The Beast called 221g – Process and FAQs

In H1B Visa & Consulting, Immigration| Visas by Saurabh1183 Comments

Any person planning to travel to US has to go through an interview process at the US embassy/consulate, and as part of the interview process, the officer reviews all the submitted document and information and makes the call whether to approve or reject the visa. As part of the process, they often issue 221g when they want to do additional processing, and cannot make the decision at the time interview is being conducted.

Here, I will try to capture as much information on 221g to try to explain the process.

What is 221g?
When the consulate officer determines that additional processing is required before they can make the decision, they issue 221g.

When is 221g issued?
A person can be put under administrative processing, because of several reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:
1. Background check: This can happen if a person has a common muslim name, or is working in an industry like pharmaceutical, biotech, engineering etc that’s there on TAL (Technology Alert List); or has a name matching to an entry in alert list.
2. Employment check: This can happen if a person is working for a consulting company and the officer wants to ensure that the submitted client/project information is correct; or want to check if the employer maintains control over employee’s tasks and activities (employer-employee relationship).
3. PIMS: This can happen when the petition has not been updated at the KSC (Kentucky Service Center) and the officer puts the processing on hold until the information gets updated there.

What does the DOS do after 221g is issued?
Once your case is put under administrative processing, following steps happen:
1. A slip will be issued. Different color slips are issued for different reasons by different consulates. The slip will have the case number assigned to your stamping. The case number starts w/ the year of interview date and will be of the format 2012xxx-xxx-x or 2012xxx-xxx-xx (assuming the candidate went for interview in 2012).
2. If the consulate needs additional documents for the processing, they will ask you to submit the documents. These can be submitted electronically or at VFS drop-box. The issued slip will have information about the required documents and how to submit them. The processing will not start until all the documents have been submitted.
3. After this, you just need to sit back and wait for them to process your case.
4. Once the processing is complete and you are determined to be eligible for the visa, then you will be asked to submit the passport (if not already submitted) and they would stamp the visa in the passport. If you are not found to be eligible, then they would return the original documents (except for 797).

How long does it take to resolve?
There is no set timeline for 221g processing. It can take as little as a week, or as much as several months.

How to follow-up?
As per DOS “Before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 60 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.” One can follow-up in following ways:
1. Track your passport on VFS website
2. Track your case number on concerned consulate website. Note that not all cases can be tracked electronically, and each consulate has a different method of updating the cases.
3. Call VFS (contact information available on VFS website). Note that they will not provide any more meaningful information than what’s already available from (1) and (2)
4. Email concerned consulate (contact information available at respective consulate website). Note that they may not be very good in responding.
5. Email or call Department of State in Washington DC (contact information available on DOS website). Note that they will not provide any more meaningful information than what’s already available from (1) and (2), and may be short in conversation.
6. If you were working in US, then you can email your Senator and ask them for help. However, this should be done only if it has been pending for more than 60 days.

Can I expedite 221g processing?
There is no way to expedite the process.

Does delay mean rejection?
Not necessarily. Unfortunately, administrative processing takes time, and one needs to remain hopeful. If one has been asked to submit the passport, then that’s definitely a positive sign. However, if one has not been asked to submit the passport, then it’s not necessarily a negative sign.

Are there any alternates to this?
There are not many alternates, but the few ones available are:
1. Apply for visa in another category. This can be done as long as you are eligible for that visa category. One doesn’t need to withdraw the pending 221g application.
2. Apply for same visa but through another employer (applicable more to H-1 applicants). Based on your current petition, an employer (same or different) can file cap-exempt petition for you. Once it is approved you can re-appear for visa interview. Again, one doesn’t need to withdraw the pending 221g application.

What happens in case of rejection?
In case the stamping request is rejected after the processing:
1. Consulate will send the petition back to USCIS for reconsideration along w/ their comments
2. All your original documents will be returned to you, except for 797 which is sent to USCIS
3. Once USCIS receives the petition, they will send a notice of receipt to the petitioner
4. USCIS will review the petition (this could take 2-3 months) and either issue NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) or NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny). The petitioner will be given certain days (30-60 days, actual days given is mentioned in the NOIR/NOID) to respond.
5. Based on petitioner’s response, USCIS will finally reinstate the petition or deny it
6. If it’s reinstated, then USCIS will send the document to the concerned consulate, which in turn will get in touch w/ you to appear at the consulate.

