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What Do ECR And Non-ECR In Indian Passport Mean?

By Preetha Manivelan - July 4, 2020
A picture of two Indian passports

Whenever you want to travel out of the country, the first thing that comes to your mind is Passport. It is a document issued by the government in order to certify the identity and nationality of the holder. Also, the passports are issued depending upon the age, educational qualification 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
Image Credits: Google Images

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
Image Credits: Google Images

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.

Countries which require clearance

There is a list of 17 countries which need Emigration Clearance from Protector of Emigrants(POE), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. The countries are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Indonesia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen. If you are an ECR passport holder and travelling to any of the above-mentioned countries on an employment visa, you need to clear the 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 valid visa at the immigration counter and get entry at the airport.

A group of people waiting for immigration check
Image Credits: Google Images

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

Non-ECR stands for Emigration Clearance Not Required (ECNR). This is for the people who are educationally qualified and wanting to travel for any business or travel purposes. The ECNR passport holders can travel to anywhere in the world without the need of clearing the 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 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.

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
Image Credits: Google Images

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.

A picture that represents the approval of travel
Image Credits: Google Images

Difference between the passports

Among the two categories of Indian passport, want to know which category does your Passport fall under? If yes, then turn the last page in the Passport to know whether it an ECNR or an ECR passport. If there is nothing mentioned on the last page, then your passport falls under the ECNR category by default. That means you are eligible to travel to any country you want without the need of an emigration check.

Can you convert your ECR passport into Non-ECR?

Yes, you can do it. Have a look at the below scenarios when you can change your ECR passport into ECNR:

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

 

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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 2020

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 some cool packages to your dream destination on the website of Pickyourtrail. Leave a Whatsapp inquiry for more options.


 

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