How to Meet the EB-1 Visa Eligibility Requirements

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Picture of Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Securing an EB-1 visa is a prestigious accomplishment reserved for individuals who have reached the pinnacle of their fields. Think of it as the path to unlocking immense professional opportunities and a fulfilling future in the United States.

However, the journey towards this coveted prize is not without its challenges. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sets a high bar when it comes to the criteria for qualifying for an EB-1 visa, demanding expertise that surpasses national or even international acclaim.

But don’t worry, even with the steep requirements, securing an EB-1 visa may be within your reach. With the right strategy and robust evidence tailored to your accomplishments, many qualified candidates can make a compelling case.

Additionally, with expert guidance to help prepare a persuasive application, this path can still lead to your desired green card. Keep reading to discover the essentials of going through this process smoothly and successfully. Even for extraordinary candidates, the proper support can make all the difference.

Key Takeaways

  • Navigating an EB-1 Visa Application Requires Meeting the Criteria With Substantial Evidence of One’s Extraordinary Ability
  • Professionals Often Need Legal Guidance to Showcase Their Credentials Effectively and Align Their Applications With USCIS Standards
  • Detailed Preparation and Proactive Response to Requests for Evidence Are Crucial for a Successful EB-1 Visa Petition
  • Highlighting High-Impact Achievements and Securing Peer Endorsements Are Significant Factors in Demonstrating Exceptional Talent
  • Consistency and Clarity in Documenting an Executive or Managerial Role Can Make a Significant Difference in the EB-1 Visa Process

Understanding EB-1 Visa Extraordinary Ability Criteria

Qualifying for an EB-1 visa is no small feat. This prestigious green card is reserved only for the small percentage of individuals who demonstrated the highest levels of expertise and achievement.

The criteria focus is on sustaining acclaim and recognition at the national or global stage. Simply having talent or potential is not enough, the record of accomplishments must objectively place you at the very top of your field.

Applying for an EB-1A visa involves A Detailed Breakdown of Eligibility Requirements and a sincere self-assessment to determine if the achievements align with the stringent standards. Your achievements must withstand peer review and be recognized by experts in the field.

While the EB-1 standards are high, they are not impossible to satisfy with the proper qualifications and evidence. The key is taking an analytical approach to align your career milestones and awards with the eligibility framework defined by the USCIS.

Moreover, demonstrating extraordinary ability often involves showcasing not only achievements but also the economic impact, such as a high wage or significant contribution to tax revenue. It requires both ambition and objectivity. 

The goal is not to boast about accolades but to make an evidence-based case that your contributions have reached extraordinary heights. Candidates will also undergo biometrics to enhance security measures.

Define “Extraordinary Ability” According to USCIS

The criteria set forth by the USCIS are rigorous, but not impossible to meet with the right qualifications. But what exactly does it mean to demonstrate “extraordinary ability” when applying for an EB-1 visa?

At its core, extraordinary ability is defined as reaching expertise and acclaim that places you at the top of your field. Whether you are a scientist making groundbreaking discoveries, an athlete with international titles, or a business leader with proven executive success, your achievements must set you apart from your peers.

The key is having sustained national or international recognition in your domain. It is established through proof of awards, memberships in elite associations, high salaries or revenue, critical roles in distinguished groups, and other demonstrations of significant impact.

While prestigious honors like Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, and Olympic Medals can help, there are many ways to prove extraordinary ability, even without such awards. Your overall record of accomplishments and endorsements must show you are among the small percentage at the peak of your occupation.

Breakdown of the EB-1A Eligibility Requirements

Navigating the Eligibility Requirements for an EB-1A visa starts with recognizing the strict criteria set by USCIS: an individual must showcase exceptional success and praise in their professional field. It often means closely reviewing one’s work history, achievements, and the recognition they’ve gotten from peers or institutions.

  • Experience matters: Applicants are often seasoned experts with years of high-level experience in their field.
  • Recognition is key: A pattern of acclaimed work, notable awards, and a substantial salary indicative of one’s status in the profession is essential.
  • Legal benchmarks must be met: The applicant’s record should align with the legal standards for extraordinary ability, as established by USCIS.

