I-Visa – Media and Journalist Visa

I-Visa or Media and Journalist Visa are issued to members of foreign media and Journalists traveling temporarily to the US for work-related purposes.

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If you’re a member of a media or a journalist seeking entry into the US to work temporarily, you may need to apply for an I-Visa. This article explains everything you should know about this visa type.

What is an I-Visa?

This visa type is a non-immigrant US visa designed for representatives of foreign Media and Journalists. It is issued only to foreign media persons traveling to the US for work-related purposes. Media persons and Journalists going to the US for other purposes, aside from professional jobs, are not eligible for this visa. 

Media persons engaged in entertainment, such as movies or sports, are also not eligible for this visa type.

One of the requirements for this visa type is that the intended project must be such that it will inform and educate a foreign audience.

Who are the representatives of foreign media?

Not everyone that works with a media network is regarded as “representatives of a foreign media” under the I-Visa. Only those engaged in reporting events, such as Journalists, radio reporters, newspaper editors, etc are recognized as representatives of a foreign media.

Writers and designers are not regarded as representatives of foreign media. Therefore, they are ineligible for this visa type.

What are the I-Visa Requirements? 

To be eligible for an I-Visa, you must meet at least two of the following requirements.

  • You must be a representative of an educational and informative foreign media.
  • You must be part of a production or distribution project targeted at reporting events
  • You must be from a country that grants the same opportunities to media representatives in the US.
  • Your purpose for entering the US must be work related
  • You must be a Journalist freelancer who has a valid work contract from a foreign media network
  •  You must be a representative of a bureau of tourism with valid accreditation.
  • You must have a foreign office outside the US

Journalists working for a foreign branch of a US media organization are also eligible for the I- visa if they meet the requirements above.

How to Apply for I-Visa

Here are the steps to apply for an I-Visa 

Complete Application Form DS-160

You’re required to file Form DS-160 with your personal information. After completing the form, print out the Form DS-160 confirmation page.

Upload your Photograph

You’re required to upload a passport photograph. Your passport photograph must be in accordance with the US photograph requirements.

Pay for your Visa

You’re required to pay the nonrefundable I-Visa fee of $160. Ensure you keep your receipt intact after making payments. 

Schedule Your Interview 

If you’re above 13 years and below 80 years, you are required to schedule an interview with a US Consulate. Applicants below 13 years or above 79 years are not required to schedule an interview.

Compile the Required Documents

Ahead of your interview, ensure you keep a checklist of the following required documents;

  • A letter from your employer that states the nature of the project and your role in it.
  • A document showing the duration of the project
  • Credentials issued by a Professional Journalistic Association
  • Prove that you will return to your home at the expiration of the I-Visa
  • A valid contract of employment (for freelance journalist)
  • Your Visa fee receipt
  • Form DS-169 Confirmation page

Go for your Interview

You’re required to attend an interview with the consular officer who will review your documents and decide if your application requires additional processing.

How Long Does It Take To Process I-Visa?

After applying for the I-Visa, you will have to wait for 10 days for your visa application to be processed. 

Validity of an I-Visa 

The validity of an I-Visa depends on the duration of your media job in the US. For example, if your contract states that you will be in the US for 4 months as a journalist, then your visa will be valid for 4 months. However, you can renew your visa before it expires if your media job takes more time than stated in the contract.

Can I change my I-visa status?

Yes, you can change your I-visa status to another non-immigrant visa type. But first, you must get a job in the US that you qualify for. 

Can I Bring My Family on I-Visa?

Yes, spouses and children (under 21 years old) of I-visa holders can accompany them to the US. Your dependents can apply at the same time as you or after your application is approved.

If you have other questions about the I-Visa, kindly write to us in the comments section.

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