20210824 dubai airport
Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Have you just moved to the UAE on a new job or to live with your family? If you are a new resident, still trying to sort out all your paperwork, you may be wondering how you can apply for a SIM card. Here is all you need to know about the requirements you need to fulfil to apply for a SIM card and what your options are for getting a mobile phone line.

Can I get a postpaid or prepaid line right after I land in the UAE?

The requirements for getting a SIM card are set by the UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA). As per TDRA’s regulations, an applicant must provide an Emirates ID, along with other supporting documents, to apply for a SIM card.

However, if you have just landed in the UAE and your residency-related paperwork is still under process, you can apply for a tourist or visitor’s line, which is offered by both the main telecommunications operators in the UAE – Etisalat and du. Once you have an Emirates ID, you can convert the line into a prepaid or postpaid number.

Etisalat – Visitor line

Etisalat offers customers a visitor line, which can be applied for by anyone new to the UAE, as it only requires you to present your passport.

However, the number is only active for 90 days. If you are a new resident in the UAE and still in the process of applying for your visa, you can get a visitor line and then convert it to a postpaid or prepaid number once you get your Emirates ID.

How can I get a SIM card?

It is important to note that along with the SIM card you will need to get a prepaid pack, which will have a certain number of call minutes and internet browsing data loaded in it. Once you choose a pack suitable for your phone usage, you can purchase the SIM card through the following methods:

- Purchase it online, through etisalat.ae
- Visit an Etisalat business centre or kiosk.
- Stop at the Etisalat kiosk at Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah International Airport.
- Visiting an Etisalat centre at the airport, or at a mall in the UAE.

du – Tourist plan

du also offers customers with a Tourist Plan, which you can purchase until you have your valid Emirates ID required to buy a prepaid or postpaid mobile line.

How can I get a SIM card?

According to du, you can book the Tourist SIM online even before you arrive in the country, by following these steps:

- Visit du.ae/tourist.
- Click on Book Now
- Provide your name and email.
- Collect and pay for your Tourist SIM pack at any du retail store including airport terminals stores in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah upon your arrival in the UAE.

You can also apply for the Tourist SIM at any of the du business centres and shops, once you are in the UAE.

Virgin Mobile – Tourist SIM

Virgin Mobile offers a Tourist SIM with a 7-, 10- or 15-day duration. Tourist plans are a one-time purchase that once expired, automatically convert to a 'Pay As You Go' plan. This can then be changed to an active plan once you get an Emirates ID.

How can I get a SIM card?

You can purchase the SIM card from kiosks at the Arrivals area in Dubai Airport’s Terminal 2 Terminal 3, Sharjah International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport. You can also purchase the SIM card online and have it delivered to your location. The verification takes place at your doorstep too as the SIM is delivered.

How can I convert a tourist or visitor line to a prepaid or postpaid line?

Once you have received your Emirates ID, you can visit an Etisalat or du store and provide your Emirates ID. Virgin Mobile allows customers to update their Emirates ID online, through the Virgin Mobile app. However, you may be asked to visit a store for verification purposes, if needed.

Conditions to apply for a postpaid line

If you are applying for a postpaid line, you would also be required to provide any of the following supporting documents:

- Stamped salary certificate (minimum salary: Dh2,500)
- Vehicle licence
- Three months bank/online bank statement
- Previous month’s utility bill with physical address
- Tenancy/ownership contract
- Your labour contract (showing a minimum salary of Dh2,500)