India Tightens Rules for SIM Card Sales to Foreign Visitors, Tourists

The DoT, through its new set of guidelines, is seemingly giving an additional watchdog responsibility to Telecom providers whereby they will have to keep a check on SIM sellers or franchisees who may be involved in selling SIMs without obtaining proper documentation from subscribers. The ministry has said that in case such sellers or franchisees are found, telecom operators will have to pay the price.

Further, the validity of a new mobile connection for visitors holding a foreign visa will be tied to the duration of their visa. “Any mobile connection issued to a foreigner should not have a validity beyond the validity of the visa,” read the guidelines which have been vetted by the DoT.

Foreign visitors who are looking for a new SIM will now be required to fill in a Consumer Application Form (CAF), supply proof of address in India, and supply their passport with visa information.

These restrictions have been put as cybercrime in India is on a rise and many of these have been linked with foreigners. Police in one of the states, Kerala have reported that 2011 saw a total of 80,000+ cybercrime-related complaints. Out of these most of the crimes were committed using hand-held devices.