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How to Buy a Prepaid SIM Card in India as a Foreigner

Guard your bank balance by opting for a local mobile number of the country you are travelling to, rather than activating international roaming schemes to your local number. These international roaming packages sound like a saving option but these “reduced” tariff plans are rather swindle. 

Especially if you are a budget traveler who is saving money in every step of your journey then this is a certain attribute that nobody would want to splurge in. You obviously need to connect with your loved ones and with the people who care for you, but make sure that you are not doing it at the cost of your savings from your hard-earned money.  One smart move that you need to take is to apply for a local SIM card of the country you are traveling to.

Buy Prepaid SIM Card in India

SIM card is a 25mm long and 15 mm wide chip which is placed usually at the back of the cell-phones, though there are now mobile phones which accepts SIMs of even smaller size (namely Micro SIM and Nano SIM). You cannot make calls unless your phone has a portable of embedded SIM in it.

India is a country with large cellular networks, where we have more cell-phones and mobile numbers than the number of people here. This has lead to an intricate competition amongst the cellular network providers; and wider opportunities for the costumers to get the best saving and sometimes even free tariff schemes.  So, while you are planning to visit this effervescent country with vibrant cultures, you better opt for a local SIM card and do some favor to your funds. Let us first start by introducing you to the best cellular network providers with best network coverage and cheap tariffs in India.

This British telecommunication company has also exhibited its dedication to its work and customer satisfaction in India too. Digging its mark since 1997, Vodafone is rated to be second best cellular company internationally. In India, Vodafone doesn’t fail to provide a flawless network even if you are in the hills or some of the isolated locations of the country and that too in some unbeatable calling and data tariffs.

This Indian Multi-national cellular brand rubs its shoulder with Vodafone. It provides amazing network coverage at best value for money. There also are numerous tariff plans in Airtel too, which are purely beneficial.

This Indian mobile network operating brand also has booked an impressive niche in the market.  The network coverage is nice but might betray you if you are in hilly or isolated regions of the country. Though again there are some unbeatable tariff-plans designed keeping in mind your usage and the value of a penny’s worth.

Now that you know the best cellular network providing companies of India, you need to know where from you can apply or get the SIM card.

  • Online application
  • Kiosks at the airport
  • Company’s service centre
  • Local recharge shops
TIME: It usually takes about ten minutes to get the SIM card and at least four hours and maximum 24 hours to get the number activated after you make a confirmation call to a certain number which will be told by the dealers.

COST: A new SIM card usually costs somewhere around Rs. 300 with three months validity and justified talk-time balance. Though there are some dealers who sell SIMs at the cost as low as Rs. 50 but these do not have balance already. Both are similar deals.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Keep the original and photocopy of the following documents. Your original documents will be returned back after the dealer skims through it to check the originality.
  • Indian Visa
  • 2 Passport size photographs: Make sure you have your latest passport size photographs with preferably white background.
  • Proof of where you are staying in the country: You can show your hotel check-in slip or receipt
  • Passport: The details from the personal page of the passport is required to show you are a tourist and can also be used as the requirement listed in number five.
  • Proof of your home address: This could be any ONE (or two) document issued by the government of your home country; like passport, driving license, voter identification and others.


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