What Non ECR Category Means? ECR vs Non ECR Category Explained

Here's everything you need to know about ECR or Non ECR Category.

For the unversed, the Indian passport has been divided into two main categories known as Emigration Check Required (ECR) and Emigration Check Not Required (ECNR) aka Non ECR Category. There are thousands of people are confused and do not know what is the difference between ECR and Non ECR.

Also Read | Pan India Meaning: What Does The Term PAN India Mean?

With that in mind, we have decided to curate an article explaining what ECR and Non ECR Category mean.

1. Introduction

Non-ECR Category is nothing but a part of the Indian passport given to an Indian citizen when are all set to fly to abroad. According to the Emigration Act 1983, there are certain categories in the Indian passport that should have “Emigration Clearance” from the office of Protector of Emigrants (POE) for visiting specific countries across the world.

As per the act, Emigration means any Indian citizen who has decided to leave the country with an intention of taking employment in a foreign country.

2. What is Non ECR category?

Before we explain what Non ECR actually is, let us first understand what ECR means. For the uninformed, ECR is a short form  of Emigration Check Required. If an applicant, who applied for passport, has not passed their 10th grade officially is an accepted Indian educations system would falls in this category.

The applicant need to get a certificate for emigration in specific countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, etc. If you don’t know where ECR stamp is found, it can be found in an empty page in the passport of the people who haven’t passed their 10th standard.

3. Why is ECR introduced?

Keeping in mind the safety of Indian Citizen due to the legal conditions of other countries and based on certain conditions, the Government of India introduced ECR. This must be done on the basis of education, age, marital status, etc. of an individual. There’s no in-between, and you can either qualify for ECR or Non-ECR category.

You must have understood what ECR is. Now, let’s find out what NON ECR category means.

Non ECR Category is for Indian citizen who has graduated through their 10th grade of school would not be required every time to go through an immigration office check to have their leave registered and verified.

Once a citizen passed 10th grade, they are eligible to earn the ECNR badge on their passport. It basically works as the Clearance for leaving the country and needs not to check on with the immigration office.

4. Conditions for Non-ECR or ECNR passport

On the basis of whether you have passed 10th grade or not, your passport would be categorised as Non ECR and ECR.

  • Official and diplomatic passport holder
  • Gazetted Government officers, their spouses, and children
  • Individuals above the age of 50 years and up to the age of 18 years
  • Income taxpayers, professional degree holder, visas for permanent emigration
  • Individuals who hold a diploma in nursing
  • People with a diploma in polytechnic from any recognized institute
  • People working in the sea with continuous discharge certificate or sea cadets and deck cadets.

5. Categories in the passport

Depending on which categories your passport falls, you have been divided into two categories ECR or Non ECR. If your passport falls under ECR category, your passport will have a stamp or notation or “EMIGRATION CHECK REQUIRED” written on it.

6. List of Countries that require Emigration Clearance

As per the Indian Bureau of Immigration (BOI), there are various countries that required Emigration Clearance before leaving India. You can check out the list of countries that need Emigration Clearance below:

  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Qatar
  • Yemen
  • Jordan
  • Afghanistan
  • Sudan
  • Oman
  • Malaysia
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Bahrain
  • Libya
  • Indonesia
  • Syria
  • Lebanon
  • Thailand

7. How to Change from ECR to ECNR?

It is to be noted that you can change your passport category from ECR to ECNR. The only thing you required is to get ECNR passport is the passing certificate of 10th grade. Anyone who has a passing certificate of 10th standard can produce the certificate before the RPO and get it passport changed from ECR to ECNR.

You will have to apply for re-issue of the passport and select “YES” for the question which asks- “Are you eligible for Non-ECR Category?” in the application form while submitting the form. You should have relevant proofs ready while applying of Non ECR.

8. Status change from ECR to Non-ECR

If there is any change in the life of a person depending on their age, education, or marital status, etc. making them qualified to change their passport category from ECR to Non-ECR, then it can be done.

10. FAQs Related to ECR or Non ECR Categories

1. What is the meaning of Non-ECR category?

Non ECR stands for Emigration Check Not Required.

2. What is the disadvantage of an ECR passport?

There are no disadvantages of possessing an ECR passport. They only need to go through the Emigration check every time before flying to a foreign country.

3. Can I remove the Emigration Check Required?

Yes, what you have to do is to check if you have an Emigration Check Required stamp on your passport. If you have that stamp, you are eligible to get it removed. Then you need to apply for a fresh passport by selecting change in particulars – > Removal of ECR stamp.

4. In the Indian Passport Application Form, what to select for ECR Question?

If you have not passed 10th grade yet and do not follow any of Non-ECR Level Criteria, then you need to select ‘No’. 


If you have already passed 10th grade/class or above, or if you fall within any of the Non-ECR category requirements mentioned above, then you’d select option ‘YES’.

5. How to know if the passport is ECR or Non-ECR?

Unless your passport falls within the ECR category, it will be correctly identified with either a stamp/notation or clear text ‘EMIGRATION CHECK REQUIRED.’ It used to be a stamp for passports before Jan 2007, and you can find the details written/endorsed in the passport’s address page for the latest passports.

Generally, for passports approved after January 2007, if you find no printed text/notation in the passport that says “EMIGRATION CHECK REQUIRED,” then the passport falls under the Non-ECR category.

Putting Non-ECR (previously ECNR) stamps has been abandoned, and you can only see Printed Text notation in the passport.

6. How does ECR Passport Look like?

ECR Endorsement/Notation can be found on the address page, which is the last page of every Indian passport. The notation is provided on the Top if the passport is ECR.

7. What is OK to Board?

Before traveling to UAE (Dubai/Sharjah/Abu Dhabi), Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat, Oman, and Qatar, Indian citizens must have more than just a Visa.

It is the “OK to Board” – an airline requirement without which any passenger is not allowed to travel to the destinations mentioned above.

If you request a valid visa to a specific country that we have mentioned above, you must give your copy of your visa to the airline with which you booked your flight ticket. The airline will accept your ticket after rechecking your visa and will mark your flight PNR as OK to Board.

Notably, if your PNR does not reflect Ok to Board, you would be granted permission to board a flight.

The message “OK To Board” is compulsory for the categories below:

  • All customers holding ECR (Immigration Check Required) passport
  • All customers flying with a print-out of Labour & Work e-visa

8. Am I eligible for the NON-ERC category?

If you have 10th grade passing certificate or have a higher degree, your passport comes within the Non-ECR category.

So, if you have qualified above given criteria, then, yes, you are eligible. Else, you are not.

9. What if my passport is ECR?

As we have already mentioned above that ECR stands for Emigration Search Required passports. This type of Indian passport was released before the year 2007. If you have already passed 10th grade, your passport would fall in Emigration Check Required category.

If you are on this list, you will find the ECR stamp on your tab. And any time you travel to a foreign country, you need to get clearance from the immigration office.

10. Which are ECR countries?

  • Brunei
  • Yemen
  • Indonesia
  • Saudi Arab
  • Iraq
  • Thailand
  • Jordan
  • UAE
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Malaysia
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Afghanistan
  • Oman
  • Qatar

11. What are the disadvantages of an ECR passport?

There are certain disadvantages of having an ECR passport. Under the Emigration Act, 1983, the Emigration Check Required (ECR) groups of Indian passport holders require to receive an “Emigration Clearance” from the Office of the Protector of Emigrants (POE), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, for travel to 18 nations that are mentioned previously.

For more such informations, Stay tuned to Madam 360.

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