In Jira, the "Approvals" section is always based off of a user picker custom field. This might be the field "Approvers" it might not be. You can figure out what the field is like this:
1) Navigate to the project you want to query for issues from
2) Look at the workflow that requires approvals and click on the status that requires an approval
3) Identify the custom field being used.
In my case, this field is the approvers.
If I want to search for tickets like you are requesting, I would need to query for tickets where "Approvers is EMPTY".
If you cannot search for "IS EMPTY" and you get an error such as the following:
Field 'approvers' is not searchable, it is only sortable.
Go into your custom fields, locate the field you configured for your approval (in my case "Approvers") and click "Edit". Change the search template to "User Picker & Group searcher". Then kick off a reindex and search away!
Hope this helps!
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