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Consular  

PIO/OCI Card

PIO Card Notification

MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
New Delhi, the 30th March, 1999
PIO CARD SCHEME
F.NO.26011/4/98-IC.I.

1. Short title and commencement :

i. This scheme may be called the scheme for issuance of Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card).
ii. It shall come into force with effect from 31st March,1999.

2. Definition - In this scheme, unless the context otherwise requires :-
a. "Indian Mission" means the Embassy of India/ High Commission of India/ Indian Consulate in a foreign country.
b. "Persons of Indian Origin" means a foreign citizen (not being a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries as may be specified by the Central Government from time to time) if,
i. He/she at any time held an Indian passport; or
ii. he/she or either of his/her parents or grand parents or great grand parents was born in and permanently resident in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 and other territories that became part of India, thereafter provided neither was at any time a citizen of any of the aforesaid countriesas referred to in 2(b) above; or
iii. he/she is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin covered under (I) or (ii) above.
c. "PIO Card" means a card issued under this scheme.

3. Form of application for issue/ renewal of a PIO Card :-
An application for issue/renewal of a PIO card shall be made in the prescribed form and shall be accompanied by documentary evidence to show that the applicant is a person of Indian origin as defined.

4. Authority to which application is to be made :
i. An application for issue of a PIO card shall be made to an Indian mission in the country where the applicant is ordinarily resident.
ii. Applicants already in India on long-term visa (more than one year) shall make the application for the issue of a PIO card to the following authorities

Those residing in India
Delhi - Foreigners Regional Registration Officer
Hans Bhawan, I.P. Estate
New Delhi-110002 Tel. 0091-11-331 9489 Fax. 375 5183


Mumbai - Foreigners Regional Registration Officer
Annexe II, Commissioner of Police
Craw Ford Market,
Mumbai-400001 Tel. 0091-22-262 1169 Fax. 262 0721

Calcutta - Foreigners Regional Registration Officer
237, Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Road
Calcutta- 700020 Tel. 0091-33-247 3301 Fax. 247 0549

Chennai - Chief Immigration Officer
Bureau of Immigration
Shastri Bhawan Annexe
No.26, Haddows Road
Chennai- 600006 Tel. 0091-44-827 7036 Fax. 827 7036

Those residing in Indian cities other than above :-
Joint Secretary (Foreigners),
Ministry of Home Affairs, Ist floor
Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market
New Delhi- 110003 Tel. 0091-11-469 3334 Fax. 462 1543

5. Authority to grant a PIO card:
The authority to grant a PIO card shall be an officer in an Indian Mission notified in for the purpose or the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India or the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta or Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai.

6. Validity of PIO Card:
A PIO Card shall be valid for a period of Fifteen years subject to the validity of the passport of the applicant.

7. Facilities to be extended to a PIO Card holder :
i. A PIO Card holder shall not require a visa to visit India.
ii. A PIO Card holder will be exempted from the requirement of registration if his stay in India does not exceed 180 days.
iii. In the event of continuous stay in India of the PIO Card holder exceeding 180 days, he/she shall have to get himself/ herself registered within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned Foreigners Registration Officer at District Headquarters.
iv. A PIO Card holder shall enjoy parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the latter in the economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/ plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.

8. Cancellation of PIO Card :
The Central Government may, be order, cancel the PIO Card, if it is satisfied that:
i. The PIO Card was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact; or
ii. The PIO Card holder has shown himself by act of speech to be disaffected towards the constitution of India and other laws of India; or
iii. The PIO Card holder is a citizen or subject of any country at war with, or committing external aggression against India; or of any other country assisting the country at war with, or committing such aggression against India; or
iv. The PIO Card holder has been sentenced in India for indulging in acts of terrorism, smuggling of narcotics, arms, ammunitions etc. or has been sentenced for committing an offense punishable with imprisonment upto one year or fine upto rupees ten thousand; or
v. It is not conducive to the public interest that the person should continue to hold a PIO Card.
No reasons shall be assigned for withdrawal of the Card.

Instructions for filling-up PIO Cards
1. Please enclose all relevant documents substantiating your claim as a person of Indian origin. (Please also see cols. 13&14)
2. Attach 4 recent passport size photographs.

NOTE: Furnishing of false information will result in summary rejection of the application. Acceptance of application does not confer any right on the applicant to PIO Card.
 
