Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki
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Prepaid SIM cards used to be fairly straightforward to acquire all over the world. Buyers needed simply to walk up to any place that sells them from convenience stores to vending machines to branded mobile phone stops.  However for security reasons, most notably to facilitate law enforcement operations, an increasing number of countries have started to require some form of personal registration from mobile phone users. In almost all countries, registration doesn't prohibit the direct sale of prepaid SIM cards to visitors, but it may still make the process cumbersome. 

This table shows a summary of countries that require registration, and if so where visitors should go to register their SIM cards, what they need to bring, and other restrictions (e.g. maximum number of SIM cards).  Although some countries do not require registration but individual telcos do, this page focuses more on where compulsory SIM card registration is enshrined in national law or government regulations. In many cases, the registration happens at the point-of-purchase, meaning you will register the SIM at the same time you buy it (and will thus require identification at that point) but in some other cases, you may have to complete the registration yourself by going to the TelCo's website or branded store. This variety in SIM registration policies is due to various factors such as the cost and complexities of having registration infrastructure, differing attitudes and prioritisations given to data privacy, etc.

Africa[]

COUNTRY Registration required? Where to register What to bring Other Notes
Algeria YES point-of-sale official ID such as ID card or passport and/or visa (original + copy)

+ an Algerian address such as hotel address

Botswana passport
Egypt
Kenya An official Kenya ID or Passport.

(No Copies allowed only Original)

Malawi Passport
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Rwanda
Seychelles
South Sudan Designated as Warzone
Swaziland/eSwatini
Tanzania
Tunisia
Madagascar copy of passport
Burkina Faso valid ID document such as passport
Djibouti valid ID such as passport
Ghana passport or national biometric identity card such as driver's licence or Ghana Card
Sudan paper copies of passport

+ passport photos

Ethiopia Ethio Telecom stores copy of passport

+ one or two passport sized photographs

South Africa RICA-accredited agent (i.e., most point-of-sales) passport

+ accommodation address

-
Chad telco-branded store

(boutiques)

photo ID such as passport
Guinea passport
Mayotte (France) ID card or passport
Reunion (France)
Niger ID document such as passport
Angola telco-branded store passport with a valid visa
Cameroon ID such as passport max. three SIM cards per operator per subscriber on one name
Equatorial Guinea passport (original + copy)

+ two passport sized photos

Gabon two copies of passport and visa
Gambia ID such as passport
São Tomé and Príncipe Registration is mandatory and it can take up to 3 hours for the SIM to activate after registration.
Uganda
Somalia passport or any other form of approved ID document Designated as Warzone (excluding Somaliland)
Zambia passport

+ hotel address

Mali passport
Mozambique
Nigeria
Sierra Leone
Benin ID such as passport
Burundi
Senegal
Togo
Zimbabwe
Liberia telco-branded store or service point official ID card or passport
Ivory Coast telco-branded store or resellers passport or any other valid ID
Lesotho NO n/a

America[]

COUNTRY Registration required? Where to register What to bring Other Notes
Argentina
YES
point-of-sale ID card (DNI Argentino or Cédula del Mercosur) or passport procedure varies slightly per operator
Brazil passport CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física) is asked for, but not mandatory.
Bolivia telco-branded store
Canada
NO
n/a No ID necessary, but the store agent only asks for your name.
Colombia
YES
point-of-sale ID card or passport

+ address details

+ IMEI details of device with proof of purchase (if stay is 30+ days)

Costa Rica photo ID such as passport SIM cards need to be registered with Sutel, the national regulator: https://registroprepago.sutel.go.cr/, register your SIM card and wait for some hours to be activated.
Chile
NO - for stays shorter than 30 days using a device purchased overseas
online

for stays of 30+ days:

copy of passport + info about device manufacturer and model

+ screenshot of IMEI device

+completed registration form

Greylisted: IMEI registration required for longer stays (devices bought in the country don't need to go through this process)

Chilean tax number (RUT number for Rol Único Tributario in Spanish) might be asked for, if they insist on it (e.g. on an online form) just give 9 times 9 (e.g. 999999999).