[As I get more information on 221g and based on most commonly asked questions in the blog, I will continue to update this post]

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Comments ( 1,183 )

  1. Greg Hynson


    I’ve been dealing with a K-1 Visa issue for my wife since 2012.
    I’m a US citizen, my wife is Cambodian, we got married back in Dec, 2012.
    Our case was approved by the USCIS, DHS, DOJ, DOS, and the NVC.
    However, after my wife’s interview at the US Consulate in Phnom Penh, the consulate officer handed her a form 221(g) and stated that she is ineligible for a visa.
    He did not ask for her passport and stated that he needed additional advise from Washington D.C.
    Our case has now been placed under “Administrative Processing” and her documents have been sent to Washington.
    I’m a bit worried now, as we’ve also had a daughter in 2013, we filed a (CRBA, or Form FS-240) and the embassy in Cambodia did issue a passport for our daughter and she is considered a US Citizen.
    I’ve talked to an immigration attorney and this office stated that my that my wife is most likely going to be denied immigrant status. And he recommended that we start planning living arrangements for our daughter.
    My question is, is it legal that the consulate can accept our daughter as a US citizen, and then denied my wife’s visa, although multiple US departments already approved her status?

  2. H1b_221gWhite_21jan2016_sunil

    Hi saurabh,
    I am working in MNC in India. I got an offer from US company for client project.
    Got petition approved in 1st Dec 2015. Attended for visa stamping on 21jan2016. Interviewer told to wait in lobby.
    After 1 hour again called me and asked me to show all my documents.
    I have shown all documents related to my employement and client letter.

    They took my passport and copy of I797 and issued 221g white paper with tick mark on ADMINISTATOR PROCESISNG and said “it will take 7 working days to
    process, you can your case status in online by trakcking ID”.

    I gave resignation in India hoping that H1B as I have to serve 90days notice period. Now I am serving notice period which is only 30 days left from today.
    I dont no what to do..I understood from some forums that there is SLA for 221g, it might take 1 month to 2 years.
    I spoke to my employer they are telling to wait for some time. Consulate didn’t ask any supporting document till now.
    Is there any way to followup the application.

    1. administrator


      Unfortunately, like you read online, there is no SLA and no good way to track it. As it has passed 60 day mark, your attorney can follow-up w/ DHS in US, but they may or may not provide any meaningful information.

      Do you know if they did a verification w/ the client?

      1. H1b_221gWhite_21jan2016_sunil

        Hi Saurabh

        Thanks for your reply. Till now I didn’t get any details from my client/employer regarding verification. Really don’t know what to do..This kills so much. Till now all was good from starting to final approval. I thought of flying as some people said H1B visa stamping is easy to get .

      2. H1b_221gWhite_21jan2016_sunil

        Hi Saurabh,

        For me consular issued 221g which is having check mark on Additional administrative processing.

        What is the difference between Administrative processing and Additional administrative processing ??
        In ustraveldocs I read that Administrative processing will resolve in 60 days and Additional administrative processing will took more time it seems.
        Please help on this.

        1. administrator


          The difference is just semantics. Both are in Admin processing. Although they have mentioned 60 days, it is not an SLA and can take much longer than that.

  3. Priya

    I have applied for my parents visitor visa in New Delhi consulate. And have some conerns about the interview.
    1. In DS160 for my father’s previous employer I have mentioned Rubber Factory, which is no more operational since 1999 and he runs a business since then. Does Rubber Factory comes in TAL alert list? Is there any need to worry about this 15 year old work history?
    2. What if they give him 221 slip in the interview ? Can he ask for his passport back at the consulate counter itself as he has plans of travelling to Germany next moth.

    1. administrator


      1. It is not possible to know what industries fall under TAL, but I don’t think this does

      2. Yes, he can request the passport back stating this reason. BTW, there is also a possibility that they say that visa is approved and then put it in administrative processing later.

      1. Priya

        Thanks for the response Saurabh.
        Do you know the process to request to return passport in case consulate put it in administrative processing later?
        Also in your opinion how frequent they put parents visitor’s visa case in administrative processing, when all the sponsor and supporting documents are up-to the mark and the applicant has strong ties with the home country.

