Foreign media representatives could qualify for I visas to work in Pennsylvania or other U.S. states. Individuals who generally qualify for these nonimmigrant visas are reporters, editors, film crew members and similar members of the media. However, they must meet certain eligibility requirements.
To be granted an I nonimmigrant visa, an individual has to be a member of a foreign media outlet, perform tasks that are vital to the media outlet’s function and work in a home office in that foreign country. A U.S. embassy consular officer determines which tasks qualify for the employment visa. The individual also has to be entering the United States only to work in this profession. If the individual has a spouse or a child under 21, they are allowed to join the I nonimmigrant individual upon the submission and approval of their application.
The process begins with the individual submitting an I visa application with the U.S. consulate or embassy in the individual’s country of permanent residence, even if that country is engaged in the Visa Waiver Program. The foreign media representative cannot try to enter the United States and work without the I nonimmigrant visa. Upon entry into the United States, a Customs and Border Protection officer stamps Form I-94, which contains the duration of stay allowed for the foreign media representative. I nonimmigrant visa holders generally do not have to apply for an extension if they do not change media outlets or employers.
Some foreign media representatives might not be sure about whether their tasks are essential to the operations of the organization they serve. Before applying, they could talk to the U.S. embassy about what activities qualify. If their families will be traveling with them and they need help with the application process, they could ask immigration lawyers for assistance.