Cuba YES ETECSA offices foreign passport or Cuban ID card (Cuban passport is not applicable) Greylisted as there are many strings attached.
Trinidad and Tobago Optional point-of-sale ID card or passport
Anguilla YES passport
Antigua and Barbuda
Bahamas
Dominica
Grenada
Honduras
Jamaica
Montserrat
Haiti ID such as passport or a copy of it
Guatemala ID such as passport
Belize authorized dealers
Dominican Republic telco-branded store passport or national ID card (cedula)
Barbados passport
British Virgin Islands (BVI, UK) Prepaid SIM cards are unavailable at any airports in the BVI.
Ecuador By law you have to be an Ecuadorian citizen to buy a SIM card. In practice it's easy to find a store that will activate it in someone else’s name, and then transfer it to you a few days later.
El Salvador
Uruguay passport (original only) Previously, the device was required to be declared at customs, but this is no longer obligatory. Formerly had to provide a local address (such as accomodation or hotel address) which is also not mandatory anymore.
Mexico
NO
n/a
Nicaragua
Panama
Paraguay YES point-of-sale ID card or passport

You need to complete a form prepared by the country’s communications regulator Conatel and provide a fingerprint.

Bonaire (Netherlands) government issued ID or passport
Curaçao (Netherlands)
Peru passport max. 10 prepaid lines per operator
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Turks and Caicos Islands
USA
NO
n/a

Asia Pacific[]

COUNTRY Registration required to activate general service? Registration required at point-of-sale (i.e. to take SIM card away or download eSIM) Where to register What to bring Maximum number of active SIM cards at a given time Other Notes
Abkhazia (Georgia)
NO
n/a
Afghanistan YES telco-branded store passport Designated as Warzone
Australia point-of-sale or online through telco's website passport or driving licence should be presented to sales point

+ Australian address (e.g. of accommodation)

Armenia point-of-sale passport
Azerbaijan point-of-sales of the operators passport and visa 5 SIM cards across all operators max. 5 SIM cards per person for all operators, country greylisted; IMEI registration required
Bangladesh point-of sale passport and visa (original + copy)

+ one or two passport size color photographs

Bhutan copy of passport and additional photo (for Tourist SIM)

Bhutanese ID Card/NRIC (for regular prepaid SIM)

UPDATE October 2023: While some Travel Agencies claim it is possible to obtain a regular SIM as a tourist, store clerks informed that you need a Bhutanese Identity Card in order to purchase a regular SIM and Foreign Passports are only able to get you one of the Tourist SIMs. Please be aware of this possible restriction before purchasing.
Brunei Darussalam telco-branded store, sometimes also possible in telco app passport
Cambodia passport with a valid visa
China, People's Republic of (PRC/Mainland China) telco-branded store or service point passport and proof of address in Mainland China such as hotel voucher, hotel address card, or temporary residence registration form
* proper termination of mobile service before leaving the country by visiting a telco-branded service point is required**

Facial recognition will be required to register new SIM cards.

Greylisted due to Great China Firewall censorship.
East Timor (Timor-Leste) telco-branded store passport
Fiji ID such as passport
French Polynesia (France) ID card, passport or a driving licence
New Caledonia (France) photo ID such as passport
Georgia (except Abkhazia and South Ossetia) ID document such as passport
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR (China) NO TelCo’s website or TelCo branded store Hong Kong residents: Hong Kong Identity card

Non-Hong Kong residents: passport

10 per TelCo Starting from September 1, 2021, carriers will start phasing in identity registration systems for mobile SIM cards, and then from March 1, 2022 to February 2023, the registration system will become mandatory.

But registration isn’t always immediately required to use data outside of Hong Kong,

Tonga
NO
n/a No ID is required, but the store agent just asks for your name.
Guam (USA) No prepaid registration required similar to the USA and Canada.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI, USA)
India
YES
point-of-sale 'Proof of Address' (POA) and 'Proof of Identity' (POI) such as Aadhar card, Passport, Voter’s ID and/or Driving License (original + copy)

+ visa page (original + copy)

+ passport sized photos

+ proof of address in India (a visiting card of a hotel may be enough or a hotel reservation/booking details or a letter from the hotel's front desk verifying that you are indeed staying there)

+ reference phone number (by example the phone number of someone working in your hotel or private invitation host contact details for data verification purposes under "Know your Customer" rules)

+ other official document (s) showing home address (only if the passport doesn't have a home address)