Facilities to PIO card holder

1. A PIO Card holder shall not require a visa to visit India for a period of 15 years.
2. A PIO Card holder will be exempted from the requirement of registration if his stay in India does not exceed 180 days.
3. In the event of continous stay in India of the PIO Card holder exceeding 180 days, he/she shall have to get himself/herself registered within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned Foreigners Registration Officer at District Headquarters.
4. A PIO Card holder shall enjoy parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the latter in the economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.

5. PIO card holder can also take up employment in India without seeking any separate prior permission from the Government, unless otherwise specifically provided by other Ministries/Department (eg. Department of Company Affairs’ approval is required for board level appointments, etc).
 
Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Schme
Embassy of India,
Emperyal’s International Business Centre,
y.Emre, Mir 2/1, P.O.Box No.80,
Ashgabat, Turkministan.

Eligibility criteria
Application form and procedure
CHECKLIST FOR OCI APPLICATION
Procedure for granting registration
OCI registration for PIO card holders
Cancellation of OCI registration
Benefits to OCI
Benefits an OCI is not entitled to
Help Desk

To respond to a longstanding demand of persons of Indian origin who are now nationals of other countries, the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India had announced, on the occasion  of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2005, the Government of India's intention to grant dual citizenship to such nationals of certain countries, the laws  of which permit such a facility for their citizens.  This has now been given legal backing by the Indian Parliament with the approval of Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2005.  The Scheme is called "Overseas Citizenship of India".

2. Overseas Citizenship of India

Under the said scheme, a Registration Certificate, like an Indian passport though in a different colour, will be issued to the applicant.

A multiple entry, multi-purpose OCI 'U' (Universal) visa sticker will be pasted on the applicant's foreign passport.

These two documents will have the applicant's photograph, and all the necessary security features.

3. Eligibility criteria:

A foreign national, who
- was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26.01.1950, or
- was a citizen of India on or at any time after 26.01.1950, or

- belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947,
and his/her children and grandchildren, are eligible for registration as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws.
The minor children of such persons are also eligible for OCI.

N.B. Minor children are NOT eligible for OCI in case both parents are Indian nationals

However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.

4. Application form and procedure:

a) A family consisting of two spouses and up to two minor children can apply in the same Form i.e. Form XIX.

The form can be downloaded from the Ministry of Home Affairs website at www.mha.nic.in.

b) The following documents should be enclosed with each application:

     1.  5 additional stamp size ( 35mm x 35mm) photographs of each applicant.

     2.  Proof of the foreign citizenship of each applicant, such
          as Citizenship Certificate and a passport.

     3.  Evidence of self or parent(s) or grandparent(s)

(i) having been eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of commencement of the Constitution of India on 26th January, 1950; or
(ii) belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or
(iii) being a citizen of India on or after 26th January, 1950.

As proof thereof, the following documents should be submitted:-
          (i) Original Indian passport and 2 copies thereof (or)
          (ii) Any other proof acceptable to the Consular Officer.

In the case of children born in Turkmenistan, if the applicant is claiming eligibility on the basis of the  Indian citizenship of his/her parent(s)/ grandparent(s), he/she will also have to submit proof of his/her relationship with such a person ( such as birth certificate mentioning name of parent). Please note that all the minors who cannot sign their applications must put their thumb impressions (right for boys and left for the girls) in the space provided.
 
4.  Original and two copies of work/stay permit issued by the Turkmenistan Immigration authorities for those who earlier had an Indian passport. If original has been lost, a duplicate may be obtained from Turkmenistan authorities. 
 
 5.  Persons of Indian origin, born in Turkmenistan and applying for OCI on the basis of their parent(s)'s initial Indian citizenship, should produce their parent(s)'s  work/stay permit(s). If original has been lost, a duplicate may be obtained from Turkmenistan authorities.
 
6.    PIO card holders should bring along the original of their PIO card, and submit two copies of the same with their application. 

The applicant should bring their Turkmenistan passport and the receipt at the time of pickup.

If the applicant is in India, he/she can apply to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Amritsar or Chief Immigration Officer (CHIO) Chennai or to the Under Secretary, Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Jaisalmer House, 26 Mansingh Road, New Delhi -110011.

After checking all the relevant details, the Embassy of India, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan will issue an acknowledgement, and the number mentioned thereon (the file number) or the reference number can be used for online status enquiry at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) website www.mha.nic.in.

