SIM Card Physical Verification Process in India is Going Away from Jan 1, 2024

The Department of Telecommunication has announced its decision to scrap physical verification for SIM cards from January 1, 2024.

  • The Department of Telecommunication has announced new methods for SIM card verification.
  • This will mean the end of paper-based verification process in the future.
  • The new SIM card rules were enacted on December 1.

The Government of India introduced various new rules for SIM cards in August 2023. The new laws have come into effect from December 1 in the country. As part of the new rules, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued a new directive to get rid of the physical verification process for SIM cards. A report from the Economic Times has stated that DoT will switch to the new verification process from January 1, 2024.

The notification issued by the department addresses the Unified Access Services (UAS) and Unified License (UL) holders in the country with access service authorization licenses.

India to Switch to Digital Verification for SIM cards from 2024

DoT’s notification has asked all UAS and UL license holders to drop the use of the paper-based KYC (Know Your Customer) process. This will mean the elimination of physical verifications followed in multiple parts of the country. The instructions for the physical verification process of SIM cards dated August 9, 2012, will cease to exist from January 1, 2024.

The notification also reveals that the other terms and conditions of the 2012 notification will continue to exist unless amended from time to time. One of the reasons behind ditching physical verification for SIM cards is the various amendments made to the existing KYC framework by the Government over multiple years.

The latest notification from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) states that a paper-based verification process which involves filling out a customer acquisition form (CAF), inserting a photograph on the CAF, annexing of proof of identity (Pol) and proof of address (PoA) will be scrapped. The new digital verification for verifying SIM cards will help the Government combat SIM fraud, according to the report.

It should be noted that the new rules by DoT also ban bulk sale of mobile SIMs. Further, point-of-sale (PoS) agents have to sign an agreement with the telecom provider, promising no illegal activities. Violating the agreement could mean a permanent ban for such agents.