Decision Ready Spouse or De-facto Partner Visa Application

 

The process of reviewing your application and preparing it for lodgement is important. Taking some extra time to properly complete this step can really benefit your application in the following ways:

  1. Presenting an organised and concise application can really make life easier for your case officer when he or she assesses your application. And considering that your case officer will need to use his or her own judgement and discretion in deciding whether some of the eligibility requirements are met, you really want to make the their task of assessing your application as easy as possible
  2. Lodging a complete a decision-ready application means that DIAC will process your application as soon as possible

In this post, I’ll cover how I go about preparing a partner or spouse visa application for lodgement, including using DIAC’s decision-ready checklist (“DRC”) if your application is complete and decision-ready.

Use the decision-ready checklist

If the application is complete and decision-ready, then you should follow DIAC’s checklist as closely as possible when it comes to putting the various forms and documents of your application into order for lodgement. You should go through each of the items on the DRC and tick off on the boxes that correspond with the forms and supporting documents that are relevant to your application. Of course, you need to also ensure that you’ve included all these relevant forms and supporting documents in your application.

You’ll probably find that not all of the forms and items listed on the DRC are relevant. I just tick the relevant boxes and mark all the irrelevant boxes with ‘n/a’.

Since you’re ordering your documents in accordance with the DRC, there is generally no need to include an index or contents page.

Don’t over (or under) organise your application

You don’t want your application to look a university thesis (i.e. too much unnecessary evidence, statutory declarations that are long because they contain unnecessary information and of course, too many photos). At the same time, you don’t want your application to under organised such that it resembles a year 6 science report.

You want to provide your case officer with a well organised and concise application that contains the information and documents that your case officer needs to make a decision.

Organising your application

Applicants often over organise their application by dividing everything up into sections by using staples, paper clips, plastic folders and dividers etc. You don’t need all this because someone from DIAC will remove all these staples and dividers from your application anyway.

Submit your partner/spouse visa application as just one bundle of forms and documents. No clips, no staples, no plastic.

If you want to divide your application up into various sections, then I’d just insert a plain document that has the title of the section in large font at the beginning of the section (e.g. ‘Forms’, ‘Evidence of de-facto relationship’). This page can also double as a contents or index page for that particular group of documents. This is not absolutely necessary but these separating pages help your case officer immediately identify what documents that they are looking at.

The right type and amount of evidence

I have previously discussed the relevant strength and importance of different types of evidence. Generally speaking, what you should be providing is various forms of evidence that cover the entire duration of your relationship. Documents that demonstrate the sharing of various aspects of your lives are particularly important (e.g. joint bank accounts, joint liabilities, joint ownership or purchase of major assets etc.).

It is hard know exactly what types of evidence you need to submit or how much evidence you need in your application, particularly since the end decision is at the discretion of your case officer. The particular circumstances of your relationship can also have a significant bearing on the evidence that you’ll need to provide.

For my applicants, I’m generally ask them to provide the following (this is a very general guide so don’t read this and feel that you must provide evidence in accordance with my suggestions):

  1. Evidence of at least 12 months of co-habitation
  2. Around 6 or so ‘strong forms’ of evidence
  3. Around 6 or so ‘good forms’ of evidence
  4. Around 10-12 photos. You can provide a brief comment which indicates when and where the photo was taken. There is no need to provide a photo album with hundreds of photos

If you are not sure about whether your evidence is sufficient, then it’s better to provide a bit too much evidence rather than too little.

Make sure that you have provided the below documents

  • Certified copies of supporting documents – Don’t provide plain copies, and don’t provide originals. Provide DIAC with certified copies. If you’re not sure about how copies are certified and who can assist you with this, have a read of this.
  • Provide ORIGINAL health and character documents – You need to provide original police clearances and your sealed health examination result. If you’re in Australia and you attended Medibank Health Solutions for your health examinations, then they should provide you with your examination result in a sealed envelope. This envelope will have ‘do not open’ stamps all over it, so I suggest that you follow this advice. Unless your case officer makes a specific request, these are the only original documents that you should be providing to DIAC.
  • Provide English translations (if applicable) – If you’re providing documents that aren’t in English, then you need to provide English translations of these documents. Your case officer will ask for this if you don’t provide translations. This will delay the processing of your application because your case officer will need to write up this request, and you’ll then need to respond to it.

