Yes, both tourists and foreign nationals visiting the Philippines are required to register their SIM cards. This requirement is in accordance with Republic Act No. 11934, also known as the SIM Registration Act.
Last year, the Philippines implemented SIM Registration Act with the aim of curbing fraudulent and criminal activities associated with SIM cards such as phishing, scamming, and extortion.
This law applies to all residents, visitors, including tourists and foreign nationals.
In a blog post on smart.com, the telco says that “It’s important to note that the registration process is different for Foreign Nationals residing in the country and tourists in the Philippines for a vacation.”
To register a prepaid SIM, you will need to provide essential documents and information, including your mobile number, full name, nationality, date of birth, and a selfie photo.
Tourists are required to present their passport, proof of address in the Philippines, and a return ticket or any document indicating their departure date. Non-tourist foreign nationals with other visa types must provide additional documents such as Alien Employment Permit or Alien Certificate of Registration Identification Card.
For non-tourist foreign nationals subscribed to Smart Postpaid plans, a simple text message with “YES” to 5858 will suffice, followed by a confirmation message.
Registered SIM cards for tourists are valid for 30 days only and will be deactivated automatically after this period. To extend your vacation and keep your SIM active, you must submit an approved visa extension while your SIM is still active.
To register your SIM, you can visit the SIM Registration Portal, which offers a quick and convenient process. Once you have completed the registration and submitted all necessary documents, wait for an SMS confirmation.
Note that the deadline for registration is July 25, 2023. Failure to register by this date will result in automatic deactivation of your SIM card. New SIM cards purchased in the country will also require registration before activation. Unregistered SIM cards will not function, preventing text messaging, calls, and mobile data access.