Greylisted

Driving License of Mumbai & Maharashtra will not be accepted as proof of address across India (source: https://www.myvi.in/new-connection/buy-prepaid-sim-connection-online)

Indonesia telco-branded store for foreigners & tourists: passport or e-KITAS (Electronic Limited Stay Permit, Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas Elektronik in Indonesian) or e-KITAP (Electronic Permanent Stay/Residence Permit, Kartu Izin Tinggal Tetap Elektronik in Indonesian)

for Indonesians: Indonesian National Registration Identity Card (NRIC, e-KTP for Kartu Tanda Penduduk Elektronik or KTP Elektronik in Indonesian) and Family Card (KK for Kartu Keluarga in Indonesian)

+ IMEI details of phone (for mobile devices bought overseas)

3 per telco IMEI registration regulations is enforced since 18 April 2020 (devices bought in the country don't need to go through this process)
Iran office of the providers passport and visa Greylisted: IMEI registration required within 30 days paying taxes.
Japan
Voice-enabled SIM cards are NOT possible to acquire for short-term visitors
NO (for data-only SIM cards only)
Greylisted because Japan does not permit the sale of most voice-enabled SIM cards to visitors.
Kazakhstan YES point-of-sale ID such as passport of a foreign citizen, a foreigner's residence permit in the Republic of Kazakhstan, a certificate of a stateless person or a diplomatic card IMEI registration required
Kyrgyzstan photo ID such as passport
Kiribati NO n/a
Laos NO

YES (for Unitel Data Roaming services)

telco-branded store ID such as passport Unitel requires your ID (such as passport) to be registered to your SIM to enable data roaming.
Macau SAR (China) YES SIM cards in Macau now require registration since the end of 2019.
Malaysia point-of-sale, sometimes also possible in telco app for Malaysians & Permanent Residents: NRIC (National Registration Identity Card) for Malaysians (MyKad for Kad Pengenalan Malaysia in Malay), NRIC for Permanent Residents, Malaysian Armed Forces or Police ID, or Temporary Identity Card (MyKas)

for foreigners & tourists: valid passport (original only) or work permit ID (i-Kad), and mailing address in Malaysia such as E-Kad, Student ID Card, Hotel Reservation/Booking Form, or latest utility bill

Maldives passport
Mongolia telco-branded store or service point ID card or passport or driving licence
Myanmar telco-branded store passport and visa (or passport stamp)
Nepal point-of-sale passport

+ passport-sized photo (if applicable)

New Zealand
NO
n/a
Cook Islands (NZ)
Pakistan YES

point-of-sale

passport and visa Greylisted: IMEI registration required, max. 5 devices per year
Philippines NO point-of-sale and online through the Telco’s website for foreign tourists: copy of passport with entry stamps or visas, return ticket out of the Philippines, and proof of address in the Philippines (such as hotel booking confirmation or letter from the hotel or affidavit of family and/or friends staying or residing in the Philippines)

for Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), long-term visa or residence permit holders: ACR card or DOLE cards

none Republic Act 11934, or the SIM Registration Law makes SIM card registration compulsory in order to facilitate criminal investigations involving mobile phones and deter crimes involving the same. The deadline to register an existing prepaid SIM card is 26th April 2023, unless extended. Tourist SIM cards automatically expire 30 days unless proof of visa extension is provided.
Singapore YES point-of-sale passport (original only, a photocopy is not acceptable), work permit Identification Card (issued from 3 May 1999), SAF11 B, SPF11 B and SCDF11 B, S Pass, EntrePass, work holiday pass, dependant's pass, long term pass, student's pass, employment pass, or NRIC (National Registration Identity Card) 3 across all TelCos
South Korea passport
Sri Lanka passport

+ recent passport-size photograph (if applicable)

Republic of China (Taiwan/ROC/Chinese Taipei) passport

+ second ID may be required such as driving licence, ID card etc.

