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Posts Tagged ‘J-1 visa’

7th August 2013

The administration of this blog routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of the various US Embassies and US Consulates in the Southeast Asia region to provide a single source for such information to Americans who frequently travel in the region as well as foreign nationals who may be seeking services at such posts. The following is quoted directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Vientiane, Laos:


Date Day Holiday
January 1 Tuesday New Year’s Day
January 21 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
February 18 Monday Presidents’ Day
March 8 Friday International Women’s Day
April 15-17 Monday – Wednesday Lao New Year
May 1 Wednesday Lao Labor Day
May 27 Monday Memorial Day
July 4 Thursday Independence Day
September 2 Monday Labor Day
October 14 Monday Columbus Day
October 21 Monday Boat Racing Festival
November 11 Monday Veteran’s Day
November 18 Monday That Luang Festival
November 28 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
December 2 Monday Lao National Day
December 25 Wednesday Christmas Day

Substitution days. Please note: According to the prevailing practice in Laos, official holidays which fall on Saturday will be observed on the preceding Friday and Sunday on the following Monday.

Each year, a significant number of Americans travel to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad in order to request services such as Passport renewal, additional visa pages, notarization, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA), and much more. Those wishing to avail themselves of these services are encouraged to contact American Citizen Services at the US Embassy or US Consulate concerned. In most cases, Americans are well-advised to make an appointment prior to traveling to the post as some Embassies and Consulates require a prior appointment while others can process a request much more quickly if an appointment has been made before arrival at the post.

Foreign nationals, especially those wishing to apply for a US visa, are also occasionally in need of access to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. In circumstances where a US visa is being sought it is generally a requirement that the foreign national schedule an appointment for visa interview prior to traveling to the post. Applicants for a US Tourist Visa (B-2 visa), US Business Visa (B-1 visa), US Student Visa (F-1 visa), or an Exchange Worker Visa (J-1 visa) are usually interviewed by a Consular Officer with a Non-immigrant visa unit. Meanwhile, those seeking an IR-1 visa (immigrant relative visa), CR-1 visa (conditional immigrant visa for an immigrant relative), K-3 visa (non-immigrant spouse visa), or a K-1 visa (US fiance visa for the fiance or fiancee of an American Citizen) are usually required to undergo an interview before a Consular Officer under the Immigrant Visa Section of the Consular Post.

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31st July 2013

The administration of this blog periodically posts the holiday closing schedules of the various US Embassies and US Consulates in the Southeast Asia region in order to provide a level of convenience to Americans traveling in the area. The following holiday closing schedule was quoted directly from the official website of the US Embassy in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar):

Date Day U.S.* Burmese**
January 1 Tuesday New Year’s Day
January 4 Friday Independence Day
January 21 Monday Martin Luther King’s Birthday
February 12 Tuesday Union Day
February 18 Monday President’s Day
March 27 Wednesday Armed Forces Day
April 15 Monday THINGYAN (Water Festival)
April 16 Tuesday THINGYAN (Water Festival)
April 17 Wednesday Burmese New Year
May 1 Wednesday Workers’ Day
May 27 Monday Memorial Day
July 4 Thursday Independence Day
July 19 Friday Martyrs’ Day
July 22 Monday Full Moon of Waso
September 2 Monday Labor Day
October 14 Monday Columbus Day
November 11 Monday Veteran’s Day
November 27 Wednesday National Day
November 28 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
December 25 Wednesday Christmas Day Christmas Day

Many Americans traveling abroad find that it is necessary to travel to an American Embassy or Consulate in order to request services such as Passport renewal, adding of visa pages, notarial services, or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA). Many of these requests can be made at an American Citizen Services Section of the US Embassy or US Consulate-General.

Meanwhile, every year many foreign nationals from around the globe travel to American posts abroad to apply for visas and other travel documents granting permission to travel to the United States. Some visa seekers only wish to remain temporarily in the US on non-immigrant visas such as the B-1 visa (Business Visa), the B-2 visa (Tourist Visa), the F-1 visa (Student Visa), or the J-1 visa (Exchange worker visa). Generally, applications for the aforementioned visa categories can be made at a non-immigrant visa unit within the Consular Section of the US Embassy or US Consulate-General. Applicants are usually required to make an appointment in advance to apply for these types of visas.

Some foreign nationals wish to travel to the United States for business purposes. Depending upon the circumstances of the individual applying for admission to the USA, a business traveler may be issued a non-immigrant or an immigrant visa. The L-1 visa, the E-1 visa, the E-2 visa, the EB-5 visa, the EB-4 visa, the EB-3 visa, the EB-2 visa, the EB-1 visa, and the H-1B visa are all business visa categories commonly sought by foreign nationals. Generally, a business travel unit  within the Consular Section of a US Embassy or Consulate-General abroad is responsible for adjudicating such applications.

