I Visa for the USA - ESTAForm.org

I Visa for the USA

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An I visa is a US visa that is for people that are employed by media companies outside of the US to enter the country for work purposes such as researching and reporting news. The company must be carrying out media business in the US (not for a US company) and the types of roles that are applicable include:
  • News reporters/journalists
  • Editors
  • Filimng crews
  • Radio presenters and crew
The I visa is also available for freelance journalists who have a contract to work in the US.

Eligibility and requirements for I visa

An I visa will usually only be permitted for members of the media that are involved in work that is classed as ‘informational’. This is why it is predominantly news related jobs that use I visas to work in the US. According to the UK’s US Embassy – “In making the determination as to whether or not an activity qualifies for the “I” classification visa, we focus on two issues: is the activity essentially informational, and is it generally associated with the news gathering process.”
If the work is for commercial purposes, such as advertising, this would not come under the bracket of informational and a different type of visa would need to be obtained for this type of work in the US.

How to apply for I visa

The application for I visa must be submitted at the US Embassy in the applicant’s home country by filling in the Form DS-160 and submitting a photo with your application. You will also be required to pay a fee of $160 for the I visa, which is non refundable, even if your visa is not approved.
Once you have submitted the application and paid the application fee, the next stage is to arrange an interview with the US Embassy. The length of time that you wait for an appointment will vary depending on how busy the Embassy is at that time, so be aware that it can take a while for the I visa to get processed from start to finish.
There are a number of documents that you require when you attend your interview, including a letter from the employer that outlines the nature of your visit and length of duties. You will also need to provide proof of your occupation which could be in the form of a press card, qualifications, work contracts or examples of your work/published articles.

Length of I visa validity

The I visa will be granted for the period of time that is required for your work, so if your work contract is for 3 months, the visa will be valid for that length of time. You are able to apply for extensions for a period of one year if further work is required, after which you can apply for unlimited further extensions.
Dependents of I visa holders
The spouse and children aged under 21 can also apply for a derivative I visa to enable them to join the I visa holder in the US for the length of their work project.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.

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