        1. administrator


          You will have to contact the consulate and ask them about it. Different consulates may follow different process, but most likely they will ask for a letter to be submitted.

          If everything is in order, then it should be fine. Usually they put it in administrative processing b/c of security concerns, social ties and financial ties. Looks like you have everything covered.

  4. AGB

    My interview is completed on Dec 21 2015. Till today USCIS did not contact the client or employer . does it means it will take more time? still showing as admin process

    1. administrator

      As there is no set SLA, they can decide to contact client later. You just need to wait it out.

    2. SR

      I was stranded for 4 months due to the 221g citing additional information was required despite working for a US based employer(not a consulting firm) and having all possible documentation that was requested. The only additional questions asked were my height and how many passports I held. The seemingly arbitrary nature of the issuance of 221g makes it even more difficult for some of us law abiding tax paying hard working individuals. Unfortunately the pink 221g form states do not contact us before 90 days have passed else it could result in additional delays. Due to the very nature of the H1 visa, few employers will tend to retain an employee who has no definite SLA on visa processing and cannot even give a ballpark estimate on when he/she would return to the US to work. Although the need for some such cases is required for security, the 8/10 cases where clearance is obtained and the visa issued, the life of the stranded person gets significantly altered in ways one can only imagine. One of the end results seen is that people shun leaving the US even if there is a death in the family fearing the possibility that they might not return due to a denied visa although they may have received approvals several times in the past. This Heisenberg’s unpredictability to visa processing must end and I hope someone heeds the plight of such law abiding wayfarers or considers a reformed process.

      1. administrator

        In my experience, pink slips are issued in case of TAL (Technology Alert List). Do you have a common muslim name or work in a specialized industry like pharma, biotech etc?

  5. EVANS

    Mine took 3months n finally got my visa. But u should bother them always to enquire about ur administrative status. If they return ur passport, they may wait from u n see if ure serious about ur travel to the USA.

    1. Alex3

      My wife went for interview in ghana on 30th November 2015 and thegive her white slip like she can not have visa

      1. Alex3

        And they didn’t tell her any thing else when I check it it’s say administration process any ideas

      2. Faith

        Hello im in the states my husband is in his country (Ghana ). He had his interview in July 2015, which he was given a white paper with no instructions on what to do next. This is very frustrating and stressful. His country held on to our documents all this time, now its December they finally has sent them to the uscis for further investigation. Non sense to me. I was reading a blog and it stated that Ghana, Nigeria, China and a few other countries are on high alert to issue visa. My husband and i have been together for over 7 yrs and married for 2 in a half yrs. They refused him 3 times before i decided to go over and get married. I dont won’t to waste ur time but to encourage someone else to hold on and pray for directions and understanding cause for an american we dont understand why. If you wanted to do wrong then they would give you a visa but if you do things the right then they send you thru hell but we know who has the last say so. Alex i want you to tell your wife everyday you love her and here waiting for her arrival. Stay encourage.

        1. Alex3

          Thanks for your advice and encouragement because we’re so stranded, we love our self, we like to have our kids I can’t let my to pregnant and stay alone in ghana where I’m in America please s

      3. administrator

        Looks like that she has been issued 221g. There is nothing you can do except to wait. Call the US consulate in your country to get an update, or see if they allow tracking status online on the consulate website.

  6. 221g

    Does any one have idea on whether document request in221g would take more time or if generic additional admin processing would require more time . ?

    1. administrator


      It is not possible to give a definite answer, but in my experience generic 221g get resolved quickly. So the fastest would be trivial ones like PIMS update, followed by TAL, followed by employer/client/project related, followed by namesecurity check.

  7. 221g

    My interview was on Dec 18, and mine is an in-house project. VO asked me basic questions and then he asked for my employer tax documents which I didnt have.Later he issued 221g and marked it as additional administrative processing required and returned my passport. If any of you had similar experience or any idea on when there is a chance to receive response from them.

    1. AGB


      For me also they have raised the blue slip 221g in chennai consulate.
      They took i797 original and several project documents and LCA and petition as well. Please update here your status once status changed.

          1. AGB

            Min 2 weeks it will take. we can not say how much it will take it is pure luck.