5. CHECKLIST FOR OCI APPLICATION

The Following Original Documents Are Required
(i) Turkmenistan Passport
(ii) Previous Indian Passport
(iii) Stay/Work Permit
(iv) Citizenship Certificate
(v) Detailed Birth Certificate (in case of birth outside India)
(vi) Five (5) photographs (identical)
(vii) Two sets of Application Forms (duly filled in)
(viii) Fees for OCI Card is US $ 275/- for each applicant. (US $ 25/- only in case of PIO Card holders)

Please Make Two Sets Of Applications As Under:

(I) Form "A" of the main applicant
(II) Form "A" of the spouse (if applicable)
(III) Form "A" of the first child (if applicable)
(IV) Form "A" of the second child (if applicable)
(V) Form "B" duly signed by applicant and spouse
(VI) Photocopies of Turkmenistan Passport, Indian Passport, Stay/Permit and Citizenship Certificate of the first applicant along with the same for spouse and children and Detailed Birth certificate of children, if born in Turkmenistan.
(VII) In case of minor children, please use right thumb impression for boys and left thumb impression for girls
(VIII) Paste (DO NOT STAPLE) one photograph on each form and attach three additional photographs on the left top corner of the form.

Please Mention Date And Method Of Acquiring Turkmenistan Citizenship At Column No. 19 Of The Application

Please note that incomplete applications will not be accepted


6. Procedure for granting registration:

After preliminary scrutiny, if there is no adverse information available against the applicant, the Indian Mission/Post shall register a person as OCI within 15 days of application and the case shall be referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), New Delhi for post verification of the antecedents of the applicant. This process takes approximately ONE TO TWO MONTHS. If during the post verification, any adverse information comes to the knowledge of the MHA, the registration as OCI already granted by the Indian Mission/Post shall be cancelled by an order under section 7 D of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

After preliminary scrutiny, if there is any adverse information against the applicant, prior approval of MHA, New Delhi shall be required before grant of registration. MHA may approve or reject the grant of registration within 90 days from the date of the receipt of the application. If the grant of registration as OCI is approved by MHA, the Indian Mission/Post shall register the person as OCI.

If the application is filed in India , registration shall be granted by MHA by following the above procedure.

After grant of registration, a registration certificate in the prescribed format will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose life long OCI 'U' visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the application.

7. OCI registration for PIO card holders:

PIO card holders who are otherwise eligible for registration as OCI may apply in the same Form i.e. Form XIX and they will be considered for grant of registration in the same manner as other applicants. PIO card holders will have to pay a fee of  US $ 25/- instead of US $ 275/- for a normal applicant. A PIO card holder will have to surrender his/her PIO card after issuance of acceptance of the application and before the grant of the OCI registration certificate/visa.

If the application is rejected, US $ 250/- will be returned to the applicant, after deducting  US 25/- as processing fees.

8. OCI registration for persons who have applied on the earlier prescribed application form:

All such applications will be considered for grant of OCI on the same lines as in para 3 above without seeking fresh application and fees.


9. Cancellation of OCI registration:

If it is found that the registration as an OCI was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact, or that the registered OCI has shown disaffection towards the Constitution of India or comes under any of the provisions of section 7D of the Citizenship Act, the registration of such person will not only be cancelled forthwith but he/she will also be blacklisted for entry into India.

10. Benefits to OCI:

The following benefits will accrue to an OCI:

(i) A multiple entry, multi-purpose lifelong visa for visiting India.
(ii) Exemption from registration with the local police authorities for any length of stay in India.
(iii) Parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields, except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

Any other benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

11. Benefits an OCI is not entitled to:

The OCI is not entitled

-       to vote;

-       to be a member of a Legislative Assembly or of a Legislative Council or of Government of India;

-       to hold Indian constitutional posts such as that of the President, Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court etc.

        He/she cannot normally hold employment in the Government.

12. Help Desk

For any clarification/query on the scheme, please visit the website www.mha.nic.in or contact Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Jaisalmer House, 26 Mansingh Road , New Delhi-110011.


13. Jurisdiction

All Consular matters in Turkmenistan pertaining to India come under the jurisdiction of Embassy of India, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme

1. Who is eligible to apply?  (i) Turkmenistan Passport

A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.

2. Who was eligible to become Citizen of India on 26.01.1950?

Any person who or either of whose parents or any of whose grand-parents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted), and who was ordinarily residing in any country outside India was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950.

