How to buy a SIM Card in India for digital nomads (2023)

The image shows a sim card in India and various indian monuments

Getting a SIM Card in India, like any other foreign country can make or break your experience. A good network connection can help you save money, stay connected and have a backup in case your WiFi stops working. No matter where you go, there will always be someone waiting to take advantage of you. That’s why it’s better to go prepared, armed with knowledge and planning!

If you are a digital nomad or remote worker planning to work from India, this guide on finding the best sim card in India will help you.

Table of Contents

What is a SIM Card?

A sim card is a small chip provided by your telecom service provider to keep you connected through calls and the internet. It needs to be inserted into your phone to make it functional. One country’s SIM Card may or may not work in another country. Ideally, most network providers offer international roaming plans on their SIM Cards for people travelling outside. However, these are generally uneconomical compared to buying a SIM card locally.

Why get a local SIM Card in India?

There are multiple reasons to get a local SIM Card, especially if you are planning to stay for a long time.

  1. Primarily, the monthly prepaid and postpaid SIM plans in India are much cheaper than any international roaming pack you could get.
  2. Large parts of India are rural and local SIM Cards will have better connectivity than an international SIM Card that might just work in the larger cities.
  3. You get combination packages with data, SIM calling and free SMS.

Reliable Indian SIM Card Providers

Currently, 3 SIM Card providers are available in India: 
–  Airtel
– Jio 
–  Vodafone-Idea

While Airtel does have the most active subscribers, Jio and Vodafone-Idea are not far behind.  

Ideally, opting for Airtel and Jio helps you have connectivity throughout your time in India, since different SIM Cards in India work in different regions.

What documents do I need to get a SIM Card in India?

While getting a SIM card as a foreigner in India might seem complicated, it is actually really simple. You just need to visit a local outlet with the following documents:

  • Passport + Copy
  • VISA + Copy
  • Passport Photo (2 copies)
  • Reference of a local (not compulsory, although they might ask for it at an outlet)


You can find the closest local outlet by visiting the respective website or just searching the service provider’s name on your Maps application.

Indian SIM Card for US citizens

Generally, phones sold in the USA are locked i.e. you cannot add a physical SIM Card into them. so, if you are a digital nomad from the USA travelling to India, make sure to get your phone unlocked. You can even look up e-sim options in India for a more seamless experience.

SIM Card at airport in India

Getting a SIM Card at an Indian airport is extremely easy as well.


The following list shows where you can get SIM Card at Airport India:

Airtel SIM Card: Mumbai Airport, Delhi Airport, Bengaluru Airport

(Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai, The Indira Gandhi International Airport Delhi and the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru

That means you can find a SIM Card in India at the Mumbai Airport, Delhi Airport and Bengaluru Airport.

What documents do I need to get a SIM Card at an airport in India?
All you need is a passport to avail monthly, rechargeable package that offers 1.5GB data daily along with free calls all over India. It only costs, INR 450 (4-5 USD)!

Need a SIM Card in India?

If you are travelling to India, you can get a SIM Card at an airport in India, book a SIM Card online or ask your hotel reception to help you out. You can also pick it up at a local store, but make sure to check the prices online before you do.

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