In 1982, the Indian government passed an Emigration Act, which emphasised the emigrants on getting emigration clearance from the Protectorate of Emigrant’s office before flying out of the country. This was also known as POE clearance. This act states that the emigrants are the Indian citizen who leaves the country in the for their career-related purposes and goes to some other foreign country.
What is meant by the Non-ECR category?
Ever since, 2007 the Indian passports got divided into ECR and Non-ECR categories where non-ECR category stands for Non- Emigration Checking Required category, also known as Emigration Checking Not Required. The requirements for getting to ECNR status in earlier times were restricted to people such as graduates and income taxpayers. However, these requirements have been drastically relaxed and widened over the years, allowing even matriculation passed candidates to be eligible for it. Any applicant who has passed 10th grade from a registered Indian educational institute can apply for a non-ECR passport.
The passports issued before 2007, had ECNR notation to indicate Emigrants Check is not required. But, the passports issued after 2007 have only Emigration Check Required notation on it, if it falls under the ECR category and the passports with no such notations subsequently fall under the non-ECR category. This ECR notation is a stamp, which is usually found on an empty page inside the passport.
The need for ECR and Non-ECR categories
This division ensures the safety of Indian citizens from other countries’ legal conditions, which can be caused due to various unpredicted situations/conditions. There is no great advantage in having either an ECR passport or a non-ECR passport, other than the fact that, the passengers with non-ECR passport need not have to go through the mandatory immigration office check unlike the passengers with ECR passport, who have to make sure that, their leave is registered and verified every time before they fly to other countries.
Who comes under the Non-ECR category?
This is check is done based on an individual’s education, marital status, age, etc. A person having age less than 18 or more than 50 years, gazetted officers or their immediate family members, one who has stayed in other countries for four or more years, individuals who are matriculation passed or having any degree like nursing, polytechnic, etc from any registered Indian educational institute, are the ones who come under Non- ECR category. Some countries like UAE, Kuwait, Syria, Qatar, Malaysia, Sudan, Jordan, and a few others require emigration check, as per the Bureau of Investigation.
Procedure to change your ECR passport to Non-ECR
If you want to change your ECR passport to Non- ECR to make your travel a bit hassle-free then, you must follow a set procedure that involves meeting a few pre-set requirements. The first requirement to change the passport from ECR to non-ECR is having a minimum educational qualification of matriculation which allows you to produce the certificate before the Regional Passport Office and get passport changed from ECR to ECNR. Only, in that case, you can apply for a non-ECNR passport and get ECNR stamped on it.
Necessary changes that include new entries like signature and RPO stamp are then made to cancel your existing ECR stamp and replace it with ECNR. Also, in cases of change in age, education, marital status, or any other circumstance in your life that makes you eligible for Non-ECR passport follows the same process. There are some predefined steps and procedure to apply for re-issue of the passport, that include submission of government identity proofs followed by the protocol set as per, the Indian government.
Do you actually need to change your ECR passport?
Sometimes people get confused if the ECR passport holder has to undergo emigrant check if they are flying for pleasure and tourism. As per the earlier discussed emigrant act, an Indian citizen flying to other countries for only a professional work-related purpose is an emigrant. So, you won’t have to go through any emigrant clearance if you are traveling to meet your friends who are staying in other countries, tourism or any other personal reason. For such travels, unrelated to employment, you can simply provide your valid passport, valid visa, and return ticket at the immigration counters. So, if you are certain that you won’t have employment-related travel to foreign countries, then there is no hurry to change your passport from ECR to non- ECR as the Non-ECR category means only that you don’t have to present emigration clearance even if you are traveling for employment.
Hope this article was helpful.