Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Media (I) visas are for representatives of the foreign media, including members of the press, radio, film, and print industries, traveling temporarily to the United States to work in their profession engaged in informational or educational media activities, essential to the foreign media function. Activities in the United States while on a media (I) visa must be for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country.
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) serves as the liaison between the Department of State and U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad on visa matters. Please visit CA's website to learn more about the media (I) and other temporary employment visas.
The United States has no central office (e.g. Ministry of Information) responsible for issuing of media credentials. In general, media credentialing is administered by the respective press and/or media relations office of the host agency and/or organization. Foreign Press Center (FPC) Media Relations Officers will do their best to collect helpful information and provide guidance on credentialing requirements for U.S. government agencies, private organizations, and/or high-profile events whenever possible. However, protocol and security factors prevent FPC officials from intervening in the media credentialing procedures of other organizations. Below please find links to information on media credentialing policies and processes for various offices in the Washington, DC and New York areas.
FOREIGN PRESS CENTERS MEDIA CREDENTIALS
The Foreign Press Centers (FPC) issue its own press credential that is recognized by various organizations in the area and allows access to FPC facilities and services in Washington, DC and New York, NY. The FPC credential is typically valid for three years and renewable at the end of that period for members of the media on continuing assignment in the United States.
- Foreign Press Centers Media Credential Application Guidelines (Washington, DC)
- Foreign Press Centers Media Credential Application Guidelines (New York, NY)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE MEDIA ACCESS
Please visit the U.S. Department of State's Office of Press Relations website for detailed information on how to access the U.S. Department of State for media events, including the daily press briefing. the Office of Press Relations' website also provides instructions on applying for "hard pass" access to the Department of State.
CONGRESSIONAL MEDIA CREDENTIALS
The Periodical Press Gallery is unique in that the administrative duty of credentialing its correspondents rotates between the House and Senate offices. This responsibility rotates every four years. The House Periodical Press Gallery is currently in charge of administering credentials and the process is governed by a standard set of rules and regulations. Journalists must meet all criteria of the rules and operate within the regulations in order to obtain admission into the Gallery. The Periodical Press Gallery issues credentials to reports covering the daily sessions of Congress.
Detailed information on how to obtain media credentials to Congress can be found on the Senate and House of Representatives websites.
NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT
The New York Police Department (NYPD) issues press passes to journalists who frequently need to cross police lines as part of their professional duties. Detailed information and instructions on how to apply for an NYPD press pass can be found on their website.
THE UNITED NATIONS
United Nations credentials are needed for access to the United Nations headquarters in New York. Detailed information on how to apply for UN media credentials can be found on their website.
-Foreign Press Center Media Credential Application Guidelines (Washington, DC)
-Washington FPC Credential Application Form [188 Kb]
-Foreign Press Centers Media Credential Application Guidelines (New York, NY)