Journalist and Media Visas

On this page:


 Overview                                                                                                                    

The media (I) visa is a nonimmigrant visa for representatives of the foreign media, members of the press, radio, film, and other foreign information media, temporarily traveling to the United States to engage in activities associated with their profession.

Qualifications                                                                                                                              

 

To be eligible for an I visa, the following requirements must be met:

  • The applicant must be a representative of a foreign information media organization;
  • The organization must have a home office outside the United States;
  • The applicant is engaged in the regular gathering, production or dissemination, via print, radio, television, internet distribution, or other media, of journalistic information; and
  • The applicant’s travel is temporary and solely to engage in such vocation.

Who can qualify as a media representative?

  • Journalists
  • Researchers
  • Producers
  • Presenters and other on-air personnel
  • Individuals whose activities provide an essential support to the foreign information media function, for example film crews, video tape editors, and person in similar occupations
  • Employees of independent production companies
  • New media representatives such as bloggers and other representatives of publications on other electronic media platforms
  • Employees of foreign government tourist bureaus (see below for more information)

What qualifies as “journalistic information”?

“Journalistic information” is content that is primarily informational in nature, such as:

  • Reporting on recent or important events,
  • Investigative reporting; or
  • Producing educational materials such as documentaries.

“Journalistic information” does not include content designed to provide entertainment such as reality shows, discussions of personal experiences in the United States, materials aimed at fan engagement, or works produced for promotional or marketing purposes.

Self-employed and freelance media representatives

A self-employed applicant may qualify for an I visa as a foreign information media representative if the applicant satisfies the requirements above, including the requirement that the applicant has a home office outside the United States.  In order to maintain the home office outside the United States, a self-employed foreign information media representative applicant must demonstrate that he or she intends to depart the United States within a reasonable timeframe consistent with the intended purpose of travel.

An applicant who primarily serves as a freelance information media worker may qualify as a foreign information media representative if the applicant otherwise satisfies the definition of “information media representative” above and can present a valid contract for services to an organization having a home office outside of the United States.

Foreign Government Tourist Bureaus

Employees of Foreign Government Tourist Bureaus who are duly 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 the country for which they are employed as a representative may be classified as foreign information media representatives if they satisfy they meet the requirements outlined above. 

Dependents

Spouses or unmarried children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States may be eligible for derivative I visas.

How to Apply

Step 1
Pay the visa application fee.

Step 2
Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 3
Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:

    • Your passport number
    • Your MRV receipt number
    • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

Step 4
Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your visa interview. You will need to bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, your current and all old passports if they have previous visas, and the original visa fee payment receipt. Applications without all these items will not be accepted.

Application Items 

To apply for an I visa, you must submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form confirmation page. Visit the DS-160 web page for more information about the DS-160.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
  • One (1) 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) photograph taken within the last six months. This web page has information about the required photo format.
  • A receipt showing payment of your US$160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, paid in local currency. This web page has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State's website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.

In addition to these items, you must present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents are only one of many factors a consular officer will consider in your interview and will not be required in every case. Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors during adjudication. Consular officers may look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility.

You may want to bring the following documents to your interview in support of your application. Original documents are always preferred over photocopies. Do not fax, email or mail any supporting documents to the Embassy.

             » Proof of employment:

    • Press card or credentials, as applicable
    • Staff Journalist: A letter from your employer that gives your name, your position held within the company, and the purpose and length of your stay in the United States
    • Freelance Journalist under contract to a media organization: A copy of the contract with the media organization showing your name, your position held within the company, the duration of contract, and the purpose and length of your stay in the United States
    • Media Film Crew: A letter from your employer showing your name, your position held within company, the title and a brief description of the program being filmed, and the purpose and length of your stay in the United States
    • Independent Production Company under contract to media organization: A letter from the organization commissioning the work showing your name, the title and a brief description of the program being filmed, the duration of the contract, and the period required for filming in the U.S

           » Dependents

    • If your spouse and/or child apply for a visa at a later date, a copy of your media visa must be presented with the application.

In addition to these items, you must present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.