Some foreign nationals seek visa benefits based upon a relationship to a US Citizen or lawful permanent resident. One of the most commonly sought US family based visas is the immigrant visa based upon marriage to an American Citizen, these types of visas are generally classified as a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa. Fiancees of US Citizens may be eligible to apply for a K-1 visa (US fiance visa). Furthermore, those married to Americans sometimes seek a US K-3 visa. K-1 visas and K-3 visas are generally adjudicated by an Immigrant visa unit, notwithstanding the fact that they are non-immigrant visa categories as they are treated as immigrant visas since the applicants have immigrant intent.

For related information please see: US Immigration Asia.

 

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21st July 2013

In an effort to provide relevant information to travelers and expatriates who read this blog, the administration posts the holiday closing schedules for the various US Emabssies and US Consulates in the Southeast Asia region. The following is the holiday closing schedule for the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as posted on the official Embassy website:

Month Day Holiday Khmer/U.S.
January 1 Tuesday New Year’s Day U.S.
January 21 Monday Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. U.S.
February 18 Monday George Washington’s Birthday U.S.
March 8 Friday International Women’s Day CAM
April 15 Monday Khmer New Year’s Day CAM
April 16 Tuesday Khmer New Year’s Day CAM
May 13 Monday Birthday of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah​Boromneath NORODOM SIHAMONI, King of Cambodia CAM
May 14 Tuesday Birthday of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah BoromneathNORODOM SIHAMONI, King of Cambodia CAM
May 27 Monday Memorial Day U.S.
June 18 Tuesday Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen-Mother NORODOM MONINEATH SIHANOUK of Cambodia CAM
July 4 Thursday Independence Day U.S.
September 2 Monday Labor Day U.S.
October 3 Thursday Pchum Ben Day CAM
October 4 Friday Pchum Ben Day CAM
October 14 Monday Columbus Day U.S.
October 15 Tuesday National Day of Mourning for His Majesty King Father​Preah Bat Samdech NORODOM SIHANOUK CAM
November 11 Monday Veterans Day U.S.
November 18 Monday Water Festival CAM
November 28 Thursday Thanksgiving Day U.S.
December 25 Wednesday Christmas Day U.S.

Each year, many Americans travel to a US Embassy or US Consulate in an effort to obtain services such as US Passport renewal, notary service, additional US Passport pages, and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. Meanwhile, many foreign nationals from around the world must undergo Consular Processing in order to eventually be granted a US visa. Non-Immigrant visa units are tasked with adjudicating applications for non-immigrant visas such as the B-1/B-2 visa (US Tourist visa), F-1 visa (student visa), and the J-1 visa. Business visa units are responsible for the adjudication of business visa applications for travel documents such as the E-1 visa, the E-2 visa, the EB visa, the L-1 visa, the O-1 visa, and the H1-B visa. Finally, immigrant visa units have the responsibility for adjudicating applications for immigrant visas such as the IR-1 visa and the CR-1 visa. However, those seeking a K-1 visa (fiance visa) may also find themselves being interviewed by an officer with the immigrant visa unit as such travel documents are treated in much the same way as immigrant visas, notwithstanding the fact that K-1 visas are technically non-immigrant visas.

Those wishing to receive service from American Citizen Services at a US Embassy abroad or those wishing to have a visa application adjudictaed are encouraged to make an appointment online prior to traveling to the US Post.

For related information please see: US Embassy Thailand.

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2nd June 2011

Frequent readers of this web log may have taken note of the fact that the administration routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of the various US Missions in Asia as a courtesy to the public-at-large. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan:

DATE                                 DAY                           HOLIDAY

January 2*                 (US)  Sunday  New Year’s Day
January 16*               (US)  Sunday  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 15              (AF)  Tuesday  Liberation Day
February 16**           (AF)  Wednesday  Prophet’s Birthday
February 20*              (US)  Sunday  President’s Day
March 21                   (AF)  Monday  Nawrooz (Afghan New Year – 1390)
April 28                      (AF)  Thursday   Victory Day
May 29*                    (US)  Sunday  Memorial Day
July 3*                      (US)  Sunday  Independence Day
August 1**                (AF)  Monday  First Day or Ramadan
August 18***             (AF)  Thursday  Independence Day
Aug 31 – Sept 2**      (AF)  Wednesday – Friday Eid ul-Fitr
September 4*             (US)  Sunday  Labor Day
September 8***          (AF)  Thursday  Martyrdom of National Hero Day
October 9*                 (US)  Sunday  Columbus Day
November 6-8**          (AF)  Sunday – Tuesday Eid-e Qurban
November 10*             (US)  Thursday  Veteran’s Day
November 24               (US)  Thursday  Thanksgiving Day
December 6**             (AF)  Tuesday  10th of Muharram (Ashura)
December 25               (US)  Sunday  Christmas Day

Notes:

*    American holidays marked with an asterisk (*) are observed on a different day than in the US.