A potential applicant should provide concrete proof of their standing to satisfy these requirements. It could include major awards like Nobel Prizes, influential publications like box office successes, or memberships in groups that demand outstanding achievement.

Additionally, meeting the eligibility requirements may also require providing proof of substantial financial impact, such as a high wage, and adherence to legal tax benchmarks.

Lastly, it’s important to note that the process is legally binding, so working with an experienced immigration attorney or law firm can improve the chance of a good result. These professionals can help foreign nationals prepare a strong request, explain the complexity of the visa bulletin clearly, manage the interview, adjustment of status processes, and secure a valid work permit for the intended stay.

Requirements That Need to be Satisfied to Qualify For EB-1A Visa

There are two main pathways for demonstrating the extraordinary ability needed to be eligible for an EB-1A visa:

The first is through a Single, Monumental Achievement

  • This must be a highly prestigious, globally recognized honor such as a Nobel Prize, Academy Award, or Olympic Gold Medal.
  • Awards of this caliber act as definitive proof of extraordinary talent and ability at the peak of one’s field.
  • If an applicant cannot claim such a major award, they must then meet at least 3 of the following evidentiary criteria.

Evidentiary Criteria

For those without a singular monumental honor, eligibility can be established by providing documentation for at least 3 of the following:

  • Prizes or awards of excellence from national or global organizations.
  • Membership in elite professional associations with strict entry requirements.
  • Published books, articles, or interviews in major media about one’s work.
  • Participation as a judge or reviewer of others’ work in one’s professional domain.
  • Original contributions and innovations that had a significant impact.
  • Authoring articles in prestigious industry publications or journals.
  • Having one’s creative or athletic achievements showcased at notable venues.
  • Holding critical leadership roles in organizations with outstanding reputations.
  • Possessing a substantially higher salary compared to peers.
  • Quantitative proof of commercial success such as sales or box office figures.

Additional Notes

  • If certain criteria do not apply, comparable alternatives can be submitted
  • Those in unconventional fields should explain why the criteria were excluded
  • The goal is to show sustained acclaim and recognition at the peak of one’s occupation

Assess Your Achievements Against the Standard Criteria

When reviewing one’s eligibility for the EB-1 Visa, closely examining how personal achievements stack up against USCIS criteria is fundamental. It’s about showing measurable success – whether groundbreaking research or leadership within a top organization.

Every award, every peer review, and every instance of praise becomes a puzzle piece in the complex picture of extraordinary ability. The validity of each accomplishment is considered; a patent may be valued the same as a Nobel Peace Prize or Pulitzer Prize, depending on the field and situation.

CriteriaDescriptionExamples of Evidence
Level of ExpertiseApplicants should be at the pinnacle of their fields.Prestigious awards, and leading roles in successful projects.
RecognitionSubstantial acclaim at a national or international level is necessary.Featured publications, and endorsements by experts.
ImpactYour work must have significantly pushed the envelope in your field.Patents, exclusive memberships, high-profile contracts.

Additionally, detailed preparation often involves securing peer review from respected figures in the field. An evaluation goes beyond just tallying victories and honors; the critical part is the influence of the individual’s work. It involves examining the broader impact and how it establishes an undisputed reputation within a specialized field.

Collecting Evidence to Support Your Extraordinary Ability

Putting together a case for an EB-1 visa requires proof that shows your outstanding skill and influence. Hopeful applicants gather relevant documents like major publications, recommendation letters from industry leaders, and evidence of a high salary showing their elevated status within their professional community.

Praise from important groups in an applicant’s field can become the cornerstone of their request. It might be speaking at big industry conferences, leading projects with far-reaching impact, or being part of elite programs that show extraordinary talent and expertise.

Consistency in one’s career path is also examined closely; past performance hints about future success. So foreign nationals seeking U.S. citizenship would combine their history of influential work with a forward-looking vision that suggests they’ll keep contributing in significant ways, supported by documents like contracts and financial statements.

Documenting a Strong Case for EB-1 Outstanding Researchers

Getting into the EB-1 Visa arena as a researcher means strategically showing your scholarly contributions.

Preparing for this high-stakes check of talent and hard work is not just about the amount of research you’ve done; it’s about highlighting the rich mix of breakthroughs and recognitions that have made a lasting mark on your field.