        1. AGB

          Hi 221g,
          for your case any client verification or any moment happened as both of our cases completed 30 days after interview.

          1. 221g

            Nothing at all . its still the same. My employer was not contacted. What about u

  8. Taqiyya

    Hi saurab,
    Thanx a lot for ur reply…but already for b1 i had administrative process n waited for several months..almost a year…so will that help me now to speed up my process as i went through same process before itself…plz help

    1. administrator

      Old B-1 was 7 years ago. I can’t say for sure, but I think they would still go through the usual timeframe. As this may be a security check, no one knows for sure what their process and policy is. One can only guess and remain helpful.

  9. Taqiyya


    I had my h1b intrview in chennai consulate on 9th dec intrview went well bt finally gt blue slip for additional administrative process..during my b1 visa intrview also i got administrative process on 2008 for that they took 1 yr to complete the process with my old passport…will it speed up my current administrative process??..plz give your expert suggestions…

    1. administrator

      If it is security check due to a common Muslim name, then it can take some time. There is no set SLA.

  10. Krishna

    Hi All,

    Need your help. I came for my marriage. Today went along with my wife to get H1 and H4 stamping. Interview went well, interviewer asked my petition. Gave my petition to him. He told from my side everything is ok. But he could not find the petition in system. Finally he gave a 221 G blue slip saying need some more administrative processing time.

    How much time will it take for them to respond? How are my chances of visa getting approved ?

    Appreciate someone help and guidance.

    Thanks !

    1. administrator

      They look for petition in PIMS. If its not there, 221g is issued while it gets updated in PIMS. Follow-up w/ attorney if they know that petition was updated in PIMS.

  11. Rajeev

    I attended VISA interview for H1 b. After answering all questions, he asked my CV and passport. Then he gave 221(g) blue color slip, mentioning “further administrative process”. VO retained my CV and passport. Its been a week and the status is same “Administrative processing”.

    Don’t know, what will happen. Anybody with the similar case ?


    1. Sunny

      This July when I went for my interview it was a similar experience. It took 3 weeks. what helps is calling the Dept. of State phone number in Washington DC which might speed things up or may not. I am a Chemical Engineer working in the Biotechnology industry, so I was in the Technology alert List (TAL). The worst part is they wont let you know. What could also help (I have heard, but not sure if it works) if your employer could call the DOS and followup with them regarding the status.

      There are only a certain few steps we can do, other than waiting patiently for things to work out. Good Luck!!

  12. Rajesh

    I got H1B approval in MAY 2014 and i went to visa stamping in OCT 2014 to NEWDELHI….they dint give any slips just they asked to send some documents along with the passport (for 221g) i sent all the documents with the passport in Hyderabd on DEC 2014.
    From then it is showing as Administarative processing….now it is OCT 2015(coming within hrs) still it is showing as AP….its been 9 months…..called to customer care many times….no use…and they told that they can escalate the case only once a month….wat to do….this waiting period really hurts… approval but still pending….and my passport is also with them only….
    Any suggestions please …..what to do just to wait? does this happen to anyone?

    1. rocky

      Don’t worry Rajesh. One of my friend got approval after 1 year 2 months. For him also same they kept passport 1 year 2 months.

      1. Rajesh

        Thank you so much….rocky for ur reply….this is reallly a soothing answer to me…this shouldnt happen to anyone……its already 10 months am stilll waiting for my passport….this AP processs is very frustrating….

  13. Shruthi

    Hi Friends,

    I had applied for B1/B2 visa at chennai consulate. Officer asked couple of questions which i answered in confidence. He asked about my purpose of visit, place that i would go, what i would do their, my work nature, return date, educational qualifications and i answered all of them. He checked my invite letter as well. Later he said there is no confusion from my side but still my passport will go into further administration process and then the will issue the visa and they took the passport. They asked me to mail the invite letter and resume which i did very same day. Its been 3 week now and status has not been changed at all. When i mailed the they replied me saying it is still under process. I am now worried about my next steps.
    CEAC shows Case creation date: 25 Aug 2015
    Case updated date : 26 Aug 2015.

    1. Venkat

      Hey Shruthi,

      Its the same case with me too. I have applied for B1/B2 at Montreal and its been 3 weeks as of today. How long did the whole process take ? and when did you see the first status update in CEAC?

