The I visa (“Representatives of Foreign Media”) is a special US visa reserved for media personnel who work for a foreign media company that is carrying out its business in the United States.
While the nominal term for an I visa is only up to one year, that may be extended indefinitely, for as long as the project is active.
The following occupations (and equivalents) are allowed under an I category visa:
- News reporters
- Freelance journalists (provided they are working under contract)
- Film crews
- Independent production companies
Commercial Media Excluded
The I visa does not cover commercial uses, including entertainment or advertising.
Family Members: I-1
Immediate family members, i.e. legal spouse and any unmarried children under 21, may apply for an I-1 visa to accompany the I visa holder on their visit to the U.S., where they are permitted to study without applying for any other visa, but are not permitted to work. They should present a copy of the original visa with the I-1 application.
If family members wish to visit for a shorter stay, a B2 visa may be preferable (unless they are coming from a country that participates in a visa waiver program with the U.S.).