Home SIM Cards How to get a local SIM card around the world

How to get a local SIM card around the world

by Fiorella
How to get a local SIM card when traveling

List of requirements for tourists and new residents in several countries around the globe.

International packages or roaming services are extremely expensive in most of the cases. On the other hand, buying a local SIM card seems to be the most convenient idea to stay connected with family and friends. You’ll be able to enjoy the same benefits you would with a prepaid SIM card at home, such as:

  • Very low charges for a great phone call, text and data service
  • A one-time investment for one-time use: get your SIM card with prepaid plans that best fit your needs.
  • You can check your credit in real time dialing the operator number
  • Great data connection all over the nation

Firstly, to opt for a local SIM card you must use an unlocked phone. If this is your case, you must continue reading as the list of requirements does not stop right there. Most importantly because it depends on your destination.

Buying a SIM card in Europe as a tourist

In short, this is what we can briefly say about Europe:

Since June 2017, a new legislation came into action. This law mandates mobile operators to eliminate roaming charges across the EU. In other words, Europeans can feel free to “roam like at home” when traveling to any of the 31 destinations within this new agreement. Firstly, all 28 countries of the EU, and the members of the European Economic Area (EEA): Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.

But the story is completely different if you travel from a different continent. To clarify, every country may demand a registration process to get a local SIM card as dictated by their local laws. Actually, this is certainly the true for many other countries around the globe.

For instance, we think the best way to let you know the requirements in the most common destinations worldwide is by using a summary table per continent. Check out bellow according to your case:

Buying a SIM card in Europe: Tourists from another continent

Here is a list of European countries requiring SIM card registration. They all request passport presentation and additionally, some other information as enlisted below:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France: Passport or driving license
  • Germany: Another national ID card
  • Greece: Another national ID card
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Norway: Passport (all foreigners) or another national ID card (EU/EEA citizens only)
  • Poland: Passport (all foreigners) or another national ID card (EU/EEA citizens only)
  • Russia: Passport with VISA and stamp
  • Slovakia : Another national ID card
  • Spain: Passport
  • Switzerland: Passport or another national ID card
  • Turkey: IMEI details of phone

List of European countries that do not request ID registration

  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

Requirements for a tourist to get a local SIM card in Asian/Pacific countries

Here is a list of Asian/Pacific countries to sum up their requirements for proper SIM card registration. They all request passport presentation and additionally, some other information as enlisted below:

  • Australia: Passport or driving license. Also Australian address (e.g. of accommodation)
  • China
  • India
    • Passport (original + copy)
    • Visa page (original + copy)
    • Passport photos
    • Proof of address
  • Indonesia
  • Japan: Passport. They only sell voice-enable SIM cards
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan: A second ID may be required (driver’s license or ID card, for example)
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Some nations in Asia and the Pacific do not request ID registration, for example: Hong Kong, Macau, New Zealand and the Philippines

Buying a local SIM card in America

Here is a shortlist with a few countries in the American continent to sum up their ID requirements for a tourist to get a local SIM card.

  • Argentina: ID card
  • Brazil: Passport
  • Colombia
    • ID card
    • Address details
    • IMEI details of the device with proof of purchase (especially if staying longer than 30 days)
  • Peru: Passport

Subsequently, Canada, Chile, Mexico and USA are some of the American countries that do not require an ID registration to get a SIM card.

How can a tourist get a local SIM card in Africa?

Regarding some of the many destinations found in the African country, we can only affirm by now that Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria request client’s Passport to sell them a local SIM card.

Getting a SIM card in Middle East countries

Meanwhile, mobile operators in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates claim the tourist to bring their Passport with visa stamp to sell them a local SIM card.

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