NRIs Can Verify SIM Without Aadhaar

With the Indian Government implementing newer regulations for the residents of India every day, the implications of these are not always clear with respect to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). Not to mention, that the system is not always equipped to handle the intricacies that come with NRIs. However, in a recent announcement made by the Department of Telecommunication, it has clarified how a NRI and/or an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holder can re-verify his India-based Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) which allows him to then use his mobile phone.

Originally, all resident mobile users were expected to link their mobile numbers with their SIM card on their mobile phone. This left the visiting NRI and OCI community in the lurch because they are not eligible for an Aadhaar card or whose mobile number was not initially registered with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIdAI) and therefore, were unable to utilize a mobile phone without verification and re-verification of the requisite SIM card.

Things to remember for NRIs and OCIs using Mobile Phones in India

  • A SIM card is a small microchip to be inserted within your mobile device that carries an identification number unique to the owner and connects to a particular phone network.
  • Purchase a SIM card for your mobile device from vendor.
  • If SIM card is bought at a telecom service provider like Jio or Airtel outlets, there may not be a re-verification required for the SIM card. The first verification is done by the service provider itself.
  • The transaction requires a copy of the passport, visa and a photograph.
  • If the NRI or OCI buys the SIM card from any other vendor then he needs to fill out a simple online form available on the website of the service provider.
  • This website requires the NRI or OCI card holder to verify the mobile number and upload identification records like copies of passport and visa as well as a colored photograph.
  • In response, the service provider will send out a unique, eight character transaction ID which should be shared with a “trusted person” who should be a local with a Aadhaar.
  • This local subscriber then initiates an OTP based authentication, by entering that transaction ID and the NRIs mobile number on the service provider’s website.
  • This in under 96 hours, takes care of re-verification process and he is ready to use his mobile device.
  • For NRIs who may not have a trusted person with an Aadhaar among the locals, he can execute the same process through the vendor from who he purchases the SIM. and the vendor acts the person to verify the OTP authentication.
  • Moreover, US passport holders can get a free SIM card at most international airports in India. They have to show a valid foreign passport and a copy of their e-visa.
  • India offers e-visa or visa on arrival for several international countries. Travelers from these countries who avail of a e-visa can show a copy of it to claim a free SIM card from a state-run telecom operator.
  • This is loaded with a credit amount of Rs. 50 to make calls and 50 MB of data for internet usage.
  • International travelers will have access to a helpline as well as a kit that contains maps, brochures for popular tourism destinations.
  • The process of SIM verification for NRIs and OCIs is expected to be streamlined and operational by January 1, 2018.

Find more on how the NRI and OCI card holder is exempted from the mandatory obligations of linking Aadhaar to mobile devices, bank account, etc. at No Link Between Aadhaar and NRI