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77 thoughts on “Decision Ready Spouse or De-facto Partner Visa Application

  1. Alex

    Hi there, I just have a question. My partner and I have been living together in Australia for over 9 months now (although we have been in a relationship for almost 3 years), but we have registered our relationship at the Births, Deaths and Marriages office in Brisbane. Given that all our other evidence is fairly strong, can our application still be considered decision-ready?

    Cheers,
    Alex

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      I can’t confirm this without looking at your application – my guess is yes but can’t confirm this.

      Reply
      1. Preet

        Hi peng

        I have got my PR (857)rsms visa last month, but now my employer is going to sell his business and another company is ready to buy our business. So what is my options now?
        1) if new employer employs me with the same position and same package, will I have to lodge my nominations and RCB again?
        2) If new employer will not employ me then what have I do?
        3) if new employer will get his own ABN number, will it affect my visa?
        Your reply will be appreciated.
        Thanks in advance.

        Reply
  2. Bridget

    Hi,

    I am applying for a Partner Visa (subclass 309) on the basis of marriage, and I have included a ton of documents supporting that we have a genuine relationship (including evidence of joint bank accounts, marriage license, friends’ testimonies of our relationship, evidence of joint property ownership, etc). I have read conflicting things on whether or not to include personal pictures of each other, emails traded, and copies of birthday cards and Valentine’s cards. What would you suggest? Would it be better for my application not to include these things, or should I?

    Also, can I mark my application as decision ready if I have not had a penal check and health check? I am applying outside of Australia, and I want to mark my application as decision-ready, but am not sure if I can if I do not have those two things. I called where I will be sending my application, and they said that they would ask for those two things after my application has been lodged. I know the processing time for applications marked decision ready is quicker. Would you please advise me on this?

    Thanks,
    Bridget

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Include some photos, cards, evidence of correspondence – just don’t go overboard.
      No – its not decision ready. But different overseas offices have different processes. If that office considers your application to be decision-ready, then you can probably mark it as such.

      Reply
  3. Laura

    I just wanted to thank you for such a helpful article. It’s really helped me get my partner visa application into the right order, and now I’m confident that we’ve met and/or exceeded all the requirements. You made this process so much easier!

    Reply
  4. Laura

    Apologies, I have one more question. On the decision-ready checklist it asks to provide evidence of the last two years of my partner/sponsor’s employment history (in the form of an employer letter, payslips, etc). However, the newly updated Form 40SP (as of Nov. 2012) no longer asks for any employment information from my partner. I know that the previous version of Form 40SP did ask for my partner’s employment info. Should I still include this evidence?

    Reply
  5. Sara

    Hi there,
    Valuable info in your article, thanks so much. I am about to apply for an onshore de facto 820, my partner is Australian, I am Italian but both lived in China for 10 years and we met over there. Now my partner has been repatriated for work and I am following him. Most of our evidence comes from China and I am getting some documents translated here by NAATI accredited translators. Some documents though are already in Chinese and English. For example my Uni degree at BLCU is in Chinese with English translation…Should i get that translated locally by NAATI to confirm the translation?
    same goes for the Notary Certificate of No Criminal Convictions, this document is in Chinese with English translation issued by the notary office of the Beijing PSB…Do I need to translate this in Australia?
    Thanks so much for any suggestion.
    Cheers.

    Reply
  6. Vallen

    Dear Peng,

    Such a helpful site! It gave me a lot of insight into applying Spouse Visa offshore, visa subsclass 309. I just want to say thank you so much for this website! It has been the most helpful and clear piece of information I have read so far.

    I just have a few question in regards to my case. I am currently in Australia but will be applying ny visa offshore as I have a NCN from my previous student visa. And I read that this NCN will not be taken into consideration if I apply my visa offshore.

