How to Activate Google Fi Outside the US

How to Activate Google Fi Outside the US
How to Activate Google Fi Outside the US

Google Fi, a service offered by Google, is renowned for its attractive features tailored for mobile users, particularly those who frequently travel. Navigating the process of how to activate Google Fi outside the US, however, introduces a set of unique challenges and considerations. This article aims to unravel the complexities associated with activating Google Fi in international locations, providing valuable insights for users situated abroad.

One blog reader shared their successful experience of activating their eSIM overseas in Guam. The process involved a blend of technology and persistence. Initially, they uninstalled the Google Fi app and reset their phone’s network settings. To simulate a US-based activation, they utilized a VPN, connecting to a server in Los Angeles.

Subsequently, they reinstalled the Google Fi app and manually configured the network settings. A crucial step involved restarting their phone and reconnecting to the VPN, which ultimately led to a successful network connection.

This endeavor wasn’t without its hurdles. The user faced two days of activation challenges and received minimal assistance from the support team, despite qualifying for the overseas military exception. Their experience sheds light on the practicalities and potential obstacles of activating Google Fi outside traditional service areas.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the limitations of Google Fi’s international service.
  • Exploring practical workarounds for activation outside the US.
  • Addressing common challenges and considerations for international users.

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Overseas eSIM Activation with VPN and WiFi: Success Story – Update 2023

Activating eSIM with VPN and WiFi overseas: Step-by-step guide.

Thank you, Briana for instructions! 😄

Step 1: Delete the Google Fi App

  • Start by deleting the Google Fi app from your device to ensure a clean slate for eSIM activation.

Step 2: Reset Network Settings

  • Go to your device’s settings and find the “General” section.
  • Look for the option to reset network settings and execute the reset.
  • If you’ve previously attempted to set up an eSIM, delete any existing eSIM configurations.

Step 3: Activate a VPN

  • Install a VPN of your choice. For this guide, we’ll use “Surfshark VPN
  • Connect to a Los Angeles server or a server of your preference.
  • Make sure the VPN is active before moving on.

Step 4: Download Google Fi App

  • Download the Google Fi app onto your device while your VPN is active.

Step 5: Manually Enter Network Info

  • In your device’s settings, navigate to the cellular settings section.
  • Manually enter all the required network information accurately.

Step 6: Complete the Activation Process

  • Open the Google Fi app and follow the on-screen instructions to initiate the eSIM activation process.
  • Ensure you have a stable Wi-Fi connection during this step.

Step 7: Restart Your Phone

  • Follow the prompts in the Google Fi app to restart your phone. This step is crucial for finalizing the eSIM activation.

Step 8: Reconnect to VPN

  • As soon as your phone powers back on, reconnect to the VPN server you used earlier (Los Angeles or your chosen server).

Step 9: Wait for Activation

  • Give it approximately thirty seconds after reconnecting to the VPN. Your network connection should pop up, indicating successful eSIM activation. Everything should now work smoothly!

You’ve successfully activated your eSIM overseas in Guam using a VPN and your Wi-Fi connection. This method can be a lifesaver when you encounter activation issues, even if you have the overseas military exception. If you have any questions or need further clarification on any of the steps, feel free to ask. Enjoy your hassle-free eSIM experience, and safe travels!


Google Fi, initially known as Project Fi, is a mobile virtual network operator by Google. It provides telephone calls, SMS, and mobile broadband using cellular networks and Wi-Fi. Google Fi is known for its easy-to-understand pricing and seamless transition between cellular networks and Wi-Fi for calls and data. It’s a popular choice for travelers because of its extensive international coverage in over 200 countries and territories.

However, Google Fi’s services are primarily targeted at residents of the United States. This focus has implications for international users, particularly those who wish to activate and use the service outside the US. While Google Fi does offer international roaming capabilities, its activation and prolonged use outside the US come with specific terms and restrictions that users need to be aware of.

Understanding Google Fi’s International Limitations

Google Fi’s Terms of Service clearly state that the services are intended primarily for use within the United States. While it does offer international coverage, this is not meant for extended use outside the US. According to these terms, if usage outside the US network is excessive or incurs high costs, Google may suspend the account, terminate the service, or limit roaming use​​​​.

