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Dubai Free SIM Card: Essential guide to staying connected 

Traveling to Dubai? Get your Dubai free SIM card once you arrive at the airport! Find out what you need and how to use it!

Julio Osuna

April 9, 2024

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The free SIM card for Dubai is a relatively new thing offered to travelers. But how does it work, and how can people get one? If you plan to travel there, keep reading to find out how to get yours!

How can I get a free SIM card in Dubai for tourists?

People traveling to Dubai have two different ways to get a free SIM card. No matter if travelers will stay for 24 hours, they will get access to it.

For those wondering, “How can I get a free SIM card in Dubai?” here’s a step-by-step guide to follow:

  • Before traveling, you need to ensure you have a valid visa and passport, as this is a requirement to get a Dubai SIM card at the airport.
  • People traveling to the Dubai International Airport or the Al Maktoum International Airport are eligible to get a SIM card. 
  • Travelers will be given free SIM cards for Dubai at the Passport Control counters at both airports after they review everything necessary to enter the country.
  • If the immigration agent doesn’t hand travelers a free Dubai SIM card, they can ask for it before leaving the airport.

There’s no need to ask for a free SIM card in Dubai before traveling. This is unless people get a SIM card from an international carrier, which will make the process different, but that’s not the case.

It’s important to know that the free Dubai SIM card includes 1GB of mobile data that works for 24 hours after activation. 

The activation process requires people to insert the SIM card on their mobiles and verify after receiving a message from 1220 and by calling 135 to choose the SIM’s language.

Requirements that you must meet to request the free SIM card

The requirements for getting a free SIM card in Dubai are not complicated to meet. In fact, most travelers will have them upon arrival.

  • Only people who are 18 years old or older can get a SIM card.
  • Travelers need to have a tourist visa for the UAE.
  • A valid passport or ID is required.
  • When activating the SIM card, the information sent to the activation must match the information in the immigration records.

There are no extra requirements for travelers to get a SIM card. It’s important to know travelers will get a ‘du SIM’, which is the company promoting this service at airports.

du logo. Source: Pinterest.

Where can you pick up the SIM card?

People picking up the free SIM card for Dubai will find it available at the immigration counters at any airport.

Whether people arrive at the Dubai International Airport or the Al Maktoum International Airport, the pick up point will be the same. There are also occasions when the immigration officers will hand the SIM card to travelers after checking their documents.

What does the free SIM card in Dubai include?

The free Dubai SIM card from du comes with the basic. After the activation process is completed, people will receive 1 GB of mobile data to spend in the next 24 hours. It also includes a phone number, but travelers won’t get text messages or phone calls after the activation.

But travelers have the chance to recharge this SIM card after the 24-hour period to add more working days to it!

How can I keep the free SIM card after the trial period?

For people to keep the free SIM card, the process is pretty easy. As said before, it will work for 24 hours with a basic package. But the du tourist data packages for the SIM work from 7 to 28 days!

These packages range from $13 for 2 GB of mobile data plus 30 minutes for phone calls to up to $135 for an unlimited data package that includes 400 minutes for calls. 

du sim card packages
du SIM card packages for tourists. Source: du.

Currently, there are 7 data packages offered by du for travelers. To get any of these packages, it’s necessary to visit a du kiosk!

Other alternatives to staying connected as a tourist

When visiting a place such as Dubai, it’s necessary to stay connected. As there are so many things to do in Dubai, chances are travelers will need an internet connection to know what places to visit and how to get there.

That’s why it’s necessary to have a proper method to get internet in Dubai. The SIM card is a good alternative, but the best packages are too expensive. So, let’s see the available alternatives for visitors.

eSIM with unlimited data for Dubai

One alternative that’s becoming popular among travelers is an eSIM for Dubai. This works similarly to a SIM card, but it’s only compatible with top-notch devices. But there’s no need to worry. Many devices are eSIM-compatible in 2024!

For us, the best eSIM option to take to Dubai comes with Holafly. The company currently offers different data packages to visit the city, including unlimited data. These packages vary from 5 to 20 days.

United Arab Emirates eSIM
United Arab Emirates eSIM for Dubai. Source: Holafly.

Prices for these eSIMs vary from $19 to $54, making them more accessible than the du SIM card in Dubai. The only downside is that it doesn’t include phone calls, but people can use apps like WhatsApp to call for free!

Roaming services for the city 

Depending on where people are traveling, there will be different roaming services available. Companies like Vodafone, T-Mobile, AT&T, Rogers, or Telstra offer roaming in Dubai, which is great for travelers.

People who use roaming will have access to their local data plan or maybe have to pay for each message, data, and phone call they make. This depends on the carrier they are using while in Dubai.

While it’s an advantage to access a local plan, the price for most roaming services is quite high. So, people have to prepare to pay at least $10 per day while roaming in Dubai.

Public WiFi networks in Dubai

Public WiFi is common in a city like Dubai. Many places, such as restaurants, malls, stores, and more, have open networks. There’s even free WiFi on the Dubai Airport, but is this the best option for travelers?

Travelers need to consider these open networks, as everyone can access them. Therefore, it’s not advisable to open personal information while using free WiFi to avoid issues.

The idea of using this comes from saving some money or data on your plan. So, use it only when you think it’s necessary!

Pocket WiFi in Dubai

One option for travelers in Dubai is taking a pocket WiFi. These are devices common to travelers who need to share data with their devices.

These devices are mostly rented, but people can also buy one. For those renting a pocket WiFi, it’s important to consider these have limited data and can cost a lot of money. These devices can cost up to $10 or more daily, so keep that in mind.

Overall, if you plan to travel with several devices or people, it might be a good idea, but it’s an expensive option for travelers.

FAQ about free SIM cards in Dubai

How much does a SIM card cost in Dubai?

The SIM card price will vary depending on which carrier people use in Dubai. Most prices vary from $13,50 to $27 from the different local carriers in Dubai.

Which SIM card is best for tourists in Dubai?

If you are preparing a Dubai travel guide and you want to include a SIM card on your itinerary, du and Etisalat are the best options in the city.  

Can I get a SIM card at Dubai Airport?

If you are in the Dubai airport visiting the best lounges, you can’t forget to pick up your SIM card after passing the immigration check!

Can I get a SIM in Dubai without an Emirates ID?

Yes. Travelers can get a free SIM or a paid SIM card in Dubai with their passport or local ID.