    I am building my documents at the moment, some that I am not sure of is what further documents can I prepare to prove our relationship? We are signing our marriage certificate prior of me departing Australia. And so far we have our joint accounts, tenancy agreement under both our names, we are each other beneficiary on our super, email traded, birthday and valentine card, my partner payslips and mine, employers reference, translated documents of birth certificates, friends references, penal check from my home country, health check up, prove of address and that is pretty much it. Can you advice me of further documents that I can prepare to strengthen my application?

    And in your opinion, how long the application process for a decision ready process? We would like to know if there is any other way to accelerate this application process to get the visa granted asap?

    Many thanks in advance!

    Reply
  7. Vallen

    Sorry just one more question, do I have to certified every copied documents? Such as friend’s references, pay slips etc?

    Many thanks!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      To be safe, I’d put in certified copies for all supporting documents – except for police clearances which need to be originals.

      Reply
      1. Vallen

        Thank you! I will definitely certified all documents in exception to police clearances and medical check up.

        Just another question, since I have been living in Australia for more than 7 years, by applying offshore, it means that I need an Australian police clearance as well is that right?

        Reply
  8. Mandeep kaur

    Hi there,we applied foe defecto visa last year in July 17/2012 and have not heard nothing.My partner is Australian and I’m from India.
    Do we wait till July or we go to emigration and check it out?
    My lodging officer was not very helpful to start with so I’m worried !
    Can someone suggest me what to do?
    Thanks

    Reply
  9. Anna

    Hi Peng

    We applied for our VISA last year in June, we just received a request for DIAC to for my partner for proof of current address and proof he is still in a de facto relationship with me. is this normal?

    Reply
  10. Rebecca

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article and provide feedback. It is incredibly helpful. I’m applying for an onshore de-facto 820 visa. I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t have a decision ready application as I read it takes 12-18 weeks to get the US police certificate and my visa expires in 3 months. My question, though, is will they still accept my application if my police check is not included, but pending? If so, will they grant me the bridging visa while it’s pending or will I have to go back to America? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Rebecca,
      Yes you can lodge a valid application without a US police clearance. Bridging visa is generally granted shortly after a valid application is lodged.
      PC

      Reply
  11. Rob

    Hi Peng,

    I am currently compiling a Decision-Ready application for an 820 de-facto visa (onshore).
    When including bank statements to show the financial aspects of the relationships do I need to get them certified or can I just send actual printouts of my online statements?

    Also, would I need to highlight or draw attention to certain transactions proving the Nature of the Household on banks statements or can i assume the case officer will look for these themselves?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Rob,
      I don’t think you need to certify online statements. You can include an explanatory note if you don’t want to leave it to interpretation.
      PC

      Reply
  12. Mohit

    Hi , My wife is here in Australia on tourist visa and she has applied for 309 . Now case officer has asked for medicals, I want to know that do we need to send the medical receipt to case officer or we also have to send the reports which we get in sealed envelope once the medicals are finalized.

    Please do reply !!

    Reply
  13. Samira

    Hi,
    My husband lives overseas and I lodged a 309 application on Nov 2011. It is now May 2013. I obviously did not know there was a DRC, because they have been asking for additional information over and over again. I have called them a number of times and emailed but all the only response i get is “security clearance is not ready”. What should we do? Any advice?
    His medicals have expired to and they have asked me to wait till they request for medicals.
    I really need some advice

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Samira,
      Sounds like a ASIO check: http://www.asio.gov.au/
      These can take forever, no timeframe – its not immigration department checking, its the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Nothing that can be really done sorry.
      PC

      Reply
      1. Samira

        Hi Peng,

        If i call up ASIO will they be able to provide me some sort of information? The no time frame sounds like there is no hope! What am i suppose to do?

        Thanks,

        Reply
  14. Jay

    HI ,

    we have lodged Partner visa on June 5th 2012 and we got Pre grant visa mail from DIAC on Feb 5th 2012 and asked me to depart Australia for grant of visa , i been to Singapore .

    DIAC called up and said the wedding date filled in 40SP is March 14th 2012 and my sponsor ( partner) have departed Australia on 16th of March 2012 .

