Your Complete Guide to I Visas
The I visa is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign journalists, broadcasters, and other members of the media who will be working in the United States. This visa allows you to enter the United States to work in your field of journalism or media for up to three years.
The I Visa Overview
To qualify for an I visa, you must prove that you are a member of the foreign press, media, or other information-based organization. You must also show that you are coming to the United States to work in your field of journalism or media.
To qualify for an I visa, you must:
- Be a journalist, broadcaster, or other member of the foreign press, media, or other information-based organization
- Have a professional job or assignment in the United States in your field of journalism or media
- Have a home office in a foreign country
Can Your Family Come With You to the U.S. If You Have an I Visa?
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may come with you to the United States on an I visa. They will be allowed to stay in the United States for as long as you have your I visa. They're not allowed to work, but they are permitted to study in the U.S. without applying for a different visa.
How Long Can You Remain in the U.S. With an I Visa?
You can remain in the United States on an I visa as long as you need to if you continue working for the same employer in the same information medium. However, if your Form I-94, "Arrival and Departure Record," has an authorized period of stay on it and you find that you need to remain in the U.S. longer, you may apply for an extension through Form I-539, "Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status."
Is it Possible to Come to the U.S. and Engage in Your Profession Without an I Visa?
You aren't allowed to work as a representative of foreign media without an I visa, even if you're from a country that participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Under rare circumstances, you may be eligible to travel to the U.S. with a visitor visa (such as a B1 or B2 visa). However, you should talk to an attorney about your intention to come to the U.S. to engage in journalism or broadcasting; if you're here on the wrong type of visa, you could be removed from the country. Under the worst-case scenario, you could be barred from returning to the U.S. in the future.
Can a Lawyer Help You Apply for an I Visa?
A Dallas immigration attorney can help you apply for an I visa. In fact, many people choose to work with an attorney because the visa application process can be complicated. An attorney can make sure that you complete the necessary paperwork and meet all of the requirements for the I visa. Additionally, your immigration lawyer can submit your form for you, as well as keep track of it as it makes its way through the system.
Do You Have to Go Through an Immigration Interview to Get an I Visa?
You will most likely have to go through an immigration interview in order to get an I visa. During your interview, a consular officer will ask you questions about your work in the media, as well as your plans for working in the United States.
The interview is also an opportunity for the consular officer to verify that you are eligible for an I visa. Be sure to bring all the required documentation with you to your interview, including your passport, form I- visa application, and evidence of your professional qualifications.
What Happens if Your I Visa Application is Denied?
If your I visa application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. You must file your appeal within 30 days of receiving the denial notice. Your attorney can help you file your appeal and represent you during your immigration hearing.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Getting an I Visa as a Journalist or Broadcaster?
If you need to talk to an attorney about getting an I visa to come to the United States to engage in journalism or broadcasting as a representative of a foreign media outlet, we may be able to help you. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you get started.