What is ECR and ECNR on Indian Passports | Explained

If you are an Indian looking for a job in the Gulf region, you must have heard about ECNR.

Indian passport holders are classified as either ECR (Emigration Check Required) or ECNR (Emigration Check Not Required).

In this post, we have discussed a few of the below questions?

  • What is ECNR?
  • Which countries need ECNR stamping?
  • What is Emigration Check Required in the passport?
  • Who needs Emigration Check Not Required stamp on the passport?
  • Why do we need ECNR to work in these countries?

Let’s get on with answering these questions now.

what is ECR in the passport? What is ECNR

What are ECR and ECNR?

Emigration Check not required or ECNR, as is popularly known, is a stamp of approval from Indian Passport authorities.

ECNR allows to take up work in any of the 18 counties for which an Emigration check is required (ECR).

It can be termed as a clearance from the Office of Protector of Emigrants (POE), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

The list of countries for which ECNR is required can be found from the ECNR page of the Bureau of Immigration India.

The countries predominantly are from the Middle East region like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia etc.

Thailand and Indonesia are also included in the list.

Please refer to the list of Bureau of Immigration India for a complete list of counties that require the cancellation of ECR from Passport or an ECNR stamp on Passport.

The below snapshot from the website provides the list of POE offices in India from where emigration clearance can be taken easily by supplying relevant documents.

Have a look!

People are free to work in almost all other countries barring the 18 and a few restricted ones even if they have ECR stamp on the passport.

It is important to note that ECR limitations do not apply to travel to any of these countries.

So, this leads us to the next question.

Who needs an ECNR stamp?

If you have received a job offer and have just been informed by your employer, consultancy or agent that you need ECNR, you need not worry a lot.

There is a process that needs to be followed and it has been made simpler to receive ECNR these days in India.

If you are applying for a passport now or want to know in details about the ECNR meaning, you can refer to this video (the video is in Hindi).

The video explains all about ECR in the passport application, the meaning of ECNR and how to ensure that you are all clear to take up employment in any of the above mentioned 18 countries.

Even the related countries are mentioned in the video.

If the self-explanatory video on ECR was useful then you can quickly skim through the below details.

The below details explain the nuances of getting ECR converted to Emigration Check Not Required.

We have now outlined things in detail for further clarification.

So, please check the below details for further clarification on the topic at hand.

  • Do you have a stamp on the second page of the passport or a line on the last page that mentions Emigration check required (ECR)?
  • Holders of ECR passports need a clearance called an Emigration Check from the Government of India’s Protector of Emigrants when going to selected countries on a work visa.
  • ECR stamps are normally for those people who have either not studied above the matriculation level or have not submitted the certificates.
  • This is to prevent the exploitation of Indian workers (especially the unskilled and less-educated) when going abroad, particularly to Middle Eastern countries.
  • However, if you are a tourist travelling to any of the 18 countries on the list, you need not worry. ECR passport holders travelling on a tourist visa do not need a clearance.

How to know if you have an ECR or ECNR stamp on the passport?

Have a look at the internal pages of the passport and at the top of the last page.

You will get clues about answering the question there.

In accordance with a ruling by the Ministry of External Affairs, passports issued from 2007 onwards do not have the ECNR stamp affixed.

A blank page 2 of the passport means that you do not need Emigration clearance or ECNR.

After the changes, only ECR stamps are now affixed to Indian passports.

So to clarify again.

  • If your passport is issued before 2007, no notation in the passport means ECR.
  • If your passport is issued in or after January 2007, no notation in the passport means ECNR.
  • If Emigration Check is required, there will be an endorsement in the passport regarding ECR.

Who qualifies for ECNR and what are the documents required for ECNR?

Not everyone will have an ECR stamp as stated above. This is only to protect the exploitation of Indian workers.

You can either apply for ECNR through the passport office or another option is to apply for a fresh passport seeking ECR exemption or automatic Emigration Check Not Required.

Please look at the documents required for Non-Ecr passport to apply for the same.

ECNR status passports are granted automatically to:

• Indian nationals born abroad;
• Indian nationals holding at least a matriculation certificate;
• All holders of diplomatic or official passports and all gazetted government servants;
• All income-tax payers (including agricultural income-tax payers) in their individual capacity;
• All graduate and professional degree holders (such as doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, scientists, lawyers, etc.);
• Spouses and dependent children of the category of certain holders of ECNR passports;
• Persons holding a Permanent Immigration Visa, such as visas issued by the UK, USA, or Australia;
• Nurses possessing qualifications recognised under the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947;

Here are a few words of caution:

A lot of job seekers are duped by agents and charged hefty amounts by agents to get the ECNR stamp or immigration stamp.

While, there is a lot of documentation required pertaining to Employment Visas and documents for Gulf Jobs, getting the ECR issue resolved is the first step towards a hassle-free journey.

It is a lot easier and cheaper these days to get passport reissued with the right documents than paying agents hefty amounts for getting the immigration stamps to travel.

Simply apply online on Official Passport Seva website and you should be able to get passport re-issued within a couple of weeks.

So, please don’t rely on the agents for ECNR.

This is especially even more important for the hotel industry professionals who travel a lot from India to the Middle East for employment.

Use the government procedure as described in this post.

It is not only cheaper but it is also hassle-free and secure.


Emigration check required is a process implemented by the Indian government to safeguard the interest of Indian workers.

The rules are specifically for those working in the 18 countries mentioned already in this article.

As already mentioned, there is no requirement of emigration check required for a visit visa to any country. This is only required if you are going to work in one of the mentioned 18 countries.

So, if you do have an ECR stamp on your passport and you have been offered a job in one of the mentioned countries you need not worry.

ECNR process is extremely simple in 2021 and further simplifications are expected in the future.

Simply follow the instructions given in this article and you are sure to get emigration clearance stamped on your Indian passport without any hassles.