If you are a journalist who wishes to perform professionally in the United States, you may do so on an I visa, provided that you meet certain requirements and follow certain rules.

First of all, you need to know the following information:

When May I Apply for the I Visa?

  1. When you enter the United States to serve as a representative of a tourist office which is economically controlled or subsidized by a foreign government.
  1. When you work for the media (through a contract or as a freelancer) and you want to enter the United States to report, investigate or take a particular course. It is also the case of foreign correspondents.

However, if the reporter is not going to perform any activity or reportorial compilation of information, he or she should consult with a qualified attorney to clarify which visa is the best for him or her (the I, the H1B, the P or the O1).

Journalists Who Only Need a Tourist Visa

Chilean and Spanish journalists do not require an I visa. However, they will need a tourist visa in the following cases:

  1. When participating in meetings or conferences, provided they do not report them while in the U.S. or when they leave the country.
  1. When participating as speakers for a shorter period than nine days in the same institution or when payment for this work is received from fewer than five different institutions for a period of six months.

Procedure to Obtainthe I Visa for Journalists

  1. Apply for the visa by digitally filling in the DS-160 form. Make sure the bar code is printed on the document in which the interview appointment at the consulate or embassy is confirmed.
  2. Pay the fee.
  3. Take the picture with the required specifications.
  4. Fingerprints (this depends on the consulate and is done at the time of the interview).
  5. It is important to bring all the necessary documentation to the interview:
  • Unexpired passport with at least six months validity.
  • Contract with the media (even if you are a freelancer).
  • Credential from the association of journalists.

Journalists’ Relatives

Spouses and children under 21 may apply for the derivative I visa.