Researchers aiming to meet these strict requirements must skillfully identify their key achievements, prepare the necessary documents precisely, and spotlight the awards and honors that show their exceptional status in the global scientific community.

Identifying Key Achievements in Research

For researchers trying for an EB-1 Visa, identifying key achievements isn’t just listing every blog or project they’ve done. It’s pinpointing those big moments where their work truly shifted things, like a discovery that received lots of acclaim or a publication that has become a seminal piece in its field.

A researcher’s key achievements often speak through the citations and uses of their work, where their influence is visible and measurable. A study with a high citation count or a theory that’s become a standard reference shows respect and acknowledgment from the broader research community, reinforcing the researcher’s claim of extraordinary ability.

In the types of qualifying evidence, not all research is equal. Breakthroughs that pave the way for more study or are directly used in practice tend to stand out in the review. Key achievements include those that have led to successful ownership or have otherwise translated into real-world uses that show the researcher’s exceptional contribution to their field.

Preparing the Necessary Documentation

Successfully applying for an EB-1 visa as a researcher requires meticulous records and documentation that demonstrates extraordinary ability. Beyond gathering publications, applicants should compile evidence that crafts a compelling story of their seminal achievements and impact.

Key Documents Needed

  1. Curriculum Vitae detailing career achievements and milestones
  2. Passport copies for applicant and family
  3. Copies of major publications and research
  4. Documentation of honors, awards, and other recognition
  5. Proof of commanding a high salary relative to peers
  6. Contracts and job offers showing continuing work in the U.S.
  7. Letters of endorsement from respected authorities in one’s field

Letters of Recommendation

  • These letters from experts explain the importance and influence of the applicant’s work.
  • They provide context on how the applicant’s achievements have advanced the field.
  • Experts should be selected early in the application process.
  • Letters complement but do not replace firsthand documentation of accomplishments.

Researchers should compile all relevant documents that showcase their extraordinary contributions to the field. It includes original published material, evidence of ownership, and letters of endorsement from authoritative figures within their academic and professional circles.

Each piece of evidence works together to craft a story of outstanding achievement. Quality often matters more than quantity; a few seminal works with far-reaching influence carry more weight than a long list of lesser-known publications.

Evidence TypePurposeImpact
Published ResearchTo demonstrate thought leadership and scholarly impact.Measured through citations and adoption in the field.
Patent DocumentationTo prove innovation and practical application of research.Contributions to industry standards and technological advancement.
Endorsement LettersTo validate the researchers’ achievements and reputation.Expert validation can endorse the significance of the researcher’s work.

Highlighting Recognition and Awards Relevant to Your Field

Recognitions and awards serve as markers of a researcher’s extraordinary ability in their field. These accolades aren’t just nice to have; they are important signs of respect from peers that make the EB-1 Visa application more eligible for approval.

Highlighting awards relevant to the field creates a story of success and influence that helps immigration officers understand the depth and breadth of an applicant’s impact. It’s essential that awards are not just listed but eloquently connected to how they show the applicant’s elite standing and core contributions:

  1. Outline the prestige of each award or honor within the field.
  2. Connect awards to specific milestones or advancements that have emerged from the researcher’s work.
  3. Emphasize any consistent patterns of recognition that point to an ongoing, impactful career.

Ultimately, how these awards resonate with peers and within the larger context of the field can demonstrate the applicant’s extraordinary ability. Researchers underscore a story of distinction and eminent expertise relevant to their EB-1 petition by presenting these recognitions.

Clear Steps to Prove EB-1 Managerial or Executive Role

Figuring out the EB-1 Visa eligibility requirements for a managerial or executive role means unraveling what defines leadership within a company.

Managers and executives eyeing the EB-1 route need to map out a clear picture of the significant influence they have—their ability to make crucial decisions and steer the organizational direction.

For those entering the EB-1 Visa spotlight, the path starts with showing qualifications that lift them above routine supervisory roles, documenting evidence of top-level leadership, and clearly outlining the hierarchy that cements their executive or managerial status.

It’s a path that involves meticulous attention to detail and a structured approach to validate one’s high-tier position.

Understanding What Qualifies as a Managerial Position

Identifying a managerial position within EB-1 Visa eligibility is about more than just job titles. It depends on the actual duties and level of authority of individuals within a company. A managerial role means a person can make significant decisions and oversee the work of other employees or departments.

