Embassy of India
A number of queries are being received in the Embassy regarding ‘Emergency Check Required’ (ECR) passports. For the benefit of the general public, information on the following frequently asked questions is provided:
1. What is a ECR passport?
(i) The Emigration Act regulates emigration of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers as well as certain professionals such as ‘Nurses’, notified from time to time, for employment abroad in 18 specified countries including Saudi Arabia.
(ii) Persons whose passports contain “Emigration Clearance Required” (ECR) stamp and who intend to take up employment abroad in these 18 countries need to obtain emigration clearance from Protector of Emigrants (POE).
(iii) The workers who have not obtained clearance from PoE are liable to be stopped at the Immigration.
2. Who are eligible for a non-ECR (previously ECNR) passports?
(i) All persons possessing educational qualification of matriculation (Class 10) and above are normally eligible for non-ECR passports, except those having POE-notified professions such as nurses who require emigration clearance irrespective of their educational qualifications.
(ii) Apart from these, persons who have worked abroad for more than 3 years three years in one stretch or split stretches, minor children (below 18 years), persons over the age of 50 years, income tax payers with established income from regular profession/business, etc., are also eligible for non-ECR passport.
3. How do I know if a passport is a ECR or non-ECR (previously ECNR)?
(i) If a passport (old booklet type) does not contain ECR stamp (normally the stamping is done on page 3 of the passport), it is a non-ECR passport.
(ii) In the new type of passport booklet, ‘Emigration Check Required’ is printed just above the Name of father / Legal Guardian column on the last page of the booklet.
(iii) If there is no stamping or printing of ECR status on the passport booklet, then the passport is a non-ECR passport (previously ECNR).
4. Is it true that ECR passport holders are being stopped at Indian airports?
(i) The Emigration Act prohibits travel to ECR countries by persons holding ECR passports for employment purpose without Emigration Clearance from Protector of Emigrants. Such persons may not be allowed to travel to ECR countries including Saudi Arabia by Bureau of Immigration check points located at Indian airports.
(ii) Those travelling on visit/vacation to India on ECR passport are subject to the above unless accompanied with copy (alongwith translation) of Residence Permit & Exit – reentry visa.
5. I am holding an ECR passport. How can I convert it to a non-ECR (previously ECNR) passport?
If you fulfil any of the eligibility criteria for a non-ECR passport (Q2), you can apply for reissue of your passport at the Passport Issuing Authority (PIA) of your jurisdiction in India or abroad. The Embassy of India in Riyadh and Consulate General of India in Jeddah are the Passport Issuing Authorities in the KSA. If you are in KSA, you may submit your applications at the nearest VFS Passport Application Centres. In case of change in status of passport holder from ECR to non-ECR (previously ECNR), a new passport has to be issued; endorsements are not allowed.