        1. Arun

          Hi Pawan
          I have applied for B1/ B2 visa. They have asked me to submit resume and other documents. Can you just tell me the way of attaching documents and send to their mail.

  14. sasharma

    At the time of interview i was told that i will be issued visa and was surprised when i was returned the passport with a white slip later at visa collection centre after 4 days where it said that my visa was refused under 221g. I was supposed to attend the conference in a month.They have asked the same docs that i had with me at the time of interview. I have deposited all docs in a e mailas asked by them,should i deposit the passport at the centre or should i wait till i hear from them

    1. Grace

      Don’t ask anything just submit what they want but review it carefully, don’t submit your passport unit it is advised by the US consulate

  15. Sandeep Kakade

    Madras consulate on July 2 for H1B stamping (first time-non profit Univ.) and received blue slip 221g-other-admin processing. As of July 17 (night-IST), it still shows admin processing. VO asked for few questions regarding nature of work and educational qualifications and then requested for resume and offer letter and kept the passport with him. I asked him how long will the processing take and he said dont know, and dont make any travels plans. Also mentioned “look at the bright side, Iam still keeping your passport”. I said Thank You and have a good Day.

    Problem is my new PI has indicated they want me by Aug 3rd otherwise I can kiss the job’s arse goodbye!! I have left behind my car and belongings in storage and have been burning cash for the same.

    Background Info:
    I have already worked for another non-profit on H1B for 3 years as Lab Manager. 2nd position title is Assistant Research Scientist. (Non-IT, Chemical Engineering/Biomedical Nanotechnology field)

    Travelled to the India in 2010 as F-1 student for stamping in Madras and admin processing during my Doctorate. took around 4 weeks to get my passport back with the VISA.

    In 2010 my SEVIS ID was untraceable and University sent me the new I-20 in less than 2 days and after submitting to Consulate took close to 4 weeks!!

    Any idea what might be happening?

    1. vanaja

      im in the same boat ..i did my under graduation in biotechnology and gng to persue masters in bioinformatics..v dont have any option except ‘wait’

    2. Sowmya


      Were you renewing your H1B visa? Did you opt for the drop box? Also, when reserving a date at the consulate, did you answer the questions “Were you denied a visa before?” – Yes or No.


  16. ajay


    I had applied of 2014 h1b cap and attended interview in dubai consulate in May2015 in which I got yellow paper. After 1month of interview got email asking for additional documents but my employer is not able to provide the client documents as the process took so long due to which clients rejects to provide additional document. Asking me to withdraw 221G and to attend interview taking another client documents and says my h1b application would be 6 years valid to apply with any client or employer without going for lottery system. My question is , does my h1b 221g withdraw ed application valid for 6 years to re apply with another client without attending lottery system.

    Kindly some one please clarify me.


    1. Anamika

      I am not sure if it’s open for 6 yrs but Yes, I know that d following year U can apply for H1B with a different employer n not go thru d lottery system. U can fix up n go for a Visa interview with d required docs.

  17. Shiva

    I had my f1 visa interview last week and Vo said visa is approved, but after 1 week also the status is”administrative process” and at the interview i was not given any slip or insruction, they just took my passport. can any one help me on this

    1. abhay

      dont worry, even i faced the same problem.
      i called customer care and sent few mails.
      I received it couple of days back.

  18. Niky

    I don’t have received 221G letter; they have took my passport and 10 days past of my interview. still my status show Administrative processing. What does this means?

    1. Gnan

      My spouse along with my 4 year old son went for stamping(H4) in Chennai, India a week ago. The interview was short and they informed her that she will get a message to collect the passport in 3 days, but when I checked the status, it is showing as administrative processing. She was also not given any 221 g slip. Not sure whats going on? Please help.

      1. Gnan

        The status changed as Issued in exactly 2 weeks and the passport is also stamped by God’s grace.

        1. abhay

          Hey congrats
          When u had visa interview? How many days it took? Did u follow any procedure or report this problem anywhere?

  19. mady

    hello!i had an b1/b2 visa interview on 2 june at delhi.Vo asked me to submit my passport at a counter and asked to submit additional documents..they took my passport and given me 221g.
    can anybody tell me collecting passport is possitive sign?I tried check on us website it is showing your visa application is currently under processing.

