The US (I) Media Visa for UK and Global  Journalists and Media banner


The US (I) Media Visa for UK and Global Journalists and Media

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Whether it is covering US politics or reporting on the news from America you need a US(I) Media Visa if you are a non-US citizen who wants to go to the US and work in media. The definition of media work includes press and print journalism as well as TV, film and radio.

Our Immigration Solicitors can help you quickly secure your US Media Visa.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For immigration advice on the US(I) Media Visa call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

What is the US(I) Media Visa?

The US(I) Media Visa or I Visa is designed for members of non-US media companies to allow journalists and the media to enter the US temporarily to work in the field of information and news media.

Media is widely defined as including newspaper and magazine journalists as well as those in TV, film and radio. If you aren’t sure if your type of media work fits the Media Visa then speak to our Immigration Solicitors for guidance and for advice on how to go about applying for your US(I) Media Visa.

If you currently have a different type of US visa you may need to apply for a US(I) Media Visa to be able to legally work for a non-US or foreign media company whilst in the US.

Who can apply for the US(I) Media Visa?

To apply for a Media Visa, you need to make an individual visa application rather than be covered under an umbrella company Media Visa.

Your media work does not have to be consumer-facing. In other words, the US(I) Media Visa isn’t restricted to TV interviewers, newspaper writers or radio hosts. The Media Visa extends to the full range of media roles including:

  • TV crew such as a news cameraman
  • Editors
  • Writers and journalists
  • Bloggers and social media content producers provided the content is information and news-based
  • Producers and directors
  • Photographers

If you are not on that list, you may still meet the eligibility criteria for a US(I) Media Visa. Call our US Visa Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 to discuss your visa application.

Many people in the media world work on a freelance basis, such as newspaper writers and columnists or camera crew. You should be able to apply for a Media Visa provided you have a contract with a non-US media company and meet the content criteria.

If you work in creative film production, the entertainment sector or if you are a fiction writer then the US(I) Media Visa is not the right US Work Visa for you. That’s because the US(I) Media Visa is aimed at those who are working in journalism and news-related media. There are other Work Visa options if you work in creative media.

The eligibility criteria for the US(I) Media Visa

The eligibility criteria for the US(I) Media Visa are:

  • You are a representative of a non-US media organisation or company
  • You are travelling to the US to work in media
  • The media activity is informational or news related – as opposed to entertainment
  • The media company you work for has a non-US-based office
  • You meet the general eligibility criteria. For example, you have not previously breached immigration rules

The content you are writing, producing or editing needs to be geared at your home audience rather than targeted at the US market. A typical slant is a UK journalist's column on life in the US or a news reporter’s views on US politics or crime with a UK or EU perspective.

The main source of funding for your media content should be non-US-based. The focus of these restrictions is to limit the US(I) Media Visa to those in the media who are coming to the US to report on the US for their home country. It isn’t a Work Visa for journalists and media crew to work for US media or to work in the entertainment industry but ask our Immigration Solicitors about your alternate US Work Visa options if you don’t think you fall within the US(I) Media Visa criteria.

What happens if you don’t apply for a US(I) Media Visa?

If you think that you can go over to the US using the US Waiver Programme and do your media work without the hassle of applying for a US(I) Media Visa our Immigration Solicitors would urge you to rethink your plans. Some journalists are tempted if their media work just involves iPad writing or uploading blogs but if you go to the US without the required visa, you risk being refused US entry or being told to leave. Your immigration record will be marked and may result in future visa applications being refused by US immigration authorities.

Can you carry out US media work on a B-1 Business Visa?

You cannot carry out media work in the US whilst on a B-1 Business Visa and nor can you travel to the US using the Visa Waiver Programme and do media-related work. If you do so, you risk your immigration record being affected and being refused further US entry. Immigration Solicitors emphasise that you should not cut corners even if your assignment is relatively short in duration.

Can you get a US(I) Media Visa that allows you to go back and forth to the US?

The US immigration rules say you cannot leave the US and then return to resume your media work – you need a fresh US(I) Media Visa. Whilst our Immigration Solicitors appreciate that the rules can be frustrating if you are only flying to the US for a relatively short assignment before returning for another freelance job, you do need to apply for a Media Visa each time you go to the US for media work. Our specialist US Immigration Solicitors can take the hassle out of applying for your US(I) Media Visas.

How long does a US(I) Media Visa last?

A US(I) Media Visa will not last longer than the period of your assignment. You then need to leave the US as otherwise you will place your clean immigration record in jeopardy and may be prevented from returning to the US.

Can a freelance journalist get a US(I) Media Visa?

If you are freelance you need to be under contract with a non-US media organisation to qualify for a US(I) Media Visa – you won't meet the eligibility criteria if you are hoping to carry out research or write an article and then sell it to a UK based media organisation on your return to the UK.

Can your family join you in the US on a US(I) Media Visa?

Your US(I) Media Visa won't include family members but some family members (such as spouses or unmarried children aged under 21) can apply for Dependant Visas at the same time as you apply for your Media Visa. Their visas will be issued for the same length as your Media Visa.

Can you extend a US(I) Media Visa?

It is often the case that an employer asks you to extend an assignment as a story develops. You cannot stay longer than your Media Visa but you can apply to extend it from within the US by completing Form I-539. The extension cannot last for longer than 12 months but there is no limit to the number of extension applications you can apply for.

Why are US(I) Media Visa applications refused?

The US authorities will refuse a US(I) Media Visa application if they are not convinced that you are going to be doing informative news-based work for a non-US organisation. You can appeal a decision or apply again.

Applications tend to be refused where individuals have applied for a US(I) Media Visa and they should have applied for a different type of Work Visa. For example, applications by creatives such as set designers, influencers or screenwriters.

Alternatively, you may have correctly applied for a Media Visa but supplied incorrect paperwork. To secure a US(I) Media Visa you need to provide:

  • Form DS-160 – this is completed online and an appointment for an interview is then arranged. The appointment is held at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
  • Evidence that you are employed by a non-US media organisation
  • Proof you work in media if it isn’t obvious from a contract of employment with an established media outlet. For example, TV programmes where you have been credited or published journalism pieces
  • Details of the media work you will be doing in the US and if anyone will be accompanying you to work on the project, such as a co-journalist, editor or producer
  • Evidence that you plan to return to your home country
  • Passport photo – unless you have already uploaded one as part of your Form DS-160 completion
  • Fee payment for the US(I) Media Visa

How London-based OTS Solicitors can help you with your US(I) Media Visa and immigration law needs

OTS Solicitors are immigration law experts and one of their areas of specialism is US visas. We represent clients globally with all their Business Immigration and Individual Immigration law needs and offer the full range of US visa and immigration services to clients across the globe.

Whether you are looking for a Work Visa, a US Business Visa, or a Family Visa or want advice on US citizenship or dual nationality our team can provide you with the specialist immigration law advice you need.

We also provide Immigration Law Training for businesses and professionals.

If you instruct us with your US(I) Media Visa application we will carefully guide and support you through the application process.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For US(I) Media Visa immigration advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.


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