I Visa Application Process

Learn About I Visa Process And Documents Checklist

Applying For The I Visa

To apply for an I visa, you must first establish that you are a representative of a foreign media traveling to the U.S. on a temporary assignment. Your I visa application must include:

A. DOS Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application

B. DOS Form DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, for all male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45

C. A copy of your passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page

D. Two identical color photographs showing full face without head covering against a light background. You may wear a headdress if required by a religious order of which you are a member

E. Copies of previous passports held by you

F. A letter from your employer, including the length of time in service, dates of the proposed trip, and the event to be covered in the U.S.

G. If you have not had an I visa in the last year, you must present proof of your journalistic work during the last six months, such as:

1. Originals of publications where your articles were published, if you are in the print medium (consulates do not accept clippings or photocopies)

2. Videos of aired segments if you are a television reporter

3. Cassettes of your programs, and the programs containing aired credits if you are a radio journalist

4. Videos of the sequence of credits of the programs containing your name, if you are a television cameraman, producer or director

H. If you have had an I visa in the last year, and plan to travel to the U.S. for the same publication or program, you must present proof of the work carried out during the previous trip to the U.S.

I. If you have had an I visa in the last year, but plan to travel to the U.S. for a different publication or program, you must present proof of the result of your previous trip to the U.S., as well as proof of the recent work done for the new company (if any). The requirement of proof of work done for the new company is similar to the requirement for a journalist who has not had an I visa, but does not need to cover the entire six months

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Duration of Stay

The maximum initial duration of the I visa status is one year. There are no limitations on the total stay under this category and therefore you may remain in the U.S. indefinitely provided the extensions are filed each year.

Overstays while on the I visa are not subject to 222(g) provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This is because you are given “D/S” (duration of status) upon entry. However, if you have overstayed the visa, you must make all future visa applications in your home country only.


Spouses and Children

Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join you in the U.S. for the duration of your stay can apply for a dependent I visa.


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