    Now DIAC is asking for proof of arrival before wedding date .

    our relationship is genuine but we wanted to keep 14th march as wedding date because of auspicious / horoscope sentiment .
    moreover in our tradition the wedding happens for 5 days and the wedding started on 14th of march at brides location in Australia.

    please suggest how to answer to DIAC query for further processing of 309 Visa.

    Regards
    jay

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Jay,
      I response is always: just be honest, backup claims with supporting evidence and respond to the request within the allowed time.
      PC

      Reply
  15. Jan

    Hi Peng,

    First of all thank you for this very helpful page.

    I am planning to apply for the subclass 820 for my partner and just having a quick question in relation to police clearance certificate that we would like to check with you.

    My partner is currently on a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485). He submitted the police clearance certificate from his country issued in February last year with the Temporary Graduate visa application which was lodged and granted in March last year. I am just wondering if he could use the same police clearance certificate to apply for the subclass 820 visa? Would the 12 month period validity of police clearance certificates still apply under this circumstance? He has been in Australia most of the time since the Temporary Graduate visa was granted.

    Thank you very much and your guidance on this matter is much appreciated.

    Jan

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Jan,
      It needs to be valid at the time of decision, so he’ll probably need a new one when the decision is made (valid for 12 months from date of issue).
      PC

      Reply
  16. Veronica

    Hi Peng,

    Your posts are very helpful thank you very much!
    I have a questions, im australian and my partner is from the UK. We were just doing the defacto visa but have since become engaged. I dont want to do the visa where we have to get married in 9 months, are we able to still continue as normal with our defacto visa even though we are now engaged?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Paulina

    Hey there. Your website is really good.

    After lots of work I finally have all the documents and my partner visa application ready to lodge!!!
    I have one question, I thought that it would be better if I put all the documents in a folder with an index to make it easier to read… but you say that this is not good?? Should I do it?

    Thanks!!

    Paulina

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Paulina,
      I generally use the checklist as a cover, and order the documents in accordance with the checklist.
      PC

      Reply
  18. Jelena

    Hi Peng,

    This is such a great site and thank you for helping us all out.

    My husband is applying for a partner visa. He is from Serbia and as such it is not a well-documented and very high in unemployment rates and do not follow the books. I live in Australia and he is to live here with me.

    He has worked at various jobs and is able to get a statement from his employers. However do the employers need to provide their logo, business identity details etc on the letter?

    Do the case officers take into recognition how each countries current situation is regarding the applicant?

    We have lived together for 12months at least in total but we only have a few letters and bills on the same address and recently have a joint bank account…is this sufficient? We are planning on applying very soon.

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Jelena,
      Yes company’s letterhead or logo is required for work references.
      Yes – country where the applicant’s from can be taken into account.
      Can’t answer your question about evidence – can only ask such questions after looking at the evidence.
      PC

      Reply
  19. Rintu

    Hi Peng,
    Very informative blog.
    I and my partner applied for a onshore defacto partner visa which is still under review with the immigration. we recently travelled to India and got married at the Catholic Church . We were issued a marriage certificate from the church but we didn’t register our wedding with the local government authorities. We would like to know if our wedding was considered legal fit visa purpose and wether we should report about this to the immigration office
    Looking forward for your reply
    Regards
    Rintu

    Reply
  20. Brian

    Hi Peng,

    Thanks for advise here. Very informative and concise.
    My question regards character documents. I have already got a police check from the UK (I’m British) and from Australia (have been living here for almost 2.5 years). I spent 10-11 months living and working in Spain between Sept-2008 and August 2009. I was under the impression, that as this was under 12-months I would not require a Spanish police check. I was hoping it won’t be an issue, but on my previous visa applications for Tourist visa and 457 visa I put 12-months without properly checking the dates. I’m considering having my Spanish work contract translated to be included in my application for a partner visa, which demonstrates I only had work between Sept-2008 and July-2009.

    Look forward to hearing what you think on this.