For immigration officials to see a role as managerial, the job must include overseeing a key part or function of the association. It goes beyond everyday supervision to include strategic influence on the overall direction of company operations. Managers are expected to set goals, outline strategies, make high-level decisions, and impact the company’s success or failure.

Recognizing the defining traits of a managerial role is essential when preparing documentation for an EB-1 Visa. To show you have a managerial role, you need to clearly explain your daily duties and how much authority you have in the company.

Job AspectManagerial QualificationEvidence of Managerial Role
Decision-Making AuthorityCapacity to make significant choices affecting the organization’s directionDocumentation of strategic decisions and policies implemented
Responsibility for Overseeing EmployeesDirecting the work of the company’s personnel or departmentsOrganizational charts, job descriptions outlining supervisory duties
Influence on Company OperationsDesigning or influencing significant operational or strategic company goalsEvidence of strategic planning involvement, company-wide policy development

Evidence Needed to Demonstrate Executive Capacity

Valid proof is required to demonstrate that someone holds a top executive role when applying for the EB-1 Visa. Legal rules for executive roles are specific, and you must show clear evidence of your high-ranking status within a group.

The proof should shine a light on your direct involvement in policy decisions and operations at the executive level:

  1. Contracts showing the applicant’s signature as a key decision-maker in corporate agreements.
  2. Meeting minutes or reports that display the applicant’s leadership in setting agendas or leading discussions.
  3. Performance reviews or annual reports that reflect the executive’s impact on the company’s success.

It is crucial to showcase your strategic decision-making power through documentation that illustrates your significant contribution to the company’s growth and direction. Your role should represent the apex of leadership, directing multiple layers of management or overseeing a major subdivision of the company.

Outlining the Structure of Your Company

The easiest way to show you’re a boss for the EB-1 Visa? Draw a clear picture of your company’s organizational chart. Immigration officers need to see where you fit in the boss chain, not just some random company’s organizational structure.

This helps immigration authorities understand your authoritative position within the hierarchy. Detailing the structure is essential, showing where you fit into the broader company framework.

Outlining the group’s layout includes describing the different levels of management, the departments, and knowledge of how they connect. Moreover, showing the applicant’s direct reports and the scope of their managerial duties solidifies the legitimacy of their role:

  1. Illustrate the reporting lines and the flow of decision-making.
  2. Highlight the tiers of management and their respective functions.
  3. Show the depth and breadth of your oversight within the company.

Beyond the roles and relationships charted in an organizational diagram, evidence might consist of job descriptions, company records, and personnel lists confirming the managerial or executive essence of your position.

How to Make The EB-1 Application Process Run Smoothly

Embarking on the EB-1 Visa journey resembles navigating uncharted waters, demanding precision and keen awareness at every step. The pivotal starting point is the completion of Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition, setting the stage for pursuing this distinguished immigration status.

Before proceeding with the EB-1 Visa application, it’s essential to review and understand the privacy policy outlined by USCIS. Understanding the privacy policy implications is crucial when submitting sensitive information during the EB-1 Visa application.

Initiating the process involves crafting a comprehensive and meticulously accurate EB-1 Visa application—a foundational step for those aiming to showcase their extraordinary abilities.

Additionally, anticipating and preparing for potential Requests for Evidence (RFEs) is a crucial aspect of the journey. This preparation works in strengthening your case with the appropriate supporting documents.

Success in the U.S. employment-based immigration endeavor requires strategic positioning and arming yourself with all the necessary tools for a seamless journey toward achievement.

Getting Started With Form I-140, Immigrant Petition

Kicking off an EB-1 Visa application centers around the important Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for alien workers. This is where hopeful people lay out their qualifications for the EB-1 category. Filling out this form correctly is the first step that starts the process.

Accuracy is crucial when completing Form I-140, as even small mistakes can lead to delays or denials. Applicants must carefully gather the needed documents that match the evidence requested by USCIS – a task that requires close attention to detail and thoroughness. Below are additional reasons a Form I-140 is needed:

  • It introduces the applicant’s credentials and achievements.
  • It serves as a legal statement of the petitioner’s request for immigration status.
  • It outlines the extraordinary abilities or qualifications held by the individual.

