India restricts travel of ‘Emigration Clearance Required’ passport holders to Qatar

India restricts travel of ‘Emigration Clearance Required’ passport holders to Qatar

By QLNews

Indian emigration authorities have restricted ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) passport holders from availing the visa-on-arrival facility announced by Qatar last year, Gulf Times reported, citing various sources.

QL user Captain Tsubasa first tweeted about this on May 28.

Qatar had introduced free visa-on-arrival facility for several nationalities, including Indians, last year. This came as a boon for many residents who wanted to bring their family members and friends on a visit to the country. 

Some airline representatives and travel agents confirmed they have got information from officials in India about the new directive, reported Gulf Times.

They stated that Indian airports will not allow ECR passport holders to travel to Qatar on the visa-on-arrival facility. 

Speaking to Gulf Times, a leading Indian airline official said they have received such a directive from officials in India and it has been in effect for more than a week.

“We’ve got this instruction and are following it. ECR passport holders will have to get the visa stamped on their passports to travel to Qatar,” he explained.

An official from a leading travel agency in Qatar said they have been advised not to issue tickets for ECR passport holders for the on-arrival visa facility.

“We’re no longer issuing tickets for such passport holders. We’re asking for the copies of pages of the passport to verify for ECR or ECNR (Emigration Clearance Not Required) status,” he said.

“We’ve got a message from two Indian airlines stating that as per the instructions received from the Indian Bureau of Immigration, ECR passport holders aren’t permitted to travel to Qatar on the visa-on-arrival facility while others can continue to avail of it.”

According to him, there was an instance where a passenger with an ECR passport was stopped at one of the airports in India. He also noted that it is suspected that many have been misusing the facility and that is the reason why Indian officials have implemented this new restriction.

However, it seems that such restrictions are not applicable to senior citizens who are visiting Qatar.

“My parents have come here availing the visa-on-arrival facility. They’re over 75 and were not stopped at the Indian airport. So, this restriction can only be applied to certain sections of people,” said an Indian resident whose parents reached Qatar a few days ago using the visa-on-arrival facility.

According to India’s Emigration Act, 1983, ECR passport holders require to obtain an “Emigration Clearance” from the office of Protector of Emigrants, Ministry of External Affairs, India for travelling to 18 countries, including Qatar.

One of the main factors that determines whether an Indian citizen requires an ECR stamp is not clearing the matriculation (Class 10) examination.

Picture courtesy: Quora.com

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By faizalahamed• 2 years 11 months ago.
faizalahamed

Ecr passport holder, what procedure to come on arrival visa???

By albyindia• 2 years 11 months ago.
albyindia

Is this restrictions still on? Any possibility to bring a person with ECR in their passport?

By Captain_Tsubasa• 3 years 4 months ago.
Captain_Tsubasa

This is very disappointing as Indian Bureau of Immigration (BOI), didn't inform in advance nor the airlines were properly informed. In addition I guess even Indian Embassy in Doha was not informed.

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