The government had recently clarified that Aadhaar numbers are no longer mandatory for citizens to get a new SIM card or a mobile connection after the Supreme Court ruling. Now, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has notified to all telecom operators across the country to enable Virtual ID (Aadhaar e-KYC service) and limited KYC processes for new SIM card registration. This is also applicable for re-verification of existing mobile subscribers. This will come into effect starting July 1.
Note that while Virtual ID and limited eKYC are both a part of the Aadhaar ecosystem, the major difference is that it doesn’t share the citizen’s Aadhaar number. Only relevant information is accessed and used for verification by the telecom operator. Also, those who do not have an Aadhaar number, especially NRIs and foreigners, can still get a new mobile SIM and connection by producing other government-issued IDs. Telcos will have to make the necessary changes to accommodate Virtual IDs on their systems before July 1.
If you have an Aadhaar card but do not want to share your unique Aadhaar number then you can opt for the Virtual ID.
What is Virtual ID?
It is a random 16-digit number that is mapped to a citizens’s Aadhaar number. It can generated anytime from the UIDAI website (https://resident.uidai.gov.in/web/resident/vidgeneration) by the user by entering his/her Aadhaar number. Note that the user is required to have mobile number linked to his/her Aadhaar card to use this service as the OTP comes on it. If the user does not have the mobile number linked to Aadhaar then he/she will have to visit the local Aadhaar centre nearby..
While this Virtual ID will be mapped to the Aadhaar number, it will be masked by UIDAI and third-parties will not get to know the exact Aadhaar number and other details. The DoT has categorically stated that the telecom operator cannot store any Aadhaar-related data or the Virtual ID on their systems.
What is limited KYC?
With this, only relevant data will be provided to a third party agency (read telecom operators) and other details including Aadhaar number will not be provided. “For all eKYC requests by telecom service providers (TSP), UIDAI as part of limited KYC response will share demographic data that is name, gender, date of birth and address along with face photo and UID token. Aadhaar number will not be shared with the TSP by UIDAI as part of limited KYC response,” DoT said in its circular.
While adding Virtual IDs for telecom operators may mean extra work at backend, limited KYC will allow them to go paperless without storing Aadhaar number and would be fast to implement. Read the full DoT circular here. http://dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/Virtual%20ID%20-Final.PDF?download=1
Further, to get a new SIM, you basically need two types of documents — proof of identity and proof of address — along with two recent colour passport size photographs.
For foreigners visiting India, Airtel gives them the option to get a SIM by giving copies of their passport, visa and photograph at an Airtel store. However, for telcos like Jio, Vodafone, Idea, they may ask for proof of residence (this means hotel details) along with a reference of a local person in the place they are visiting.
The list of acceptable documents for proof of identity includes passport, PAN card, voter ID card, driving license among others. For proof of address, the list of acceptable documents includes electricity bill, landline bill of BSNL, passport, driving license among others. Photocopy of any one in both the categories should do. In some cases, retailers might ask for additonal documents (in this list) if Aadhaar is not provided.