Media (I) Visa

The Media (I) visa is a vital tool in a global system, where news and cultures are shared and dispatched across national lines. The Media (I) visas are available to representatives of the foreign media, including members of the press, radio, film, and print industries, traveling temporarily to the United States to work in their profession engaged in informational or educational media activities, essential to the foreign media function. Activities in the United States while on a media (I) visas must be for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country and must be informational in nature and generally associated with the news gathering process and reporting on current events.

The spouse and unmarried children of the Media (I) visas under the age of 21 may be eligible for a derivative I status. Your employer must offer a letter detailing your position.

I. Procedures for applying for a I Visa at the U.S. Consulate:

  • Complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application at, upload photos while completing the online Form I-160, and print the confirmation page for interview
  • Pay the non-refundable visa application fee
  • Make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate

II. Procedures for applying for an I classification for change of employer or a change in the information medium in which you work with the USCIS:

  • Complete Form I-539
  • Pay filing fee with USCIS
  • Provide all required evidence and supporting documentation

III. Documents Required for applying a I Visa at the U.S. Consulate:

  1. Valid Passport: Applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months beyond his/her period of stay in the U.S.
  2. Form DS-160 Confirmation Page
  3. Application fee payment receipt
  4. Photo – Applicant will be required upload photo while completing the online Form DS-160; if uploading photo failed, Applicant will be required submit one printed photo to the U.S. embassy or consulate during the interview.
    • Applicant’s photos or digital images must be:
      • In color
      • Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
      • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
      • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
      • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
      • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
      • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
      • Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
      • Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
      • Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
      • Eyeglasses are no longer allowed in new visa photos, except in rare circumstances when eyeglasses cannot be removed for medical reasons; e.g., the applicant has recently had ocular surgery and the eyeglasses are necessary to protect the applicant’s eyes. A medical statement signed by a medical professional/health practitioner must be provided in these cases. If the eyeglasses are accepted for medical reasons:
        • The frames of the eyeglasses must not cover the eye(s).
        • There must not be glare on eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
        • There must not be shadows or refraction from the eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
      • If you normally wear a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.
  5. Additional documents may be requested to establish applicant’s qualification, including:
    • A journalist working under contract or free lance to a foreign media organization will need to present a valid contract of employment.
    • An employee of an independent production company, with a few exceptions, will need to present a credential issued by a professional journalistic association.

IV. Documents Required for applying an I classification for change of employer or a change in the information medium in which you work with the USCIS

  1. A copy of the front and back of Form I-94 for each person included on this application;
  2. A letter from the employing foreign media organization that verifies the employment, establishes that you are a representative of that media organization, and describes the remuneration and work to be performed; and
  3. If applicable, evidence of each dependent’s relationship to the principal, such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate and proof of termination of any prior marriages. (NOTE: Dependents of I nonimmigrants receive the same classification as the principal.)

V. Additional Notes

  • Media (I) visas, however, are not available to fiancées. If your spouse or children wish to visit you in the U.S., they may choose to apply for a B-2 visa. They may also be eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program.