    Kind regards and thanks again for your advice.
    Brian

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Brian,
      I guess technically, you won’t need to provide a Spanish police clearance. You can complete and send a Form 1023 to DIAC: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/pdf/1023.pdf
      I can’t really predict what will happen with – or even if your case officer will check your previous visa application. My suggest is just tell the truth with this application – and inform your CO of the mistake if this issue arises, or inform DIAC ahead of time with a Form 1023.
      PC

      Reply
  21. Kelvin

    Hi Peng Cheng, I am wondering for the Partner Visa application, the requirement of having 2 x Passport size photographs, do I need to certify the photographs?

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Kelvin,
      The checklist just says to ‘You should print the name of the person on the back of each photograph’
      PC

      Reply
  22. Ming

    Hi Peng Cheng,

    I am currently on a 119 visa (previous RSMS) that was granted november 2012. My partner was put as a non-migrating partner as we did not live together at the time. Now we are living together (12 months in Dec 2013) and was thinking of applying for the 820 onshore partner visa. My friend told me to add on my partner onto my RSMS visa rather than spend more money on the 820. Is this possible?

    Thank you for your time.

    Reply
  23. Lois

    Hi,

    Thanks this is a really great article.

    I am currently in the process of applying for my partner visa with my de facto (australian) partner.

    Do I have to supply a Decision ready checklist with my application? I did not read about this in the manual about applying for your visa so am a bit confused?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Lois,
      No you don’t have to – you can still lodge a valid application that is not decision-ready, in which case you don’t need the checklist.
      PC

      Reply
  24. Emily

    Hi!
    My husband is a 457 temporary visa holder and he wants me to be with him in australia. The health insurance card is already released. Is there a deadline in lodgement of my visa application, since i already have a health insurance?

    thanks,
    emily

    Reply
  25. Nikos

    Hi Peng,

    Recently I applied for an offshore de-facto partner visa in Malaysia but after a week or so, I traveled to Australia with my partner. My CO now asked me for some additional documents but she wasn’t clear whether I should e-mail those documents back or I should send them via e-mail. Also when I tried to call her or call the High Commission over there to inform of my current residential change nobody picked up the phone although I called on office hours and days.
    Is it possible for me to provide additional documents such as travel booking itineraries via e-mail or fax or will I have to post them to Malaysia?

    Thanks in advance :)

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Nikos,
      You should contact your CO and confirm. You can call the Department’s general line and get your CO’s email to get confirmation.
      PC

      Reply
  26. Mia

    Hi Peng,

    Okay this might sound really confusing as I have alot of questions in my head.

    I have been in Australia for about 2 years on a working holiday visa, I am now on a student visa which will end in December 2014.
    I have been with my Australian partner for about a year and have been living together for those 3 months.
    This means that I can only apply for a de-facto visa in August ( 12 month requirement) , however will 4 months be long enough for a de-facto visa to be processed? Will they grant me a Bridging visa or will I have to go home to the UK?

    Thanks,
    Mareeya

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Mareeya
      Assuming you lodge a valid partner visa application, you will automatically be granted a Bridging Visa A during the time it takes the Department to make a decision. This visa will allow you to stay in Australia until a decision has been made.
      PC

      Reply
  27. Rena

    Hi there,

    Immigration has change their website recently. They didn’t ask for form 80 and evidence of sponsor employment for 2 yrs at the new document checklists. Should I still need to provide these two with my application?

    Thanks,
    Rena

    Reply
  28. Vince

    Hi there!
    Love your website and thank you for the information.

    I would like to ask whether you have experience with waiving the 12 month relationship requirement by having the de facto relationship registered in NSW. Are the chances of using this approach good as long a solid relationship can be presented (financial records, relationship details etc).