3. Which territories became part of India after 15.08.1947 and from what date?

The territories, which became part of India after 15.08.1947 are:
      (i) Sikkim from 26.04.1975
      (ii) Pondicherry from 16.08.1962
      (iii) Dadra & Nagar Haveli from 11.08.1961
      (iv) Goa, Daman and Diu from 20.12.1961

4. Can the spouse of the eligible person apply for OCI?

Yes, if he/she is eligible in his/her own capacity.

5. Can the children of parents, one of whom is eligible for OCI, apply for OCI?

Yes.

6. In what form should a person apply for OCI and where are they available?

A family of two spouses and up to 2 minor children can apply in the same form i.e. Form XIX, which can be downloaded from the website www.mha.nic.in.

7. Can the application form be filled and submitted on line?

Only Part A of the application form can be filled in online. Thereafter, the printout of Part A, and the duly filled in Part B,  have to be submitted by hand/mail to the Indian Mission/Post.

8. What documents have to be attached with the application?

The following documents shall be enclosed with each application:

All applicants should bring Original documents i.e. Turkmenistan & Indian passports etc. which will be returned to them after verifying.

(1) Five additional stamp size photographs for each applicant.
(2) Proof of citizenship of each applicant, such as  passport.

(3) Evidence of self or parents or grand parents

(a) being eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of commencement of the Constitution; or
(b) belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or
(c) being a citizen of India on or after 26th January, 1950.

These are :-
(i) Copy of the passport (or)
(ii) Copy of the domicile certificate issued by the Competent authority (or)
(iii) Any other proof acceptable to the Consular Officer

(4) Evidence of relationship as parent/grand parent, if their Indian origin is
claimed as basis for grant of OCI.
(5) Proof of fee payment US $ 275/- for each applicant (US $ 25/- for each PIO card holder).
(6) PIO card holders must also submit a copy of their PIO card.

9. What documents would qualify for “Any other proof” for evidence of self or parents or grand parents being eligible for grant of OCI?

Any documentary evidence by which the officer equivalent to Under Secretary to the Government of India in the Indian Mission/Post can diligently arrive at the decision.

10. How many copies of application have to be submitted?

Applications have to be submitted in duplicate.

11. Whether applicant/s have to go in person to submit the application/s?

Yes.

12. Do the applicant (s) have to take oath before a Consular Officer of the Indian Mission/Post?

No. The earlier provision in this regard has been done away with.

13. Where should the application be submitted?

To the Indian Mission/ Post of the country of citizenship of the applicant. If the applicant is not in the country of citizenship, to the Indian Mission/Post of the country where he is ordinarily residing. If the applicant is in India, to the FRRO Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Amritsar or to CHIO, Chennai or to the Under Secretary, Citizenship section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Jaisalmer House, 26, Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011.

14. Can a person apply in the country where he is ordinarily residing?

Yes.

15. What are the consequences of furnishing wrong information or suppressing material information?

All the applications will be subject to pre or post enquiry depending on whether any adverse information is available or not. If the Government comes to the knowledge that any false information was furnished or material information was suppressed, the registration as OCI already granted shall be cancelled by an order under section 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The persons will also be blacklisted banning his/her entry into India.

16. What is the fee for application for registration as OCI?

US $ 275/- for each applicant. In case of PIO card holder, US $ 25/- for each applicant.

17. What is the time taken for registration as OCI?

Within 15 days of the application, if there is no adverse information available against the applicant. If any adverse information is available against the applicant, the decision to grant or otherwise is taken within 4 months.

18. If the registration as OCI is not granted, what amount will be refunded?

An amount of US $ 250/- shall be refunded, if registration is refused.
US $ 25/- is the processing fees, which is non-refundable.

19. Can a PIO cardholder apply?

Yes, provided he/she is otherwise eligible for grant of OCI like any other applicant.

20. Will the PIO Cardholder be granted OCI registration gratis?

No. He/she has to make a payment of US $ 25/- along with the application.

21. Will the PIO card be honoured till the time they are valid even after the acquisition of OCI?

No. The PIO card will have to be surrendered to the Indian Mission/MHA at the time of the grant of the OCI registration certificate and the OCI 'U' visa sticker.

22. What will be issued after registration as OCI?

A Registration Certificate, like the Indian passport in appearance,  will be issued,  and a multiple entry, multi-purpose OCI 'U’ visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the applicant. For this purpose, the applicant has to send the original foreign passport to the Indian Mission/Post after receipt of the acceptance letter/OCI Registration Certificate.

23. Will a separate OCI passport be issued?

No.