These limitations pose a significant challenge for users who reside outside the US or those who spend prolonged periods abroad. It’s particularly restrictive for digital nomads and international travelers who might rely on Google Fi for their connectivity needs. For instance, if a user’s Fi service is used abroad for over six months, Google may suspend international data roaming capabilities, urging users to start using Fi in the US again​​.

Activation of Google Fi Outside the US

Activating Google Fi when you’re not in the United States can be a complex task. Officially, Google Fi must be activated within the US. However, users have found creative workarounds to activate and use Google Fi from abroad.

Challenges in International Activation

The main hurdle is that Google Fi, as per its policies, requires activation within the United States. Users looking to activate it internationally often hit a roadblock since Google’s support indicates that activation is only possible within the US​​.

Using a VPN for US IP Address

One common workaround is using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). By connecting to a VPN server located in the US, users can obtain a US IP address. This approach is often the first step in simulating your presence within the United States, which is crucial for the activation process​​​​.

Changing Google Address

Another necessary step involves changing your Google account address to a location within the US. This could be any valid US address, such as a coworking space or a friend’s address, to align with the service’s requirement of having a US-based account​​.

Shipping Considerations

The physical shipment of the Google Fi SIM card and phone (if needed for activation) also poses a challenge. Services like Vyking Ship provide a US address for shipping purposes, which can then forward your Google Fi SIM card to your actual location outside the US​​.

Practical Tips and Workarounds

Given these challenges, some users have looked to third-party services for solutions.

Third-party Activation Services

It’s possible to find services on platforms like eBay where sellers offer pre-activated Google Fi SIM cards. This method bypasses the need for the user to be in the US for activation. However, it’s important to approach these solutions cautiously, considering the potential risks and the terms of service of Google Fi​​.

SIM Card Setup and Activation

Once you have a Google Fi SIM card, the setup process is straightforward. Insert the SIM card into your compatible phone, sign in with your Google account, and follow the on-screen steps. This process is especially simplified in newer models like the Pixel 2 and up, where physical SIM cards can be bypassed in favor of eSIM technology​​.

Potential Risks and Considerations

While there are workarounds to activate Google Fi outside the US, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and service limitations that come with such an approach.

Risk of Service Termination

One of the most significant risks involves the possible suspension or termination of your Google Fi service. If Google detects prolonged or excessive use of the service outside the United States, they reserve the right to suspend or terminate your account. This is particularly relevant for those who plan to use Google Fi as their primary service while residing abroad​​​​.

Shipping Limitations

Google Fi SIM cards cannot be shipped directly outside the United States. This presents a challenge for users who lose their phones or SIM cards while traveling. In such cases, users need to arrange for a friend in the US to forward the SIM or use a mail forwarding service, which can add delays and complications​​.

Tethering Restrictions

Another limitation to be aware of is the restriction on tethering from data-only SIM cards. Google Fi does not support tethering from these SIMs, which can be a significant limitation for users who rely on tethering for their connectivity needs, especially when traveling​​.

FAQ for Google Fi

Can Google Fi be Activated Abroad?

Officially, Google Fi must be activated within the United States. However, exceptions are made for military and State Department employees serving abroad. For others, the aforementioned workarounds might be necessary​​.

Does Google Fi Need to be Activated in the US?

As per Google Fi’s Terms of Service, the service must be used predominantly in the US. However, once activated, Google Fi can be used internationally, subject to the limitations and terms of service​​​​.

What Happens with Extended International Use?

If Google Fi is used outside the US for more than six months, Google may suspend international data roaming capabilities. However, the service can still be used for texting and receiving calls, but not for data​​.

Is there a Google Fi Trial?

New Google Fi users receive a free 1-month of unlimited service when they bring their own phone. Get $20 off your bill by using my referral link.


Navigating the complexities of activating and using Google Fi outside the United States can be a daunting task. However, with the right knowledge and approach, it’s possible to overcome these challenges. While official policies limit the service primarily to US residents and require activation within the US, users have found creative workarounds through VPNs, third-party services, and shipping solutions.

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