Ensuring a Complete and Error-Free EB-1 Visa Application

To avoid problems that may lead to delayed processing or flat-out denial, a thorough review of the EB-1 Visa application is essential. The individual must make sure all sections are complete, accurate, and match the clarity of their professional story. It’s a meticulous task, aligning personal history with legal criteria, and one mistake could cost time and additional fees.

Paying attention to the details of the application forms and supporting documents can make the difference between approval and setback. Applicants should back up their claims with strong, relevant evidence that clearly shows their eligibility under USCIS guidelines:

  1. Double-check claimed achievements against supporting documents.
  2. Confirm priority dates, names, and details are consistent across all materials.
  3. Make sure all legal forms are filled out as instructed to avoid confusion.

Above all, the applicant should review the full submission from a big-picture view, considering how each part contributes to the compelling story they need to tell. Nothing should be left to chance, and if unsure, consulting legal experts can be a wise investment to ensure the EB-1 Visa application is protected against all potential issues.

Preparing for Potential RFEs (Requests for Evidence)

When faced with a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS, it’s essential to respond precisely. An RFE isn’t a denial; rather, it’s an invitation to provide more detailed information or extra documentation to support the EB-1 Visa application. Staying vigilant and responding efficiently can turn this hurdle into a powerful chance to strengthen the case for eligibility.

A proactive mindset goes a long way when dealing with RFEs. Making a checklist ahead of time, based on common document requests, puts applicants ahead. This includes the readiness to supply anything from detailed job descriptions to more evidence of extraordinary ability or achievements that might need a fuller demonstration.

Legal counsel from an immigration lawyer can prove invaluable when navigating RFEs. Their experience and knowledge of immigration law allow them to interpret the subtleties of an RFE and guide the applicant in collecting and presenting the right evidence. Working with an expert ensures not just accuracy but strategic structuring of the response.

Aspect of RFEAction StepsOutcomes
Understanding the RFEAnalyze the request and prepare a methodical approach to gathering information.A clear understanding of USCIS concerns and a structured response plan.
Document CollectionCompile all requested documents and additional supporting evidence.Comprehensive and relevant evidence is ready for submission.
Response PreparationGather evidence logically and write a compelling cover letter.A well-documented package that addresses all points raised in the RFE.

Tips for EB-1 Visa Applications: The Do’s and Don’ts

Figuring out the EB-1 Visa requirements feels like solving a tricky game. You gotta fit all the pieces just right to complete the picture and get your green card. But hey, just like any complicated thing, there are smart moves to help you win and mistakes that can trip you up.

So, let’s talk about the dos and don’ts of filing an EB-1 Visa application. We’ll explore the things people do that make things smooth sailing, as well as the common mistakes that have stopped others in their tracks.

Do’s: Best Practices for a Successful EB-1 Application

  • Start by really knowing the rules. What makes someone “extraordinary” in your field? Gather proof that shows off your exceptional talents in a clear way, so it tells the whole story of your outstanding achievements and how you’ve rocked your field.
  • Get great letters of recommendation from people in your field who know you well and think you’re awesome. Don’t just ask for praise, ask them for specific examples of how your work has made a big difference and continues to do so.
  • Put together a portfolio that shows everyone for real how cool your career has been. Include high-impact projects, leadership roles, and anything else that shows you’re on an extraordinary career path.

Don’ts: Common Pitfalls to Avoid in the Application Process

  • Starting an EB-1 Visa application without knowing what you need is like missing stuff you need for a game—it can stop it before it even takes off. Take the time to fully understand what they’re asking for and make sure you have everything.
  • Don’t try to make yourself sound better than you are. Immigration officers are good at spotting the braggers from the real deal. Be honest and show off your achievements with clear proof, not just big words.
  • Forgetting about how long things take can lead to waiting way longer than you thought. Stay informed about visa bulletins and make sure you apply at the right time to avoid unnecessary delays.

Legal Advice for EB-1 Visa Applications

Going through an EB-1 Visa application can have some tough parts, and that’s where hiring a lawyer who knows about immigration can be important.

Attorneys can find the best things about you and help you go through the confusing stuff, like the rules about who can apply and how. They also know ways to make your application super strong, so you have a better chance of winning.

