NAT 190704 tourists AIRPORT-1562264125052
"Tourists will get the SIM card from the passport control officer on arrival as a gift." Dubai airport picture for illustrative purpose. Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: Tourists arriving in the UAE will soon be gifted free mobile phone SIM cards with free data, international calling minutes and text messages, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship announced in Abu Dhabi.

The free tourist friendly SIM cards will be valid for a month and they will get automatically renewed if the tourist extends their visa.

The agreement between the authority and TeleKomNow was signed at the authority’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday by Colonel Khamees Al Kaabi, executive director for Musanada Services at the authority and Charbel Fawaz Litany, chairman and CEO of TeleKomNow.

“Tourists will get the SIM card from the passport control officer on arrival as a gift,” Litany told Gulf News. “It will contain data and talk time, which they can recharge anywhere in the country.”

Available within a month

He said that the sims would be available within a month and will contain 20MB of data, three minutes talk time local or international with five free SMSs depending on the usage of minutes.

Etisalat and du will be the service providers for the new facility to tourists and the services will remain the same throughout the year, Litany added. “It will be valid as long as the tourist stays in the country, and upon the extension of their visa the card will automatically get validated until the expiry of the visa,” he said.

“Tourists don’t need to do anything and no documentation is required to obtain the card,” he added.

Similar services were announced for tourists in Dubai last month by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) where they can enjoy a free sim card complete with complimentary talk time and data upon their arrival at the airport.

Handed out at immigration, once the tourist inserts the card and enters their identification and arrival dates their service will be immediately activated and within two minutes the tourist can use the facility.

The authority’s announcement comes after General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai said tourists in Dubai can enjoy a free Sim card, complete with complimentary talk time and data, on their arrival at the airport.

Major General Mohammad Al Merri, Director-General of GDRFA, said the Sim card is valid for one month with three minutes talk time and 20mb data free.

“The initiative is the first of its kind in the world. Dubai is the first destination in the world to provide free Sim cards to visitors,” Major General Al Merri said.

What is free: SIM card. 20 MB Data, three minutes of talk time. Five SMS.

Validity: As long as visitor remains in UAE.