1 per TelCo Second form of ID is no longer asked on Taiwan Mobile network; no ID required for FET Travel SIM.
Thailand point-of-sale and telco apps passport 5 per TelCo
Uzbekistan YES point-of-sale passport

+ temporary residence permit or hotel voucher

Greylisted: IMEI registration required since September 2019 when using longer than 30 days. Use USSD *1170# and have your uzbek phone number, IMEI and Passport number ready. You can pay the registration at one of the "PAYME" payment terminals, where change will be add to your SIM.
Tajikistan telco-branded store or service center passport, visa, and hotel registration (or hotel voucher), or other official ID documentation Greylisted: IMEI registration required since February 2023 for use with a local SIM beyond 30 days. If the device has been declared at the border on the T6 form, the import and registration into the IMEI database is free of charge.
Turkmenistan TM CELL shops passport, visa and address confirmation (registration) in Turkmenistan 2 active SIM cards Greylisted because of the many uncertainties about the 2nd provider and actual subscription regulations
Vietnam telco-branded store or large chain store such as Thegioididong, Fptshop, Hoanghamobile etc. passport 3 per TelCo

Europe[]

COUNTRY Registration required to activate general service ? Registration possible online ? Where to register What to bring Maximum number of active SIM cards at a given time Other Notes
🇦🇱 Albania telco-branded store photo ID such as passport

+ local address (such as hotel or accomodation address) in Albania

Andorra telco-branded store or online at sign-up (eSIM) Photo ID such as passport or ID card
🇦🇹 Austria

(Online verification for common passports)

telco-branded store or partner shops

+ post offices

+ online verification (for some passport holders only)

passport or ID card

+ fee (at some partner shops or post offices)

+ enrollment confirmation, a long-term employment contract or a declaration of main residence (to enable Magenta Prepaid and S-Budget Mobile Roam Like at Home services)

On Magenta Prepaid and S-Budget Mobile Roaming without surcharges in EU, EEA and UK is only available for people with a permanent residence in Austria. If you work, study or primarily life in Austria you can bring the enrollment confirmation, a long-term employment contract or declaration of main residence (=Meldezettel) to a Magenta store to get access to roam like at home. In other words, this means that tourists can't use roam like at home on Magenta Prepaid and S-Budget Mobile, but roaming add-ons can be used by tourists.
Belarus point-of-sale of the operators passport Be aware that some local shops don't know, how to deal with foreign (= not Belarusian or Russian) passports. So better stick to stores in railway stations or airports.
🇧🇪 Belgium telco-branded store or independent store at point of purchase (delays are possible) passport or ID card -
Bulgaria telco-branded store

+ big supermarkets

max. 10 SIM cards per person
Bosnia and Herzegovina n/a
Croatia
🇨🇾 Cyprus
🇨🇿 Czech Republic
🇩🇰 Denmark
🇪🇪 Estonia
🇫🇮 Finland
🇫🇷 France

Some operators accept online submission of ID.

point-of-sale passport, ID card, or driving licence
🇩🇪 Germany

(Online verification for common passports)

telco-branded store (for larger telcos)

+ agency-appointed stores (for smaller telcos)

+ independent mobile phone stores that sell SIM cards

+ online video verification (for selected passport holders only)

+ post offices

passport or national ID card

+ German address (accommodation address will suffice)

Registration is not required at the time of purchase but for activation and use.

Some stores will only take requests to register SIM cards purchased from them.

Results of online verification and at post offices may take some hours to process; in-store verification usually instant.

🇬🇷 Greece point-of-sale passport or national ID card
Hungary telco-branded store passport 10 prepaid subscribers are required to have their subscriptions verified annually to keep prepaid SIMs active,

max. 10 SIM cards per user

Iceland n/a
Ireland
Isle of Man (UK)
Italy point-of-sale passport or ID card Codice fiscale (tax code) might be asked for, but not a legal requirement.
Channel Islands (UK) n/a
Latvia
Lithuania point-of-sale ID (such as passport) and address in Lithuania On December 19th, 2023 the Lithuanian parliament passed an update to the Electronic Communications Law which would make registration for new prepaid SIM cards mandatory from 2025. (Source: https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/2153782/lithuania-adopts-compulsory-registration-of-sim-cards)
Luxembourg ✅ Submission of ID per e-mail possible ID card or passport
Montenegro
Malta n/a
Netherlands
North Macedonia point-of-sale photo ID (ID card or passport)
Northern Cyprus telco-branded store EU ID card or passport
🇳🇴 Norway telco-branded store

+ electronics stores that sell SIM cards

passport (all foreigners) or national ID card (EU/EEA citizens only) Supermarkets and non-electronics stores do not always activate SIM cards.
Poland telco-branded store