    Would love to hear more on this topic from you. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Vince,
      Having your relationship registered means that the 12 month relationship requirement does not apply – you do not need to apply for a waiver of this requirement.
      PC

      Reply
  29. Marouan Louhichi

    Hi sir:
    Im marouan, im 32 i married to my australian wife since mai 5th 2012 ,visa interview was in nov 27 2012, refusal application was in march 2013 …in april 2013 the mrt was payed and my wife send another file to the mrt because the decision made by the diac was very humilating….the reasons they mention is that the relation was not genuine, the age and the culture differences between me and my wife…any way my wife made a very huge, professional and well orgnized file with all the proofs wich i did not gave in the 1st file like pic videos..old msgs..phone bills…now we have a member in the mrt but westill waitng for any news ftom them….my questions are:
    …. HOW MUCH TIME DO WE HAVE TO WAITE
    …. IS THE CHANCE IN MRT IS BETTER THAN THE DIAM
    THanx

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Marouan,
      If you have a member allocated already, then you should have your hearing in the next few months.
      The MRT applies the same law as the Department – but it is a fresh assessment of the application.
      PC

      Reply
  30. andrew fox

    Hi again, great site, lots of help! Would you recommend lodging an onshore partner visa application online or by post? I have heard (from no one official) that online applications may be processed quicker. However, I feel that a paper application may be easier for us as I’m not sure I’ll be able to upload all our evidence online. And also, does every single copy of each bit of evidence (so for example airline tickets, bills, bank statements etc) need to be certified? I haven’t found any guidelines to say this but wonder if it may be a good idea.
    Thank you
    Andy

    Reply
    1. Andrew fox

      Hi Peng,
      Just wondering what needs to be included for the character assessment for the applicant? Obviously original police certificate(s) of anywhere that has been lived in for over 12 months, but I have seen on a couple of forums that ‘form 80′ has also been included, but I can’t see anywhere in the document checklist or the guidance that mentions this form. Am I missing something?
      Thanks again

      Reply
      1. Peng Cheng Post author

        Hi Andrew,
        Form 80 relates to character – it may not appear on the checklist for your visa but your case officer can ask for this. For permanent residency applications, the do generally ask for this.
        PC

        Reply
  31. Max

    Hi there!

    Your advice is of great help regarding the visa application.

    Me and my partner are appyling for an Onhsore partner visa as of tomorrow. However, it is likely that I will be granted a Bridging Visa which will not allow me to leave Australia. I have not seen my family and friends for over a year and a half and I have got a family member that is suffering from light dementia. However this will be hard to proof as she is not in a crucial state currently but I would love to be able to see her while she is still doing OK. Will the DIAC need medical proof from the Netherlands? ( the country I am from and intent to visit coming April for a couple of weeks) And is this a substantial reason? And how long do I wait with applying for that type of Bridging Visa?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Max

      I have just got one more question.

      With “prove of communication in times of separation”, I have phone records and high lighted the times I have text my partner. Is this a good way to do it? And one last one, we have about 10 Stat Decs from family and friends and they are individually stapled, shall I remove anything that is stapled from the application?

      Thank you so much, your time and opinion is greatly appreciated.

      Reply
    2. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Max,
      Will the DIAC need medical proof from the Netherlands? ( the country I am from and intent to visit coming April for a couple of weeks) And is this a substantial reason?
      The reason is fine – they may ask for evidence. You can try lodging with just a statement explaining why you need to travel, but they may ask for evidence
      And how long do I wait with applying for that type of Bridging Visa?
      Pretty quick – say 1-3 weeks.
      PC

      Reply
  32. Zhi

    Hi There, thanks for the great insight on the matter. My current visa is expiring 2 May 2014. My partner and I have just applied to register to our relationship in Victoria today (11 March). If we don’t receive the certificate before we lodge the application on 20 April 2014. Will I still be granted BVA? Thank you for your advise!
    Zhi

    Reply
  33. Stephanie

    Hi Peng,

    Thank you so much for the post and replying to everyone’s queries! I am just about ready with my defacto partner visa documents and was thinking to lodge it online as I have everything scanned. However after reading from people’s stories, they mostly lodge it in person or post it. Would you recommend to lodge it online? I am also concerned that police certificate from Australia will need the originals to be sent. Am I able to just post that separately? Many thanks!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Stephanie,
      I’m telling my clients to go with online applications. With police clearances, I’m finding that case officers will accept a clear scan of a certified copy, and they generally do not require the original clearances.
      PC

      Reply

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