24. Will a duplicate Certificate of Registration as OCI be issued?

Yes. For this purpose, an application has to be made to the Indian Mission/Post with evidence for loss of certificate. In case of a mutilated/damaged certificate,  an application has to be made enclosing the damaged document, along with payment of a fee of US $ 25/-.

The applications in both cases have to be made to the same Indian Mission/ Post which issued the certificate.

25. Will a new OCI visa sticker be issued on the new foreign passport after the expiry of the old passport?

Yes. On payment of a requisite fee, a new OCI 'U' visa sticker will be issued. However, the applicant can continue to carry the old passport wherein OCI 'U' visa sticker was pasted along with new passport for visiting India without seeking a new visa, as the visa is for lifelong.

26. Will the applicant lose his citizenship after registering as OCI?

No. As only citizens of countries which allows dual citizenship under their local laws in some form or the other are eligible for applying for registration as OCIs, the question of  their losing their foreign citizenship does not arise.

27. Can a person holding OCI travel to protected area/restricted area without permission?

No. He/she will be required to seek Protected Area Permit (PAP)/ Restricted Area Permit (RAP) for such visits.

28. Would the Indian civil/criminal laws be applicable to persons registered as OCI?

Yes. For the period the OCI is living in India.

29. Can a person registered as OCI be granted Indian citizenship?

Yes. As per the provisions of section 5(1) (g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, a person who is registered as OCI for 5 years and is residing in India for 1 year out of the above 5 years, is eligible to apply for Indian Citizenship.

30. Will OCI be granted gratis to certain categories of people?

No.

31. Can OCI be granted to foreign nationals who are not eligible for OCI, but married to persons who are eligible for OCI?

No.

32. Will foreign-born children of PIOs be eligible to become OCI?

Yes, provided one of the parents is eligible to become OCI.

33. What are the benefits of OCI?

Following benefits will be allowed to OCI:
(a) Multi-purpose, multiple entry, lifelong visa for visiting India.
(b) Exemption from registration with local

police authority for any length of stay in India.
(c) Parity with NRIs in respect of economic, financial and education fields, except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.

34. Will any other benefit be granted to OCI?

Any other benefits to OCI will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

35. Whether the OCI is entitled to voting rights?

No.

36. Whether the OCI is entitled to hold a constitutional post in India?

No.

37. Whether the OCI is entitled to hold Government posts in India?

No, except for the posts specified by an order by the Central Government.

38. If a person is already holding more than one nationality, can he / she apply for OCI?

Yes, as long as the local laws of at least one of the countries allow dual citizenship in some form or other.

39. What are the advantages of OCI when compared to PIO cardholders?

Apart from the fact that OCI confers on the recipient the status of an Indian overseas citizen,
(i) an  OCI is entitled to life long visa free travel to India whereas for a PIO cardholder, it is only for 15 years.
(ii) a PIO cardholder is required to register with the local Police authority for stays exceeding 180 days in India on any single visit,  whereas an OCI is exempted from registration with the Police authority for any length of stay in India.


40. Will an OCI be entitled to apply for and obtain a normal Indian passport which is given to a citizen of India?

No. An Indian Passport is given only to an Indian citizen.

41. Whether nationals of Commonwealth countries are eligible for OCI?

Yes, if they fulfill the eligibility criteria.

42. Can a person renounce OCI?

Yes. He/she has to declare intention of renunciation in Form XXII to the Indian Mission/Post where OCI registration was granted. After receipt of the declaration, the Indian Mission/Post shall issue an acknowledgement in Form XXII A.

43. Do the applicants who have applied on the earlier prescribed application form have to apply again in the new form?

No. All such applications will be considered for registration as OCI without seeking fresh application and fee.

The LIP certificate system for the Indian origin foreigners holding international passports has come into force since 30.3.1999.

The holders of the LIP certificate have the right to visa-free entrance to India during the LIP certificate validity i.e. within 15 years. However, it is required for him to have the valid national passport along with the LIP certificate.

The holder of the LIP certificate is released from registration if his long stay does not exceed 180 days. In case if his long stay exceeds 180 days he is required to be registered in the relevant Regional Office of Registration of Foreign Citizens (RОRFC) within 30 days upon expiration of 180 days.

The payment for issue of the LUP certificate is   15,000 rupees but this amount is paid in US dollars (at the exchange rate on that day).

In order to receive information on the LIP certificate or to obtain it we request to apply to the Consular Department of the Embassy of India in Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, from 16.00 to 17.00 at week-days.

 
 
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