Social and political issues in Florida and around the country are followed closely by people all over the world, and foreign media companies must send journalists and their support staff to America if they wish to cover these stories effectively. Conventional employment-based visas may not be appropriate for the work performed by media representatives, so immigration authorities provide the I visa to allow journalists and television crews to complete their assignments.
Applications for this nonimmigrant visa are made at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate located in the home country of the media representative, and a consular official must be convinced that the individual concerned performs essential duties. Media representatives are required to obtain an I visa to work in America even if they are citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, and they may be denied entry into the United States by immigration officials if they fail to do so.
If a journalist’s Form I-94 does not indicate a specific end date for their stay in the United States, they will generally be permitted to remain in the country until they have completed their assignment. Spouses and children under the age of 21 may apply for nonimmigrant visas to join a journalist in America, but they are not permitted to work during their stay.
The I visa shows that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has a somewhat flexible approach to this type of matter, but the rules are strict and even minor errors could lead to an application being denied. An experienced immigration attorney can explain the specific requirements of the various programs to companies that hope to employ foreign workers. An attorney can outline the documentation required and the time frame involved.