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Written by Preetha Manivelan on November 13, 2023 Share on

ECR vs Non-ECR : A Detailed Guide

Are you confused between an ECR and an ECNR passport? Read the entire thread to learn more! Whenever you want to travel out of the country, the first thing that comes to mind is a passport. It is a document issued by the government in order to certify the identity and nationality of the holder. Also, passports are issued depending on age, educational qualifications, and many other factors. It is a very important travel document and it is even more important to know about the two categories of Indian passport.

The first page of an Indian passport
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There are two categories of Indian passport as per the Indian Emigration Act 1983. To learn more about the types and various documents required to apply, keep reading.

  1. ECR
  2. Non-ECR

1. ECR

ECR stands for Emigration Clearance Required. If the applicant hasn’t passed their 10th grade or doesn’t have certificates for the same, they must undergo emigration check. It is introduced in order to provide freedom of work for people who want to work in other countries like Iran, UAE, Indonesia etc. It is said that the Indian citizens who are having low educational qualifications are subjected to domestic violence in foreign countries. So, the Government of India has introduced very strict norms to safeguard Indians living abroad and help them overcome such situations.

A picture that represents Passport control in airports
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Who can apply for ECR passport?

If the passport applicant has not completed his 10th grade or has completed but does not have all the necessary documents for SSC and children under the 15 years of age get ECR passport by default. And, Indians who are travelling to any foreign country on a visa other than job or employment visa can also apply under the ECR category by opting the ECR option while filling out the Passport online application form.

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Countries which require clearance

There is a list of 17 countries that need emigration clearance from the Protector of Emigrants (POE), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. The countries are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Indonesia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen. If you are an ECR passport holder and traveling to any of the above-mentioned countries on an employment visa, you need to clear emigration to migrate to that country. For any other visa type, you need not undergo the Emigration Clearance. You can just show your valid ECR passport, the tickets, and a valid visa at the immigration counter and get entry at the airport.

A group of people waiting for immigration check
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Documents to be submitted in the Passport Office

The mandatory documents that you need to submit include valid address proofs, annexures (if required) and any emergency proofs (if required). The above-mentioned documents are must while applying for ECR passport to make sure you adhere to the Indian government policies and guidelines. Educational qualification certificate is not mandatory for getting ECR Passport. However, you can have it as an additional document.

2. Non-ECR (ECNR)

Non-ECR stands for Emigration Clearance Not Required (ECNR). This is for people who are educationally qualified and want to travel for any business or travel purposes. ECNR passport holders can travel anywhere in the world without the need for emigration. Indian citizens who have passed their 10th grade can get the ECNR and there will be no need to clear emigration at the counter. Even if you have completed your SSLC and still do not have certificates, you will fall under the ECR category.

Who can apply for ECNR/Non-ECR Passport

Passport applicants who are having the mandatory educational qualification certificates of the secondary school are eligible to get ECNR Passport by default. In case the applicant particularly doesn’t need ECNR, they can opt for other options while applying for passport online.


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ECR vs Non-ECR Passport : Major Differences

  • ECR (Emigration Check Required) Passport: For certain countries, clearance from the Protector of Emigrants is required.
  • Non-ECR Passport: No emigration clearance required.

Emigration Clearance:

  • ECR Passport holders must obtain clearance before traveling to specific countries.
  • Non-ECR passport holders can travel without obtaining emigration clearance.


  • ECR status is typically assigned based on educational qualifications and job categories.
  • Non-ECR status is generally granted to individuals who meet specific criteria, exempting them from emigration checks.


  • ECR Passport holders may be required to provide additional documentation for emigration clearance.
  • Non-ECR Passport holders have fewer documentation requirements.


  • ECR is primarily intended to protect Indian workers traveling to countries with labor-related issues.
  • Non-ECR is for people traveling to countries where emigration checks are not required.

Countries Affected:

  • According to the Indian government, ECR is only applicable to certain countries.
  • Non-ECR applies to countries that do not fall under the ECR category.