+ Ruch kiosks

+ post offices

residence permit, passport (all foreigners), or national ID card (Polish, EU/EEA citizens only) Independent electronics stores may sell SIM cards but they won't register them and will hence remain deactivated.
Portugal n/a
Romania
Moldova (except Transnistria)
Transnistria IDC stores passport pay in Transnistrian rubles
Russia telco-branded store passport with visa and stamp, as well as the migration card with an entry stamp on it, or certificate of registration at the place of temporary/permanent residence (so called "temporary/permanent propiska") -
Slovakia telco-branded store

+ online

passport or national ID card -
Serbia telco-branded store ID such as passport (if applicable) ID such as passport may be required at the branded stores.
Slovenia NO

YES (to enable international roaming for most offers)

point-of-sale ID such as passport, Slovenian address and a Slovenian Tax ID Number (TIN) From summer 2019 most providers require registration of a Slovenian address and a Slovenian Tax ID Number (TIN) to prove stable ties in order to roam abroad. So stay away from most offers for international use.
Spain for larger telcos: branded store

for smaller telcos/MVNOs: agent store or branded store

passport or national ID card (DNI for Documento nacional de identidad in Spanish) -
🇸🇪 Sweden

A few operators accept online verification for foreigners

point-of-sale for foreigners & tourists: foreign ID document such as passport

for local citizens: local ID document such as Swedish personal number (personnummer), bank ID, or a proof of residence in Sweden (work permit, study permit, residence permit, or proof of property ownership in Sweden)

Registration with Swedish personnummer (available only to Swedish residents) applies to online top-up and prepaid SIM (Kontantkort) purchase transactions.

Those without a Swedish personnummer (i.e. non-Swedish residents) may only purchase prepaid cards at brick-and-mortar outlets like TelCo shops and 7-Eleven.

Switzerland

For e-SIM some operators do online verification

passport or national ID card -
Turkey point-of-sale in branded stores passport or ID card

for use of 120+ days: IMEI details of phone

Greylisted; IMEI registration required within 120 days paying taxes.

Only 1 SIM can be linked per device

In practice, this concerns users who will stay longer than 120 days as there is a grace period. However, a user may encounter problems if he/she visits Turkey again in the future and wants to use the same device.

Ukraine
NO

YES (in Donetsk & Luhansk only)

point-of-sale

post offices & Phoenix offices (in Donetsk only)

post offices (in Luhansk only)

passport (in Donetsk & Luhansk only) Luhansk greylisted, Ukraine overall designated as Warzone; only 5 SIMs per person are allowed in Donetsk, and only 2 SIMs per person are allowed in Luhansk.
United Kingdom NO

YES (to disable the content lock)

point-of-sale in branded stores ID such as passport

Middle East[]

COUNTRY Registration required? Where to register What to bring Other notes
Bahrain point-of-sale passport max. 10 SIM cards per provider
Israel n/a
Jordan point-of-sales of the operators passport
Lebanon telco-branded store Greylisted: IMEI registration required within 90 days paying taxes.
Oman point-of-sale
Qatar
Saudi Arabia telco-branded store passport with visa stamp max. 2 SIM cards per user
Syria personal identification such as passport Designated as Warzone
UAE point-of-sale passport with visa stamp

Hi Timmy. Thanks for your work.

I've made a format proposal for this category. You can check it out through this link.

I think it's very hard to navigate through 5 big tables in an article on a small mobile device. 68% of all users access this wiki on their phone. So it might be better to make 5 tables and link it to one manual page through the icons or thumbnails of the continents.

Check it on your phone what looks better and tell me.

Hi TIMMY. This is from the admin.

  • please don't use bullet lists in tables. They get very broad in size. Don't forget that most users access this material on a small screen on a mobile device
  • please follow alphabetical order of the countries within tables
  • I removed "telco-branded stores" where there are "points of sale". This double calling doesn't make sense as a branded store is a point of sale.
  • please follow the categories of the main wiki. Middle East belongs to Asia and Asia and Oceania are two separate continents.
  • Japan is too negative. You get a SIM card, just not for voice, but for data from which you can VoIP calls.
  • These tables get very long. We might use a picture gallery like on the main page of the wiki showing the 5 continents and link each table behind this continent. What's your opinion on that?

Thanks for your work.

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