Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Media (I) visas are for 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) visa must be for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country. Activities in the United States must be informational in nature and generally associated with the news gathering process and reporting on current events.
Travel purposes which require a Media (I) Visa – Examples:
- An employee of foreign information media or employee of an independent production company having a credential issued by a professional journalistic association engaged in filming a news event or documentary.
- A member of the media engaged in the production or distribution of film, if the material being filmed will be used to disseminate information, news, or is educational in nature. The primary source and distribution of funding must be outside the United States.
- A journalist working under contract with a credential issued by a professional journalistic organization, if working on a product to disseminate information or news that is not primarily intended for commercial entertainment or advertising.
- A foreign journalist working for an overseas branch office or subsidiary of a U.S. network, newspaper, or other media outlet, if traveling to the United States to report on U.S. events solely for a foreign audience.
- An accredited representative of a tourist bureau, controlled, operated, or subsidized in whole or in part by a foreign government, who engages primarily in disseminating factual tourist information about that country, and who is not entitled to receive an A-2 visa as a foreign government official or employee.
- An employee of an organization that distributes technical industrial information who will work in the U.S. office of that organization.