From January 1, unregistered Indian expats travelling to 18 countries will be off-loaded
All Indian expatriates working in 18 countries must register online before travelling
There have been several questions by Indian expats on how the recently announced online registration for ECR (Emigration check required) and ECNR (Emigration check not required) passports work. With Indian expatriates forming a major chunk of residents in many of these countries, a lot of people are expected to be affected by this new rule.
Is your passport ECR or ECNR?
An ECNR passport is usually given to individuals who have covered the minimum qualification level of matriculation or Grade 10, or to children and teenagers under the age of 18. Any person who has not completed this level is given a passport marked as ECR. The only difference in these passports is that on the last page, which has family details, there is a line marking whether an emigration check is required or not. The classification is for the protection of workers who travel to these countries with low or negligible educational qualification.
Which countries fall under the new mandate?
Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, UAE and Yemen.
Who should register?
All current ECR and ECNR passport-holding expatriates working in these countries should register along with new employment visa holders travelling to these countries for the first time. The registration for ECR passport-holders has been in force for some time, so this mandate is now majorly directed toward ECNR passport-holders.
When should expats complete this?
According to the released information, all expats should have registered on or before January 1, 2019 to avoid travel obstacles when coming back from India.
What happens if you don’t complete the registration on time?
According to the advisory released on November 14, authorities are allowed to off-load unregistered ECNR passport-holders travelling to any of these 18 countries if the registration has not been done from January 1, 2019.
From where should the registration happen?
While the process is online, it is better to do it while you’re in India because you need a mobile number registered in India to get the authentication code or OTP used for the process.
How many days do you have, in order to complete registration?
You can register from one day before your travel date out of India to a maximum of 21 days before the date of travel.
What’s the process?
You’ll need an Indian sim card
It need not be registered in your name but it should be active and functioning in India at the time of your registration.
Check in to emigrate.gov.in and click on ‘ECNR registration’. Supply the Indian number you’re using here.
You’ll then receive an OTP code on the given mobile number which will then let you go on to the next page of the application on the website.
You’ll be asked to enter details including your passport number, Aadhar number, profession, country of residence or work, emergency contacts in both India and the other country, email id etc. All fields marked with a red star are required fields.
If you found the job in the foreign through an agent or job agency, you may be asked to enter said agent’s details. If you didn’t use such an intermediary and found the job on your own, you can leave this field blank.
Once you’ve entered these details, hit ‘Submit’ and you should get a confirmation SMS on the same Indian mobile number you used earlier or an email. Keep these handy as proof of your registration as you will be asked to show this at all airports in India when travelling to one of the aforementioned countries after January 1 2019.
How much does it cost?
Nothing, the process is free of cost.
If you get a new visa from the same employer you needn’t re-register. However if an individual shifts jobs and get a new visa from another employer, you need to re-register with the new details.
Why is this a requirement?
The official reason given for this is that the process will ensure labour protection of expatriates.
Call this number for details