Think of hiring an attorney as something that makes a big difference in your application. They can spot problems before they happen, carefully look at everything to make sure it’s right, and notice all the little things that might otherwise get missed. They also know how to deal with the rules that keep changing and can be there to talk to the officials for you, especially when things get tricky.

In this section, we delve into why tapping into an attorney’s expertise can be a game-changer, how their insights can bolster your application, and the tactics they employ to ensure that even the most intricate cases find solid ground.

Importance of Consulting With an Immigration Attorney

Getting help from an immigration attorney when you apply for an EB-1 visa is a smart move. It can improve your chances of success.

Immigration attorneys know the ins and outs of the rules and laws. They can guide you through the confusing application process smoothly. They can catch problems early and offer solutions before you submit your application. This makes the whole thing much less overwhelming.

An attorney’s involvement in preparing a visa application provides more than just legal expertise; it offers peace of mind. They meticulously evaluate the strength of each case, ensuring all supporting documents and evidence align with the stringent USCIS criteria.

With their experience, attorneys know how to manage timelines and stay on top of changing rules. They can also represent you with immigration authorities. This is invaluable if questions come up or you need to appeal a decision.

Having an experienced immigration attorney in your corner can make all the difference. They know how to position your success case and overcome any hurdles.

How Legal Experts Can Strengthen Your EB-1 Visa Case

Working with immigration lawyers can turn the confusing visa requirements into a clear checklist tailored to you. They use their legal knowledge to highlight parts of your background that meet the criteria for an EB-1 visa. Their strategic advice can make your application more convincing and get the approval of immigration officials.

Experienced lawyers are thorough and detailed. They make sure no part of your EB-1 case is weak by checking each piece of evidence to confirm it’s valid and relevant.

This strengthens your application against any doubts. In a nutshell, they put together an immigration story that’s legally solid and professionally impressive.

Legal StrategyBenefit
Personalized Case AssessmentFocuses on showcasing the applicant’s strongest evidence of extraordinary ability.
Rigorous Documentation ReviewReduces the likelihood of RFEs and strengthens the overall case.
Strategic Evidence PresentationAligns the applicant’s achievements with USCIS expectations for a compelling petition.

Mindful of important procedures, attorneys adeptly handle the timing and filing of your EB-1 application. Avoiding common mistakes, they order the evidence and forms to match USCIS processes.

Strategies for Handling Complex EB-1 Visa Scenarios

Tricky EB-1 scenarios often need a tailored approach. Attorneys tap their experience to find creative strategies. If evidence is unclear or qualifications are unconventional, they illuminate the strengths of the case. They map out logical ways through the legal complexity, showing the value of varied accomplishments.

An attorney’s expertise becomes indispensable when ambiguity arises, like demonstrating the international significance of work. For professionals with substantial but less publicized impact, lawyers draw insightful connections between behind-the-scenes influence and extraordinary ability criteria. They build a legal argument capturing the essence of contributions, even if atypical.

If past petitions faced setbacks, lawyers adeptly reassess and rebuild the case. Their fresh look identifies overlooked aspects or new evidence to reinvigorate the application. Through persuasive reasoning, they transform past challenges into compelling narratives meeting EB-1 standards.


Meeting EB-1 eligibility requirements is crucial for those seeking recognition as extraordinarily talented in their field. To qualify, applicants must show they stand at the top through national or international acclaim.

Documenting a strong case with robust evidence like awards, Olympic medals, and industry leader endorsements is vital. Precise adherence to USCIS criteria and strategic presentation of qualifications play key roles as they will carefully judge if an applicant is eligible for the EB-1 visa.

Engaging an experienced immigration attorney can significantly boost the chances of success. They ensure careful evaluation of achievements, meticulous documentation, and effective response to any complexities.

Thoroughness, attention to detail, and legal expertise are key to navigating the EB-1 process and securing extraordinary ability status for foreign nationals. Considerations like subsidiary companies, payment of fees, judgments, and popularity metrics like box office performance may be relevant for some applicants.

An immigration attorney can advise on the best evidence to include and avoid potential pitfalls like previous visa denials or deportation orders. Staying up to date on legal blogs and policies can also help strengthen an EB-1 case.

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