**  Afghan holidays marked with double asterisks (**) are based on the Islamic Calendar and depend on sightings of the moon.  As a holiday approaches, adjustments to this schedule may be made based on local practice and Afghan government announcements.

*** Afghan holidays marked with triple asterisks (***) are observed one day earlier.

Those wishing to visit the official homepage of the United States Embassy in Kabul are encouraged to click HERE.

It may sometimes prove necessary for an American Resident Abroad or an American traveling abroad to acquire documentation (US Passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Notarized affidavit, etc.) which can only be obtained from an American Citizen Services section of a US Embassy or US Consulate overseas. Americans seeking such documentation are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services Section with appropriate Consular jurisdiction.

Those seeking an American non-immigrant visa (such as a B-1 visa, B-2 visa, J-1 visa, or F-1 visa) are likely to see their visa application processed at a non-immigrant visa section of a US Embassy, US Consulate, or American Institute abroad. Meanwhile, those seeking an immigrant visa such as a CR-1 visa or IR-1 visa (for purposes of Consular Processing, the K-1 visa; although a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is treated in much the same way as immigrant visa categories for processing purposes) are likely to see their visa application processed by an Immigrant Visa Unit abroad. Immigrant visas such as those noted above are likely to only be granted pursuant to an initial adjudication of an immigration petition at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Those seeking visas such as the EB-5 visa or the L-1 visa are well advised to take note of the fact that it is unlikely that a visa application will be adjudicated by a US Post abroad until after an initial immigration petition is approved by USCIS.

For related information please see: Legal.

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24th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has made an announcement regarding issuance of US student visas to Iranian nationals. To quote directly from the Still4Hill blog:

I am very pleased to announce a big step forward in the Obama Administration’s support of the Iranian people. Under our old visa policy, Iranian students and exchange visitors were eligible for visas that lasted for only three months and could be used to enter the country just one time. As of today, that has changed. They are now eligible for two-year, multiple entry visas. This gives young Iranians the opportunity to return home for family events, to participate in internships, to travel outside the United States—and they won’t need to get a new visa every time. I’ve heard from many Iranian students and Iranian Americans that you wanted this change. So I want you to know that we are listening to your concerns. We want more dialogue and more exchange with those of you who are shaping Iran’s future. We want to be able to share with you what we think is great about America…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more about this story.

The US Student Visa, also referred to by the categorical title of F-1 visa, is a very popular travel document among foreign nationals who wish to travel from their home country to the United States in order to undertake a course of study. This visa category is akin to the US tourist visa (B-2 visa) insofar as both visas require the adjudication of a visa application at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. The US student visa is also a non-immigrant visa. It is important to note this fact because it implies that any application for such a visa must survive scrutiny pursuant to section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. Not all non-immigrant visa applications are scrutinized pursuant to 214(b), most notably the L-1 visa, but many popular categories require such scrutiny.

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act creates the rebuttable presumption that a non-immigrant visa applicant is actually an undisclosed intending immigrant to the United States. This presumption can only be overcome by the applicant providing affirmative proof that they have a strong incentive to leave the United States rather than remain. For many, overcoming such a presumption can be difficult, but it should not be viewed as impossible as many US non-immigrant visas are issued each year.

For related information please see: J-1 visa.

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25th February 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Department of State has proposed a final rule which would raise some of the costs and fees associated with the J-1 visa, a travel document designed for exchange visitors wishing to visit the United States of America. To quote directly from the Federal Register’s official website FederalRegister.gov:

§ 62.17 Fees and charges.

(a) Remittances. Fees prescribed within the framework of 31 U.S.C. 9701 must be submitted as directed by the Department and must be in the amount prescribed by law or regulation...

(b) Amounts of fees. The following fees are prescribed...

(1) For filing an application for program designation and/or redesignation (Form DS-3036)—$2,700.00…

(2) For filing an application for exchange visitor status changes (i.e., extension beyond the maximum duration, change of category, reinstatement, reinstatement-update, SEVIS status, ECFMG sponsorship authorization, and permission to issue)—$233.00.

The administration of this blog highly recommends that those interested in this issue click on the links above to read the Federal Register entry in its entirety.

