The I visa is a temporary nonimmigrant workers visa meant for bona fide representatives of foreign media. In order to be eligible for the I visa, you must:
I visa applicants must engage in activities which are informational and associated with the news gathering process, which involves reporting on current events. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the consular office abroad to determine if an activity warrants the conferral of an I visa. Persons applying for this visa must apply in the consular office or American Embassy that has jurisdiction over his or her place of permanent residence. Some examples include, but are not limited to, the following activities:
For all of these categories, proof of employment is required. This can be done through a letter from the employer or a copy of a contract with the sponsoring organization. Requirements for the proof of employment can be found below. Aliens visiting the United States cannot practice their media profession without an I visa, even if he or she lawfully gained entrance into the U.S. under another visa or status. Admission for an I visa holder is generally authorized for the duration of stay and does not require an extension as long as the visa holder continues to work for the same employer under the same information medium. An extension of status may be filed if the Form I-94 indicates an authorized end date or period of stay.
I visa holders are nonimmigrant workers who must first have a prospective employer file a petition Form I-129 on their behalf. After filing the petition, the employer will receive feedback from the USCIS and if the petition is approved, the alien may enter the United States and begin working after filling out Form I-9.
Each I visa application must also include the following documentation:
The nonimmigrant visa application process is accompanied by processing and issuance fees. The I-129 petition fee is currently set at $325 while the issuance fee varies by country. You can access the visa reciprocity tables to find out the fee amount for your country.
I visa holder wishing to transfer companies may do so by resubmitting the I-129 form. I visa holders may not study full time.
Spouse and Children
Family of the I visa holder are eligible for admission into the United States under an I visa. While this visa will allow the children of the holder to attend school without applying for an F-1 visa, it makes the children and spouse of the principal I visa holder ineligible for employment in the United States.
Taxes for I visa recipients followthe U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens (Publication 519) provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Depending on the duration of stay in the United States, I visa holders are responsible for taxes as either resident or non-resident aliens. Resident aliens – those with a green card or who had a “substantial presence” in the United States – are taxed like U.S. citizens. Non-residents mostly pay taxes on their income connected to a U.S. trade or business. Remember that “resident” and “non-resident” are categories used by the IRS for tax purposes and do not necessarily reflect immigration status. For more detailed guidelines and instructions, please reference Publication 519 on the IRS’s website.