Traveling to New York offers a thrilling adventure with a bustling metropolis renowned for its iconic skyline, cultural diversity, and vibrant arts scene. Yet, a major worry for foreigners in a foreign land is maintaining communication. It’s crucial to have a local SIM card for necessities like navigation, translation tools, and keeping in contact with family and friends

How to buy SIM card in New York

I. Should I get a SIM Card in New York?

The short answer is yes. As a visitor to a new city, having a reliable way to stay connected is crucial. You may need to contact your accommodation, navigate using maps, book transportation, or contact friends and family back home. With a local SIM card, you may refrain from paying exorbitant roaming fees or relying on public Wi-Fi, which can be unreliable and secure.

Using a cell phone In New York
Using a cell phone in New York

II. Best New York SIM Cards and cost

In the US, there are three major mobile operators: T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon. To help you find the best prepaid SIM card in New York, we have listed the top recommendations of these mobile operators in New York: 

Mobile OperatorsT-MobileAT&TVerizon
Premium Data100GB100GB50GB100GB50GBNone15GBUnlimited (plan)Unlimited plus plan
Talk & textUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-speed dataUnlimited 5G & 4G LTE with 100GB of Premium DataUnlimited 5G & 4G LTE with 100GB of Premium DataUnlimited 5G & 4G LTE with 50GB of Premium Data5G Ultra Wideband5G Ultra Wideband4G LTEBoth 5G & 4G LTEBoth 5G & 4G LTE50 GB premium network access, then unlimited data
Mobile hotspot15GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data included. Unlimited mobile hotspot data at max 3G speeds after 15GB.5GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data included. Unlimited mobile hotspot data at max 3G speeds after 5GB.Unlimited 3G hotspot included. An optional high-speed hotspot is available.50 GB15 GB3 GBShare your wireless network connection with other devices over Wi-Fi.Mobile Hotspot includes 5 GB of 5G /4G LTE data, then speeds up to 600 Kbps for the remainder of the month.25 GB premium Mobile Hotspot data, then unlimited lower-speed data
Taxes and fees includedIncludedIncludedNot includedNot includedNot includedNot includedIncludedIncludedIncluded
EntertainmentNetflix, Apple TV+Netflix, Apple TV+Not includedFree app with Public Wi-Fi Protection, Identity MonitoringFree app with Public Wi-Fi Protection, Identity MonitoringFree app with Spam Call BlockingWith Call Filter from Verizon, screen incoming calls and filter spam. With Call Filter from Verizon, screen incoming calls and filter spam. With Call Filter from Verizon, screen incoming calls and filter spam.
International and TravelIn-flight connection, Unlimited talk and text in Mexico & CanadaIn-flight connection, Unlimited talk and text in Mexico & CanadaUnlimited talk and text in Mexico & CanadaUnlimited talk, text & high-speed data in 19 Latin American countriesUnlimited talk and text in Mexico & CanadaUnlimited texting from the US to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.Unlimited texting from the US to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.Unlimited texting from the US to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.
Streaming-video resolution720p480p480p4K UHD480p480pup to 480up to 480pup to 480p

💡 In summary:

  • T-Mobile for the lowest budget, most cities covered
  • AT&T for the balance of price and coverage nationwide
  • Verizon if coverage is a priority, even at a higher cost

Consider your needs:  coverage, speeds, and data budget to choose the best plan for your traveling goals

II. Buying a SIM card in New York: things to consider

When buying a SIM card in New York, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you choose the right one for your needs. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Finding the perfect fit: network coverage and reliability

One of the most important things to take into account when choosing a SIM card or eSIM provider in New York is network coverage and reliability. Make sure your signal is strong and steady everywhere in the city, especially in residential areas, well-known tourist destinations, and even underground transit networks. Seek out New York-based providers with comprehensive coverage maps and a solid track record of dependable network performance.

2. Consider your data budget

Another crucial consideration is the data budget. For different mobile operators, they have diverse plans for any customer’s needs. Determine your data requirements based on your traveling goods – if you need high-speed internet, unlimited data, or prioritize making calls. 

Compare the up-to-date details on Mobile operators’ websites for each plan to find the best option to stay connected in New York. 

3. Check the compatibility of devices

Some mobile providers may have restrictions or specifications on the kind of devices they will support. Verify whether the SIM card or eSIM that the supplier offers is compatible with your smartphone, tablet, or wearable gadget. This compatibility will guarantee that there won’t be any technical problems when your device uses the network services.

By keeping these factors in mind when choosing a SIM card or eSIM provider, you can ensure that you select the best option that suits your needs, preferences, and budget to help you stay connected during your New York travels.

III. Where to get a SIM card when traveling to New York

Visitors can purchase a local SIM card easily upon arrival or during their New York travels. Here are some top recommended options:

1. Getting a SIM card at New York Airport

All three major airports in New York: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) provide kiosks that sell SIM cards.

  • Major operators kiosks

AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon also have kiosks located at these airports where visitors can easily get a SIM card at these places. For any help or assistance, visitors just come and ask the customer services here. 

  • Convenience stores

Many convenience stores in the airport arrivals offer SIM cards from popular major mobile operators. It may be an alternative if mobile operators’s stores are closed.

2. Getting a Prepaid SIM card in New York

Not only New York Aiport, but there are several options for visitors can get a SIM card.

  • Mobile operators stores

There are several mobile operator stores from Verizon or T-Mobile located across the city. Visitors can find different plans that fit any traveling goals.

  • Other stores

Best Buy stores have dedicated prepaid mobile sections with top carrier SIM kits.