Those who are unfamiliar with the J-1 visa should also note that this visa category is sometimes utilized by foreign nationals wishing to act as Au pairs in the United States of America.

Pursuant to the provisions of section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Consular Officers at every US Embassy or US Consulate abroad are required to make the presumption that the applicant for a non-immigrant visa is actually an intending immigrant unless the applicant can provide evidence to overcome this presumption. This triggers a “strong ties” vs. “weak ties” analysis in the mind of the interviewing Consular officer. During such an analysis, the Consular officer will weigh the ties that the applicant has to their home country and compare these with the applicant’s ties to the United States. If the offficer feels that the applicant has stronger ties to a country abroad than to the USA, then the visa will likely be granted.

In some cases, applicants for a United States visa are denied. This would seem to happen more frequently in non-immigrant visa cases than immigrant visa cases, but this can, at least partially, be attributed to the stringent analysis that all Consular Officers must make during the adjudication of certain non-immigrant visa applications. Should a visa be denied, then it may be possible to request reconsideration of that decision. That said, appealing visa denials, especially denials pursuant to section 214(b), is difficult, if not impossible, pursuant to the doctrine of Consular Non-Reviewability (sometimes referred to as Consular Absolutism). This doctrine states that, with exceptions in rare and highly extreme circumstances, a Consular Officer’s discretion regarding the issuance of a visa is virtually absolute.

Some have pondered whether the provisions of section 214(b) applies to applicants for a K-1 visa. In point of fact, although the K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa category similar to the J-1 visa; the K-1 visa applicant is not scrutinized subject to section 214(b) of the INA as the applicant for said US fiance visa is entitled to have immigrant intent at the time of the K-1 application.

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4th December 2010

Those who read this blog on a regular basis will no doubt realize that when new information regarding Consular processing comes out this administration tries to post it in an effort to provide insight to those processing a visa application through the relevant Post. It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Embassy in Manila, Philippines is changing their protocols for Immigrant visa processing. The following is a brief quotation from the official website of the US Embassy in Manila:

Effective December 1, 2010, various changes to immigrant visa services are as follows:

  • Immigrant visa applicants whose appointments have not been scheduled through the National Visa Center (NVC) (i.e., immigrant visa petitions approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services Manila) may request a visa appointment by visiting the U.S. Embassy in Manila’s Visa Information and Appointment Service online at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph or by calling (632) 982-5555. The Visa Information and Appointment Service is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Manila time), except on U.S. and Philippine holidays. Callers in the U.S. should call (214) 571-1600, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Callers are able to speak with an English-, Tagalog-, Ilocano- or Cebuano-speaking operator.
  • Visa Information and Appointment Service representatives can provide information on visa appointment-related inquiries only. Inquiries on a specific case may be directed to the Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit by e-mail at IVManilaReplies@state.gov or by fax at (632) 301-2591. Petitioners and applicants may also call the IV Inquiry line at (632) 301-2000, extension 5184 or 5185 during normal business hours.
  • Immigrant visa applicants who have been scheduled by the NVC for a visa appointment at the Embassy are required to visit the online appointment website to register their delivery address.
  • K visa applicants who have been notified by the Embassy to prepare for their interview, must pay the visa application fee of $350 before they can request a visa appointment via the online appointment website or the Visa Call Center

It should be noted that the above quotation does not encompass all of the information provided upon the official website. Those interested in obtaining further information are encouraged to correspond directly with either an American immigration attorney or the US Embassy in the Philippines.

The Consular Processing phase is usually the last phase of the US visa process for those with immigrant intent. Although in certain cases, a 221g refusal may be issued if the adjudicating Consular Officer feels that further documentation is required to process an application. Furthermore, a visa application may be denied if it is found that a legal grounds of inadmissibility exists in a given case. Under such circumstances, it may be possible to remedy the denial through use of an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility.

In American family based visa cases, the Immigrant Visa Unit of a US Consulate abroad is responsible for the adjudication of a visa application for those seeking a K1 visa, K3 visa, CR-1 visa, or an IR-1 visa.  Those seeking a non-immigrant visa such as a B1 visa (US Business Visa), B2 visa (US Tourist Visa), F1 visa (US Student Visa), or J1 visa (Cultural Exchange Visa) must interview with an adjudicator at the Non-immigrant visa unit of the Post with Consular jurisdiction to adjudicate a visa application.

For related information please see: US Embassy Philippines.

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9th January 2010

For a more detailed look at the J1 visa please see our main J1 visa page at: J1 visa Thailand. For further information about United States Immigration in general please see: US Visa Thailand.

