Any foreign citizen visiting the U.S. must have a visa either for temporary or permanent residence. However, those in media who are representing their media houses on temporary job related tasks can do so using the journalist I-Visa.
What is a journalist I-Visa?
A journalist I-Visa is issued to a representative of a foreign media house including print media radio, TV, film and press for a work-related visit. This is because foreign journalists cannot travel to the USA on a visitor visa if they plan to work while they are there. The visitor visa can only be used if the journalist is visiting the USA for a holiday or for any other reason as long as they will not be working as journalists during the visit.
How to apply for the journalist I-Visa?
Applying for the journalist I-Visa will involve a number of steps whose order may vary depending on the U.S embassy you use. Therefore, for a more accurate order of steps, you need to consult your embassy. However, a more general order of steps is given below:
- You first have to fill the online application form known as DS-160. You will also be required to upload your photo. The photo must pass the photo requirements given on the website. Print the application form confirmation page afterwards so you can bring it to your interview.
- Schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy in your country if you are between the ages of 14 and 79. Exceptions may apply if you are renewing your visa. Children 13 years and below and seniors over the ages of 80 are generally not required to take an interview unless the embassy officers think so. It is generally a good idea to apply early for your visa interview although you may be required to wait for some time depending on your location and the season.
- While waiting for the interview, prepare by gathering your documentation and paying the non-refundable visa application fees. Please keep in mind that other fees may apply if your visa is approved. Among the documents you should keep ready include your passport which must be valid for U.S. travel for at least six months beyond your planned stay period in the U.S. Other additional documents that may be required include a contract of employment with your media house or some credentials by a professional media house sponsoring you if you work as a freelance journalist.
- Attend the visa interview carrying the above documents, that is, your passport, receipt of visa payment and the printed online application form, confirmation page as well as your employment contract. If your photo failed to upload during the online application process, you must carry with you a printed photo meeting the photo requirements. During the interview, an embassy officer will try to ascertain that you qualify for the visa. You will need to convince them that you are qualified for the visa. Your digital fingerprints will also be taken. Further processing may be needed to ascertain if you are qualified for a visa.
If your visa is approved, then you will be informed of how long it will take for you to receive your visa. You can use this visa to travel to the U.S. as long as it is valid.
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