Conditions for applying under ECNR category

Below are the categories that come under ECNR/ Non-ECR by default:

  • Indians whose education qualification is above 10th grade and have all the necessary documents
  • Individuals of 50 years of age and above
  • People who hold a Diploma in Polytechnic from any recognized institute
  • Individuals who have spent three years overseas
  • People who hold a Diploma in Nursing under the Indian Nursing Council Act-1947
  • Gazetted Government officers, their spouses and children
  • People who hold visas for permanent immigration/resident visas for the US, the UK, and Australia
  • Official and Diplomatic passport holders
  • Income taxpayers (including agricultural income taxpayers), their spouses and children (under 18 years)
A picture of Diplomatic Indian passport
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Which countries accept ECNR Passport?

Not every country will demand an emigration certificate. Almost all the countries will allow ECNR passport holders without any emigration clearance. Moreover, individuals visiting on all other visa types (including tourist, job, medical, study, business) are allowed at the immigration counters in the airport.

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Documents to be submitted in the Passport office

For applying for ECNR passport, you need to submit all mandatory address proofs with annexures (if required) and also any emergency proofs (if required) in the Passport office. Educational qualification certificate is also mandatory if you are applying for ECNR Passport.

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Can you convert your ECR passport into Non-ECR?

Yes, you can convert your ECR passport into a non-ECR one. Have a look at the below scenarios to knwo more:

  • In case of any change that has happened in the life of a person in connection to their age, education, marital status, etc., which makes them qualified to change the category from ECR to non-ECR.
  • There have been cases where the applicants at first applied for an ECR passport without awareness, even though they were eligible to get an ECNR. Because of this, they will have to undergo an emigration check every time they travel.
  • Since the process of emigration clearance is not so easy and the certificate issuance is totally dependent on the immigration officers, ECR passport holders who are traveling for job opportunities abroad will be affected. However, to overcome such scenarios, the Ministry of External Affairs allows changing an ECR passport to an ECNR passport if the passport holder meets certain requirements.

How do you convert your ECR passport into ECNR?

If you are eligible for ECNR category but have ECR passport currently, it’s easy for you to convert it into ECNR. Once you are sure, apply for the deletion of ECR status. After which, you will have to go through the entire process of applying for a fresh passport. You will receive the revised passport once you meet all the requirements.

Also Read: New Visa Rules in 2023


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FAQs on ECR & non-ECR

Q: What is the main difference between ECR and nonECR passports?
A: ECR passports require emigration clearance for certain countries, while nonECR passports do not necessitate such clearance.

Q: How is the ECR status determined?
A: ECR status is often based on educational qualifications and specific job categories.

Q: Do all countries require emigration clearance for ECR passport holders?
A: No, emigration clearance is required only for specific countries as designated by the Indian government.

Q: Can I convert my ECR passport to a nonECR passport?
A: The conversion process depends on eligibility criteria; certain individuals may be eligible to convert their ECR status.

Q: What documents are needed for emigration clearance with an ECR passport?
A: Additional documents, such as employment contracts, may be required for emigration clearance with an ECR passport.

Q: Is there an age limit for ECR status?
A: ECR status is typically agedependent; individuals above a certain age may be exempt from ECR requirements.

Q: Are there any benefits to having a nonECR passport?
A: NonECR passport holders generally face fewer documentation requirements and can travel to a broader range of countries without emigration clearance.

Q: Can I travel to ECR countries with a nonECR passport?
A: Yes, a nonECR passport allows for travel to countries not falling under the ECR category without the need for emigration clearance.

Q: How often does the list of ECR countries get updated?
A: The list of ECR countries may be periodically updated by the Indian government; applicants should stay informed about the latest information.

Q: Can I check the ECR status of my passport online?
A: Yes, the ECR status of a passport can be checked online through the official government portal.

I hope you must have understood the requirements of the two categories of Indian passport and how the process of application works. There is nothing to worry if you are carrying an ECR passport now and searching for job opportunities abroad. Because you now know how to convert it to ECNR. Now that you know all your passport hacks, you are one step closer to kickstarting your world travel. Check out the best international tour packages to your dream destination on the website of Pickyourtrail.

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