on an I visa to report on events in the United States for an audience outside the United States.


A journalist visa, like all other visa types in the United States, is subject to a number of requirements. We'll walk you through the requirements catalog step by step below.


The applicant maintains his permanent home outside of the United States and intends to visit the country solely for a short time. The verification of sufficient financial resources to fund the duration of the stay in America is also significant in the visa application review process, especially for self-employed individuals.

Applicants must show proof of employment with a foreign media organization. This is normally accomplished by showing an employment contract that verifies the person's status as, say, a reporter or editor. Freelance journalists and production firm employees who have a contract with a media company outside the United States for deployment in the United States and can show regular royalties in the past may also qualify for an I visa. The presentation of a press card is usually required by the US consulate.


On-site actions can only be used to disseminate and collect news or information. This means that if the journalistic content (e.g., reportage, film material, etc.) is published outside of the United States, it can only be of a documentary nature.

Persons or firms who produce commercial projects (advertising recordings, for example) and projects from the entertainment industry are exempt from the I visa category (documentary soaps, entertainment programs etc.). For these activities, an appropriate work visa (O, P, or H) must be applied for, as well as a work permit from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


During an interview appointment, I visa applicants must normally present themselves in person to one of the responsible U.S. consulates. There should be documents on the job relationship, the purpose of entry, and additional documents on the intention to return, in addition to the usual application documents. The application is normally sent to the United States consulate in the applicant's home country.


I visas are typically awarded for a maximum of five years. However, depending on the journalistic enterprise, a time constraint of, say, a year may be imposed.

The I visa does not need to be sought for again if media personnel spend longer time in the United States for journalistic purposes.

Why apply for the visa with us?

We have experience with a number of I visa applications and would be delighted to assist you with your journalistic enterprise in the United States. In a nutshell, here are the services we provide for you:

  • Information and advice on the I visa category

  • Examine your circumstance to see if all of the requirements are met.

  • If necessary, we can recommend alternative visa categories that are appropriate for you.

  • All application forms will be filled out and translated with your help.

  • Transfer of your information to the US government's web system

  • Individual document checks for completeness and timely submission

  • Organizing and preparing for the interview appointment at the United States Consulate

  • Getting ready for entry into the US and the border issue

If you'd like to learn more, we'd be pleased to provide you with free advice.


I hope this information was useful. Complex immigration processing can be incredibly complicated and stressful for everyone. Before filing this application, you should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney. can assist you and will be there for you every step of the journey. Please contact us via phone or email.