I Visa

UK citizens who are representatives of foreign media and want to come to the US to work might be eligible for the I Visa. Members of the press, radio, film, and print industries can apply for it.

To receive assistance with your application, call us today on 0333 305 9375.

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    What is the I Visa?

    The I Visa is also called the I Media Visa or I Visa for Members of the Foreign Media, Press, and Radio. It is intended for individuals who represent foreign media, including British media. If your I Visa application is approved, you will be able to legally work for a foreign media outlet while in the US.

    Everyone who wants to come to the US to engage in professional activities for their organisation, has to apply for the I Visa. To qualify for the visa, the activities you intend to take part in while in the US have to be of informational nature and associated with reporting on the latest events.

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    What are the I Visa requirements for UK citizens?

    All UK citizens who want to receive the I Visa have to meet the following conditions:

    • Be a representative of a foreign media outlet
    • Be coming to the US to work in your profession.
    • Be a representative of a foreign media outlet that has a home office in the UK or any other country that is not the US.

    Occupations that qualify for the I Visa include but are not limited to radio broadcasters, journalists, film crews, and editors. Those who work as artists or entertainers should apply for the P1 Visa instead. If you are a freelancer, you can apply for the I Visa provided that you have a contract with a media organisation.

    If you are not sure whether you meet the criteria for the I Visa, contact our immigration lawyers. They will assess your eligibility for it and will help you submit your application.

    How long is the I Visa valid for?

    In your application for the I Visa, you have to provide the details of how long your assignment in the US will last for. The validity of the I Visa varies depending on how much time applicants need to complete their job in the US. Nevertheless, the I Visa is usually issued for a period of one year.

    If your I Visa is about to expire and you need more time to finish your assignment, you can apply for an extension. You can do it by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. If your application for the extension is successful, you will be able to stay in the US for an additional period of up to one year. There is no limit on how many extensions an individual can receive, but each time you apply for it, you have to prove that you still have not completed your assignment in the US.

    How can UK citizens apply for the I Visa?

    To apply for the I Visa all foreign citizens, including UK ones, have to file Form DS-160 online. Once you do it, you have to keep the confirmation page as you will need to bring it to your visa interview.

    Then, you have to schedule an interview at a US Embassy or Consulate in the UK, or in another country where you are based.

    After that, you can start preparing required supporting documents that include:

    • Passport valid for at least six months past your intended stay in the US
    • Proof of employment by a foreign media organisation
    • A letter outlining what your job in the US will be
    • Details of the organisation you represent
    • Proof of your credentials
    • Evidence showing that you intend to come back to the UK, or another foreign country where you live, once your I Visa expires.
    • The confirmation page of Form DS-160
    • Receipt showing that you paid the visa fee.

    If you fail to include these documents in your application, the processing of it might take longer than usual. To avoid delays, seek advice from one of our immigration lawyers. They will help you prepare a complete portfolio of evidence.

    What can UK citizens do on the I Visa?

    In your application for the I Visa, you have to provide the details of how long your assignment in the US will last for. The validity of the I Visa varies depending on how much time applicants need to complete their job in the US. Nevertheless, the I Visa is usually issued for a period of one year.

    If your I Visa is about to expire and you need more time to finish your assignment, you can apply for an extension. You can do it by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. If your application for the extension is successful, you will be able to stay in the US for an additional period of up to one year. There is no limit on how many extensions an individual can receive but, each time you apply for it, you have to prove that you still have not completed your assignment in the US.

    If your application for the I Visa is successful, you will be able to come to the US to:

    • Film a news event or a documentary
    • Film other material of informative or educational nature
    • Work as a journalist representing British or foreign organisation
    • Report on US news for a British or foreign audience.

    However, to be able to receive the I Visa and engage in these activities once in the US, your primary source of funding has to be outside the US. Moreover, the activities you will be engaging in cannot have entertainment value.

    Sometimes you might be better off applying for a B2 Visitor Visa instead of the I Visa. Consider doing it if you are coming to the US for one or some of the following reasons:

    • To attend a conference or seminar (as long as you do not intend to report on it to a media organisation).
    • To be a guest speaker at a conference or to give a lecture at an educational institution (provided that the event is shorter than nine days).
    • To come for a holiday (as long as you do not report on US events during it)
    • To undertake independent research (provided that you do not use the findings to create content for a media organisation)
    • To take photographs (as long as you do not get payment for them from a US organisation).

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on your I Visa case. Contact Us

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      What is the waiting time for the I Visa?

      Most applications for the I Visa are processed quickly, within just 10 days. Nevertheless, the processing time varies depending on the workload of a US Embassy or Consulate where you are applying.

      Moreover, if the evidence proving your eligibility for the visa is insufficient, USCIS might ask you to gather and submit additional documentation. That can significantly delay the processing of your visa application.

      There is also a risk that your I Visa application is rejected. If that happens, you have the right to appeal the decision and try again. Before you do it, however, you should seek expert advice from an immigration lawyer.

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      If you have any questions about your I Visa application, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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        How can Total Law help?

        At Total Law, our lawyers have expert knowledge of US immigration law and they can help you apply for the I Visa. Completing and submitting a visa application to USCIS can be a complex process but, if you hire one of our lawyers, they will answer all your questions and clear any doubts you might have.

        US immigration law can be confusing so it is easy to make mistakes when filling all the required forms. That can lead to USCIS rejecting your application. Thanks to the help of an immigration lawyer, however, you can avoid errors and be sure that you included all the required information and documents.

        Moreover, if your I Visa application is not approved, an immigration lawyer can help you appeal USCIS’s decision or, alternatively, can help you apply for a different US Visa.

        To find out more about how our immigration lawyers can help, call us today on 0333 305 9375.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  All applicants for the I Visa, including UK citizens, have to pay a non-refundable application fee of $160. Sometimes, you might be required to pay additional fees, for example, visa issuance fees or charges for translating documents if they are not in English. You have to keep the receipts for all the fees you pay and bring them to your visa interview.

                  If your application for the I Visa is successful, you will be able to bring your dependents, meaning your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21, to the US with you. To be able to join you, however, they have to apply for a separate visa that will be valid for as long as your I Visa lasts.

                  Typically, the application process for most US visas requires all applicants between the ages of 14 and 70 to attend a visa interview. That is the case with the I Visa as well. The purpose of the interview is to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria for the visa. Moreover, an immigration officer has to make sure that you intend to leave the US once your I Visa expires.

                  If you are a journalist working for a foreign media organisation and you wish to come to the US to gather material and report on recent news and events, you have to apply for the I Visa. The same applies to radio broadcasters, filmmakers, members of film crews, or newspaper editors. Without the I Visa, you will not be able to legally engage in your profession and report to your organisation while in the US.