The J1 Visa in 2010

As the new year begins this author is presented with an opportunity to re-explain the J1 visa and how it can be used by those Thais thinking of traveling to the United States of America as an Exchange Visitor. It is also an opportunity to briefly discuss some of the recently proposed changes to the J-1 visa rules and the future of the J1 visa in its current form.

For those who are not familiar with the J1 visa this visa category was designed to allow foreign nationals to come to the United States for limited employment purposes, specialized education, or cultural exchange. Some of those who use a J-1 visa are required to remain outside of the USA for statutorily specified period of time after their initial stay in the United States. These people are subject to what is called the Foreign Residence Requirement and cannot reenter the USA within 2 years after their initial J-1 visa without first obtaining a waiver.

Recently the United States Department of State proposed a rule that may have had a major impact upon those applying for a J1 visa. In a previous post on this blog, the issues surrounding this proposed rule were discussed, but the American Immigration Lawyers Association is now reporting that this proposed rule is being withdrawn by the American State Department. To quote directly from the AILA website:

“On December 23, 2009 the State Department published in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled Exchange Visitor Program– Secondary School Students. The Department revised existing regulations to provide greater specificity and clarity to sponsors of the Secondary School Student category with respect to the execution of sponsor oversight responsibilities under the exchange visitor program. This rule is being withdrawn because it was submitted prior to OMB completing review. The proposed rule is withdrawn in its entirety.”

Since this rule has been withdrawn there have been those who have noted that the regulations regarding the J-1 visa did not need to be modified. The proposed rule was withdrawn because it was promulgated before a required review period had elapsed. Therefore, there is good reason to believe that this proposed rule may be re-promulgated in the future. It remains to be seen how this will affect those applying for a J1 visa, but it would seem likely that an adoption of any new rule would, at least at first, create some confusion as the new regulations are implemented.

Since the J1 visa is a non-immigrant visa similar to a US tourist visa, it may be possible to apply for, and hopefully obtain, it at both a US Embassy or US Consulate. In Thailand, one could apply for this visa at either the US Consulate in Chiang Mai or the US Embassy in Bangkok depending upon where the applicant resides.

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10th July 2009

Many people around the globe long to travel to the United States. Thailand is no different as many Thai nationals seek entrance to the United States as either immigrants or non-immigrants. Those entering with non-immigrant status tend to be entering on a US tourist visa, US student visa, or an Exchange Visitor Visa. The Exchange Visitor Visa is often referred to by its Immigration category: the J1 visa. There are certain requirements for obtaining a J1 visa and it is a somewhat unique visa because it confers certain rights and restrictions not imposed upon non-immigrants entering the United States upon visas in other categories.

While the Department of Homeland Security is the primary agency with the mandate to facilitate the obtainment of exchange visitor visas, the Department delegates the task of exchange sponsorship to others, namely businesses, organizations, and other government agencies. Those organizations responsible for carrying out this Department of Homeland Security delegated mandate assist J1 applicants in entering the United states of America in order to engage in one of the following vocations:

1. Au pair (Nanny)

2. Camp Counselor

3. Student, college/university

4. Student, secondary

5. Government Visitor

6. International Visitor (reserved for U.S. Department of State use)

7. Alien physician

8. Professor

9. Research Scholar

10. Short-term Scholar

11. Specialist

12. Summer work/travel

13. Teacher

14. Trainee

For more information on each of these vocations please see the United States Department of State Website

Those wishing to engage in the above activity may be eligible to receive a J1 visa. That being said, documentation and interviews will most likely be required before the J-1 visa will be issued by the US Embassy in Thailand. As with any United States Visa, final visa application approval is provided by US State Department consular officers working at posts in Thailand. There are two diplomatic posts in Thailand which handle J1 visa petitions: the US Embassy in Bangkok (already mentioned) and the United States Consulate General in Chiang Mai.

As mentioned previously on this website, those seeking to bring a loved one to the United States on a J-1 visa because they wish to bypass comparatively longer processing times for family based visas should think twice before doing so. First of all, obtaining a non-immigrant visa when the applicant actually has immigrant intent is viewed by US officials as defrauding the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Further, obtaining and entering the USA on a J1 visa may be a bad tactical decision for those wishing to bypass K-1 visa or K-3 visa wait times because a J1 visa entrant may have a 2 year foreign residency requirement imposed upon them before they may reenter the United States. As a general rule, if one wishes to bring a loved one to the USA on a Fiance visa or Marriage visa, then it is best to use those designated visa categories rather than the J-1 visa.

(Please be aware that none of the above is intended for any use other than education. This is not legal advice. For legal advice contact a licensed US Attorney. No attorney-client relationship shall be created between the author and any reader of this posting.)

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