  20. Ravi

    I was given 221g in 2011 and I have submitted all the requested docs and never heard back from consulate. Does this mean its rejected. If I go to VISA now, should I say my visa was rejected once earlier while filling ds 160.

  21. Anandan

    I have attended H1B interview in London along with my wife and kid on 29th Apr 2015. Given 221g white slip with out asking any extra document. The VO told me that there is an issue with my employer and cant provide the visa. I checked the site but still my batch number not appearing, will it take time to update there?.

    1. sairam

      hi anandan,
      Do u have any update , mine is also experience in london


    i attended for a f1 visa on 26 march at hyd with npu
    vo gave 221g form and returned back my passport
    wen i checked the status it is like admin processing and he didnt told to submit any docs wat should i do should i reapply again give ur valuable sugestioins plsz

    1. Ankita

      Hi, I also attended the interview recently and faced same problem, I got 221g blue slip from chennai consulate and VO returned my Passport. Never said any documents to submit.

      Did you get any updates?

    2. mohammed wasim

      hi Mohammed mahmood
      Did you get your Visa.
      Please reply, as i have got the same issue.

  23. satish

    hello everyone,

    I got 221g on 17dec2015 still its show AP…contacted but they are replying the same. Can anyone guide me how long will it take to complete this process. Im vexed nowadays, waiting period really sucks.. just praying to complete the process soon…

    1. Rahul

      Hello Satish ,

      Any luck on your 221g i am also still waiting attended interview on 16th jan 2015

      1. godwin

        221(g) is something else,I have being waiting and praying since 2014 sept after my case was sent to uscis.. thank God and now I have being given another date for interview and I should come with more prove…but interview date is next year 2016 Feb. ..nothing spoil,I believe God will see me true this time. .

    2. mahesh

      please be calm, I had visa interview for h1b in sept 2014 and I got email to submit passport in April 2015. so be hopeful and wait for their email.

      1. pdes

        Hi Mahesh, Mine is same case. I had interview in Nov-15, got email to submit passport on 6th Apr and passport is still with consulate for more than 10 days. Visa status shows in Admin processing. Did you get your passport back.

    3. satish

      Still the same …its been 120days plus …no mails from consulate or call.when i checked they are telling to wait…losing hope guys….shall i call again because i have couple of times

    4. Helper

      Bahut time lagda hai Satish…1 month,6months,1 years ja 2years…..kuch nhi keh sakte…ke administration proceeding par depend krta hai…I have solution of this problem…

  24. Arun

    Hello experts,

    I attended H1b Visa Interview 13th feb 2015 @ chennai office along with my wife and 8 month old daughter. VO asked me few general Questions like “Company details, Client name, project description,salary and he asked to mywife ” How long have you been married and her education details.

    After all he asked me to submit all documents. I submitted LCA, I797 , i129 , Client letter, counsilate letter,offer letter , company and client contract details, agrement etc. After all he has returned all doc’s and kept all 3 passport with Him and issued sblue slip (221g) marked in check box “your application required additional admin process before a final decision can be made”.

    I asked him do i need to submit any documents. But he told me not required ,the process wont take much time. but will take few weeks and passport will deliver to your drop address.

    Now after 3 hrs, when i check my status online it says under admin process..

    Can some one help me to know. how long this will take and what process it require to complete.

    appreciate your response

    thanks in advance

    1. Kannan

      Took 55 days for me to get it. Can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. Not to scare you. That’s the reality.

      1. Mary Ann pablo

        Hi kannan,may I ask what is the problem of your papers. I petitioned my mom after her interview 2 days later they send us a letter and we got this section 221(g)and they asking for more proof of relationship and my mom old nbi clearance. Thank you

    2. sudhakar

      I got 221g on Nov 28th 2015… and it got approve Feb 18th 2014.. They the document to USCIS… and then they send it back to local US consulates.. Based on Queue it delay. Normally USCIS will complete the process in couple week.. Only local consulate will take more time.. Chennai and kolkata has more number application in 221g -admin process… No worries mostly it will cleared after client response to USCIS… only problem i had is secure the job and other thing like apartment…

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