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Chicago Foreign Media I Visa Lawyer

Are you a representative of foreign media seeking to work in the United States? If you are a journalist, a member of a film crew, an editor, or you hold another, similar occupation, and your services are essential to foreign media, you may be eligible for a foreign media visa. An I visa lawyer at Freedom Immigration can determine whether you qualify, and guide you on the path to working in America. 

At Freedom Immigration, the foreign media visa lawyers at our law firm can simplify the immigration process for you and your family members. 

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To find out more about visas for members of the foreign media, radio, and press, contact an experienced immigration lawyer in Chicago. Call Freedom Immigration for a free consultation at (224) 588-3536

Table of Contents :

What Is an I Visa?

The I visa, also known as the foreign media visa, or the journalist visa, is a non-immigrant work visa that enables members of foreign media outlets to engage in informational activities while in the United States. Since the I visa is a temporary visa designed for foreign workers, immigrants cannot use it to become a green card holder (obtain permanent resident status) or citizen of the U.S.

Are You Eligible for an I Visa?

To be eligible for the I visa, you must demonstrate that your activities are essential to the function of foreign media. Your activities must be mostly informational or educational, and associated with news-gathering or reporting on current events in the U.S. Additionally, the media organization you work for must maintain its home office outside the United States. Examples of people who qualify for the foreign media visa include:

  • Foreign information media employees who are filming a documentary or news event.
  • Foreign journalists working for an overseas branch of a United States news network and reporting to a foreign audience.
  • Freelance journalists working under a legitimate contract. 
  • Videographers, news photographers, and other members of the film crew.

I visas are not designed for foreign nationals who are intending to work in the commercial, advertising, or entertainment industries. Your immigration lawyer in Chicago can help you determine whether you qualify for an I visa.

Documentation Required for the I Visa

Various types of documentation and supporting evidence will be required when you apply for a foreign media visa. The Consular officer will review your documentation to determine whether your activities qualify for an I visa. Some types of documentation you will need to provide include:

  • Your valid passport that has at least six months validity after your stay in the United States.
  • A physical or digital photograph of you. (Digital photos may be uploaded when submitting Form Ds-160.)
  • The confirmation page from submitting Form Ds-160.
  • An employment contract or other proof that you are a qualifying member of the foreign news media.

At Freedom Immigration, our Chicago immigration lawyers help simplify the process for obtaining non-immigrant visas for members of the foreign media, press, and radio. Our legal team will assist you in gathering and submitting the documentation you need, and guide you through the immigration process.

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What to Expect at Your Foreign Media Visa Interview

When you work with a Chicago immigration attorney at our law firm, we will make sure you’re prepared for your I visa interview. You will need to bring your documentation, like your passport, Form DS-160 confirmation page, payment receipt, credentials, and proof of employment to your interview. The consular officer will review your documents and ask you questions to determine your eligibility for an I visa. 

  • Your fingerprint scans (biometrics) may be taken at the interview. 
  • Additional administrative processing may be required to establish whether you are eligible for the foreign media visa. 
  • Additional information from other sources may also be necessary to establish your eligibility. 
  • If your visa is approved without requiring additional processing or information, you will be informed of the approval at the end of your interview.

Wait times vary significantly depending on your location and the season in which you are applying for a foreign media visa. As such, you should apply for your visa early enough to accommodate any delays and meet your immigration goals. 

FAQs About I Visas in the United States

How long is the period of stay for an I visa? (USCIS)

The maximum period of stay for I visas is five years. However, most foreign media visas are only valid for one year. If you are an I visa holder from the People’s Republic of China, your stay is limited to 90 days. Immigration attorneys may be able to help clients change their immigration status to achieve permanent residence (green card) status through other means, however. 

Can an I visa holder change status while in the United States?

As a foreign national who is an I visa holder, you may change your visa status from the foreign media visa to another non-immigrant visa while you are in the United States. An immigration attorney can help you understand more about the options available to you.

Can family members accompany an I visa holder to the United States?

As an I visa holder, your spouse and children who are under 21 may accompany you by applying and getting approved for a derived non-immigrant I visa. Under current immigration law, your spouse and children will not have employment authorization to work in the U.S., however. 

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