I Visa

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

1. What is I visa?

An I visa, is a nonimmigrant visa which allows bona fide foreign nationals who are the representatives of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media to enter the U.S. in connection with the production of documentaries or newsworthy events.


2. Who are eligible for I visa?

Reporters, film crews, video tape editors, employees of independent production companies, free-lance journalists working under contract, and persons in similar occupations are eligible for this visa. Both print and film activities are included in this category. The media which you are representing should have an office in your home country.

Although the production companies are not themselves affiliated with a newspaper or electronic news medium, as the companies’ employees, you may be accorded I visa.

Note: Only those who are actually involved in the newsgathering process are eligible (proofreaders, librarians, or set designers are not eligible).

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3. How do I qualify for I visa?

To qualify for I visa, you must:

  1. Hold a credential issued by a professional journalistic association
  2. Produce a film which will be used by a television station or other media to disseminate information or news
  3. Produce a film which will not be used primarily for commercial entertainment or advertising purpose

4. What privileges do I enjoy on I visa?

On I visa, you may:

  1. Enter the U.S. and work for a foreign press, films, television or any other media for a temporary period
  2. Not be required to maintain a foreign residence
  3. Travel in and out of the U.S. or remain in the U.S. continuously for the term of production
  4. Apply for dependent visas available for your spouse as well as unmarried dependant children under 21

5. What are the limitations of I visa?

The limitations of I visa are:

  1. Tedious process of getting an extension every year
  2. Dependents cannot work in the U.S. in dependent status
  3. Employment authorization only for the employer that submitted the I visa application for which the USCIS granted approval