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question about time after visa issued, filing in Bangkok

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we are planning to get an IR1 for my wife, applying next month when visiting BKK (we live in Phuket, i'm on a long term visa for 10 years so i quality for DCF)

assuming it gets issued around July-August ish, that gives 6 months to go to US, so by about Jan.

thing is we want to go in April next year (can't go before) and i read if you ask at the time of application, they can extend that 6 month use by date. has anyone doene that? is the Bangkok office ok with that or do we need to wait to apply until mid year?

i asked the USCIS office directly already and they said to apply now. they didn't say anything about extending the validity though, which was the question i asked them.

i've asked the same question on thaivisa http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/807345-us-immigration-bkk-question-about-time-after-visa-issued/and got some good replies but no one specifically able to answer my question about extending the validity past 6mths

BTW, i read in here http://www.visajourney.com/content/i130guide1about a cover letter. is that necessary if applying for I-130 in person at USCIS in BKK?


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