Getting a SIM in India

Things you need

  1. Photocopy of your passport*
  2. A passport photo
  3. A copy of your visa*
  4. Your home address in the US
  5. Your father’s name

*if you don’t have copies of those, they may have a photocopier there. Or they may not.

The process

  1. Have an unlocked phone
  2. Find a shop that sells SIM cards. Vodaphone and idea both seem reliable.
  3. Tell them you want a SIM
  4. They’ll ask you for a copy of your passport, a passport photo, your visa, and then your home address (i.e. not in India) and your father’s name.
  5. SIM cards cost Rs. 150. and data is roughly Rs. 150/Gb. Tell them how much you want.
  6. They’ll give you your SIM card. SIM cards come in different sizes, but larger cards can be cut down to smaller sizes. If you’re not sure what size SIM card you need, ask and they can check for you by taking out your current SIM card. Be sure to keep track of your current SIM card—you’ll need it when you get back home.
  7. The shop will give you a phone number to call in about a day. Until you call this number, your phone will have signal, but you’ll only be able to make emergency calls.
  8. The next evening, call the number they gave you. Generally, the person on the other line will speak enough English to understand that you’re a foreigner and will transfer you to someone else who deals with foreign SIM activations. Just stay on the line until you get someone who speaks English. They will ask you for your name, address, and your father’s name.
  9. You’re done! It can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to get full service.