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When traveling abroad, one of the first things you’ll need to think about is how to stay connected. Sure, you can pay for extra roaming charges through your wireless provider back home — in fact, many of them are getting better about their international service offerings — but sometimes it’s best to have a local option.
Today, the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) announced that travelers coming to India with an e-visa through Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in New Delhi will now receive a free local SIM card upon arrival. In the future, IATO also plans to roll out a similar service at 15 additional Indian airports where e-visa facilities are available.
The SIM card will be provided by state-run telecom operator BSNL and will come pre-loaded with 50 rupees (~$0.85) worth of credit, which can be used for making calls, as well as 50 MB worth of data. SIM cards will remain valid for one month, and you’ll have access to the 24-hour helpline, which is available in 12 different languages.
In order to score a free SIM card upon arrival, you’ll just need to present a copy of your e-visa and a copy of the first page of your passport, a drastic change for tourists who previously had to go through a tedious process of submitting proof of identity, a photocopy of their passport with a valid visa stamp, proof of address, the address of a local reference and photographs just to get an Indian SIM card. The new process is significantly less intense than the old one, which could take several days just to activate.
Note that you’ll need to have an e-visa and in order to get one of those, you must be a citizen of one of these 150+ countries, and the purpose of your visit must be for recreational, medical or casual business purposes. You must then apply and pay the visa fee online.
Overall, this is a great offer from the Indian government. From now on, when you’re landing at DEL, making that call or posting to your social media account to let everyone back home know you got there safely will be easier than ever.
Featured image courtesy of Dilwar Photography via Getty Images.
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