I Visa

Visa for Journalists and Members of the Media

The I visa or journalist visa is a work visa for employees in the media, press and radio sectors who are temporarily in the USA for journalistic purposes within the scope of their work. We have assisted well-known broadcasters, film companies and television productions with the I visa application. We would also be pleased to assist you. Make your visa request now!


What is the I visa?

The I visa is a nonimmigrant visa for the United States specifically for foreign media representatives who wish to temporarily enter and reside in the United States of America to pursue their profession. The I category officially bears the name Foreign News Media and allows temporary assignment in the USA for journalistic purposes.

Journalists and correspondents who work for an American media office or a newspaper in Germany, for example, can also travel to the USA with an I visa to report on events from the United States for an audience outside the USA.

Please note: Journalists or (freelance) media staff do not always require an I visa. It is not the job title as a journalist that decides whether media representatives need a visa and, if so, which one.


As with all U.S. visa categories, a wide variety of criteria must be met in order to qualify for a journalist visa. Below we will guide you step by step through the requirements catalogue.

Personal requirements

The applicant retains his permanent residence outside the USA and intends to travel to the United States only for a temporary stay. The proof of sufficient financial means to be able to cover the stay in America also plays an important role in the examination of the visa application, especially for self-employed persons.

In addition, applicants must prove that they work for a foreign media company. This is usually done by presenting an employment contract which confirms that the person is, for example, a reporter or editor. Freelance journalists or freelance employees of production companies can also qualify for an I visa if they have a contract with a media company outside the United Staes for deployment in the USA and can prove regular royalties from the past. The U.S. consulate generally requires the presentation of a press card.

Activity-related requirements

On-site activities may be used exclusively for the dissemination and collection of news or information. This means that the journalistic material (e.g. reportage, film material, etc.) may only be of a documentary nature if it is published outside the USA.

Excluded from the I visa category are persons or companies who produce commercial projects (advertising recordings etc.) and projects from the entertainment industry (documentary soaps, entertainment programs etc.). For these activities, an appropriate work visa must be applied for (O, P or H), which also includes a work permit from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The applicant must remain employed or under contract with the media company outside the United States for the entire duration of the stay. The applicant must not receive any remuneration from the U.S. side or a U.S. company and must return to their original job after their stay. The connection to a media company outside the USA is therefore indispensable.

The majority of the financing of the project or the stay must not come from the USA.


I visa applicants must usually present themselves in person to one of the responsible U.S. consulates during an interview appointment. There, in addition to the general application documents, documents on the employment relationship, purpose of entry and other documents on the intention to return should be presented. The application is usually submitted to the U.S. consulate of the country in which the applicant lives.


As a rule, I visas are issued for a maximum period of five years. However, depending on the respective journalistic project, a time limit of, for example, one year may apply.

If media representatives spend more time in the USA for journalistic purposes, the I visa does not have to be applied for again and again.

Attention: The U.S. border official decides on the day of entry how long foreign media representatives are allowed to stay in the USA with the I visa. He or she stamps the passport with the residence status. There either a concrete date of departure or "D/S", which stands for "Duration of Status", is noted. This information is also included in the electronic I-94 entry form.

The I visa holder may only stay in the United States for as long as the journalistic activity in the United States specified at the time of entry continues under the same conditions.

Why apply for the I visa with us?

We can look back on numerous I visa applications and would be happy to support you with your journalistic project in the USA. Our services for you at a glance:

  • Advice and information about the I visa category
  • Analysis of your situation and check whether the prerequisites are fulfilled
    If required, we can suggest alternative visa categories that are suitable for you
  • Assistance in filling in and translating all application forms
  • Transfer of your data to the online system of the U.S. authorities
  • Individual check for completeness and timely submission of documents
  • Arrangement and personal preparation of the interview appointment in the U.S. consulate
  • Preparing for entry into the United States and the border situation

If you would like to find out more, we will be happy to advise you without obligation. Contact us today!

Frequently Asked Questions about the I visa for the USA

Which visa do accompanying family members receive with the I visa?

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 shall be issued a derived I visa for the same period as the main applicant. If the children reach the American age of majority, they must change their non-immigrant status or leave the country.

Family members are not allowed to work. Consequently, it is not possible to apply for a general work permit (Employment Authorization Document, EAD) under I status. However, I visa holders may attend a public or private educational institution.

Accompanying family members of I visa holders can travel to the USA visa-free for up to 90 days if their nationality permits visa-free entry.