When you want a new SIM, the first question that may arise is which documents are accepted when taking that SIM card. Nowadays, most people buy SIM cards based on Aadhaar cards in India. But do you know there are more than 20 other documents that let you take a SIM card in India after purchase? This is good news for those people who still don’t have one. Those same documents can be used to port your SIM mobile number as well.
These days people prefer to port their existing phone number if they don’t like the service of their current network provider. Number portability allows you to retain your existing phone number while changing the service provider. But if you want to get a new number, you will have to buy a new SIM card altogether.
What to provide to buy a SIM card?
To buy a new SIM card, you first need to visit a retailer or the official outlet of the service provider whose SIM card you want to purchase. You will also require any of the many documents listed further in this article. The preferred document in India is the Aadhaar card, which requires your full name, date of birth, and complete address. Before the dawn of the Aadhaar card, documents like voter ID cards, driving licenses, ration cards, passports, and so on were popularly in use. The same applies in many countries worldwide—some documents are superior due to the information they contain.
Why is the Aadhaar card the most popular ID in India?
After the Aadhaar card was launched, it started becoming better-known and more often used as a legal identity proof in India. It was so because you can do several things with it. For instance, you may take out money from your bank account, and register yourself to many places like educational institutions. This single identity card is the strongest proof in the country now and the go-to choice whenever you need to authenticate yourself. Consequently, you don’t need to carry other personal documents or evidence of identity. Hence, it’s among the preferred documents accepted when you are taking a new SIM card.
Which documents are valid when you take a SIM card?
As per the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in India, there are a variety of documents considered valid to obtain a new SIM card. All these records have your name, date of birth, and address—that’s what they have in common. These documents are:
- Aadhar Card
- Voter ID Card
- Driving License
- Domicile Certificate
- Government Employee ID Card
- Arms License
- Vehicle Registration Certificate
- Refugee Card
- Photo Address Card – Post Office
- Certificate From Embassy
- Freedom Fighter Card
- Senior Citizen Card
- Medical Council Identity Card
- Pensioners Card
- Ration Card With Address
- Water Bill
- Electricity Bill
- Health Service Card Central Government
- Health Service Card State Government
- Telephone Bill Landline
- Kissan Passbook
- Photo Address Certificate
- Photo Smart Card
The documents above also serve as proof of your photo. Apart from them, you also need to carry your passport size photograph. In some states, only one photograph is enough. In others, four photographs are needed. Therefore, the exact requirements depend on the state you are living in. Remember that in some states like Jammu & Kashmir and North East India, some documents may not be considered valid. For more information, you can contact your mobile network provider’s helpline number.
Buying a SIM card? Here are some invalid documents
Some important documents like a PAN card are not valid when you try to purchase a SIM card. That’s because it doesn’t have your address. Similarly, your matriculation mark sheet/certificate or your student ID card is also an improper document for this purpose. To sum up, documents that don’t have a date of birth or address are not proper for buying a SIM card in India.
It is essential to remember that the legal age to buy a SIM card is 18 years in India. Companies like Vi (Vodafone Idea) used to provide SIM cards at 16 years of age earlier. However, in line with the latest laws, no person below 18 is eligible to get a SIM card in their name even if they have valid documents on the list above.
Documents needed to purchase SIM cards as a foreigner
If you are a foreign individual in India then the documents required to obtain a SIM card will be different from the citizens of India. If you are in India for a limited duration and want to get a prepaid SIM card (same as Pay As You Go SIM cards), visit the nearest outlet of your desired service provider. Take your passport and its photocopy, your visa’s photocopy, and your four passport size photographs.
If you want to get a postpaid SIM card, the process becomes slightly more difficult. The documents could vary slightly from carrier to carrier. It is better to go to the outlet with an Indian national who can vouch for you. They could be your friend, relative, or co-worker. Besides the documents above, you must bring details of a local reference, and proof of your local address.
This means you need to provide the contact details of any Indian national you know (they must be trustworthy). You will also need to provide address confirmation of your location within India, such as an electricity bill or rent agreement. Your service provider may cross-check the address proof you have provided and send a representative to the given address within a week of issuing the postpaid SIM card.
In case you are an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder, you will be required to produce the card along with its photocopy while obtaining a SIM card. The SIM card activation time differs from carrier to carrier. Generally, some carriers take 2 to 3 hours, while others may take up to 24 hours. It is important to note that submission of a bogus or manipulated document can lead to severe legal actions, i.e., punishments.