Target – Look in the mobile phone section of major Target stores for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon SIMs.

Walmart – Walmart usually stocks mainstream prepaid SIMs near cash registers.

POPSIM NYC – Several Manhattan POPSIM stores specialize in no-contract international/domestic SIMs.

Large pharmacies – SIM kits may be available at CVS, Rite Aid, and Duane Reade near prepaid refill cards.

Not only New York, there are many outstanding places in the US you might visit including Miami, check our guide to stay connected in Miami How to buy a SIM card in Miami: Tips from Locals

IV. New York eSIM for visitors – a smart alternative

Buying a local SIM card is still a popular choice with New York tourists, but visitors should consider getting an eSIM in a fast and convenient way.

Choosing an eSIM is a wise option for any travelers visiting New York. Unlike physical SIM cards that require swapping out or retailers to purchase, eSIM allows travelers to easily activate mobile plans right from their phone using just the device’s online connectivity.

Here are some of the top options to get an eSIM in New York:

  • Major carrier website

Major carriers like T-Mobile or AT&T offer eSIM profiles that can be purchased straight from their websites with an Easy activation.

T-Mobile - Mobile Operator Store in the US
T-Mobile – Mobile Operator Store in the US
  • eSIM provider

Experience the simplicity of eSIM when visiting New York, USA. Skip the roaming worries and discover the necessity to switch from a physical SIM card to an eSIM with #1 USA eSIM provider – which offers extremely convenient eSIM plans that are the perfect solution for tourists traveling to New York with a different range of packages. Here’s what makes stand out:

  • Purchase online, then install with a snap by scanning the QR code through email, this digital SIM loads instantly – you don’t need to wait for a physical card.
  • eSIMs from provide affordable data-only plans without roaming charges. Options include 7, 15, and 30 days with competitive prices.
  • Our eSIMs are compatible with 200+ smartphones. Compatibility checklist and setup instructions reassure travelers.
  • No roaming fees or expensive pay-as-you-go daily limits. Stream music or check maps without bill shock. Additional data can be topped up easily as needed.

Find the best options for your trip below:

Plan that may interest you

USA eSIM 10 Days Plan
USA eSIM 10 Days Plan
USA eSIM 20 Days Plan
USA eSIM 20 Days Plan
USA eSIM 30 Days Plan
USA eSIM 30 Days Plan

IV. Things to prepare when buying SIM cards in New York

To purchase any type of SIM Card in New York, travelers should prepare:

  • A passport is the primary and essential document required. Mobile operators are legally obligated to verify identification before activating any SIM card for foreigners. Make sure your passport is valid for the duration of your stay.
  • Visa (if applicable) – In addition to your passport, you may need to show your Kazakhstan visa/entry documents as well, depending on the operator’s requirements. Having both on hand covers all bases.
  • Another passport photo – Some operators may also request a passport-size photograph during the SIM registration process. It’s good to keep one on hand.
  • Residence registration (if staying long-term) – If you are residing in Kazakhstan for an extended period on a work/student visa, carrying proof of your registered address can help with SIM verification and delivery.
  • ID verification documents – While not always needed, you may be asked to additionally verify ID with a driver’s license, or national identity card in some cases.
  • Travel itinerary print-out – This helps establish you are a temporary visitor and not an illegal immigrant, which some operators validate against.

Providing these key identity documents to you makes the SIM purchase process smooth by addressing all potential verification requirements upfront at New York outlets. Passport is a must-have.

V. FAQs about New York SIM Cards

Can I use my existing SIM card in New York?

Yes, if you have an international roaming plan, you can use your existing SIM card in New York. However, keep in mind that roaming charges can be expensive. Purchasing a local SIM card or eSIM is often a more cost-effective option.

Can I use a New York SIM card across the US?

Yes, most prepaid SIM cards offer nationwide coverage, allowing you to use them in other states.

Are eSIMs widely supported in New York?

Yes, most major mobile carriers in New York support eSIM technology. This means you can take advantage of the convenience and flexibility offered by eSIMs during your visit.

Can I keep my phone number with a New York SIM card?

If you opt for a local SIM card, you’ll be assigned a new phone number. However, if you prefer to keep your existing number, some carriers may offer number porting services. Inquire about this option when purchasing your SIM card.

How do I activate my SIM card or eSIM?

The activation process varies depending on the carrier and type of SIM card. Typically, you can activate a physical SIM card by inserting it into your device and following the instructions provided. For eSIMs, you may need to scan a QR code or enter an activation code. The precise steps will be outlined in the documentation accompanying your SIM card or eSIM.

What should I do with my SIM card after leaving New York?

Once your trip to New York is over, you can either keep the SIM card for future visits or dispose of it responsibly. If you plan to return to New York within a reasonable timeframe, keeping the SIM card may save you time and effort when you visit again.

Do I need an unlocked phone to use a prepaid New York SIM card?

Yes, your phone must be unlocked to use a prepaid SIM card from any carrier.

Is eSIM available for all phone models?

Not all phone models support eSIM. Check your device compatibility here.

VI. Conclusions

Connectivity via New York SIM card allows for easy navigation and travel. To save trouble, pick an operator that fits your equipment, duration requirements, and price range. For a stress-free experience setting up mobile data during your vacation, do your homework before you go.

When choosing flexible short-term plans, we went over a variety of acquisition suggestions that can be found online, at local stores, or at airports to help you save time and money. You can easily maintain connectivity while visiting New York’s attractions and transportation systems if you prepare ahead of time. Never be afraid to ask around for the most recent SIM offers that meet your specific needs.