The I Media Visa is a temporary visa for representatives of the information media, including members of the press, radio, film or print media industries. It is generally issued for one year. An I Media Visa is renewable indefinitely. Working media cannot enter the US on a B Visitor Visa or without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP); they must first obtain an I Media Visa from a US Consulate if they will be working in the US.
To qualify for the I Media Visa, an applicant must show that her activities are essential to the foreign media function. Examples of applicants who might qualify include: reporters, film crews, editors and individuals in similar occupations who are traveling to the US to engage in their profession.
An I Media Visa applicant must be engaging in qualifying activities for a media organization that has its home office in a country outside of the US. To qualify for the I Media Visa, activities must be essentially informational, and they must be generally associated with the news gathering process and/or reporting on actual current events.
A consular officer at the US Consulate where the I Media Visa application is made will determine whether a particular activity qualifies for the I Visa. Reporting on sports events is usually appropriate for the media visa. Examples of individuals or activities that qualify for the I Visa include:
Citizens from a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) who want to enter the US temporarily as representatives of the foreign media traveling to the US, engaging in their profession as media or journalists, must first obtain an I Media Visa to enter the US. They cannot travel without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program, nor can they travel on a B visitor visa; attempts to do so may be denied admission to the US by the Department of Homeland Security, CBP, or US immigration officer at the port of entry.