Services Travel

How to Activate Google Fi Outside the US


Are you always traveling? Tracking down WiFi in new cities is a hassle, from hidden fees to spotty networks. Google Fi allows you to choose your device, the best service provider, and save on data. It’s simple, takes minutes to join and has the best support team.

In this article, I will explain how to set up your Google Fi account, how to obtain a US address, and how to activate your account outside the United States.

You can use Fi in over 210+ countries and territories around the world, here’s the full list:

When you travel, having your mobile phone always on is essential. Google Fi ensures that you stay connected regardless of where you are. For travelers who rely on the sophisticated communication, navigation and location services provided by their smartphones, a reliable connection is a must.

Enjoy worldwide mobile coverage wherever you are.

Issues Abound

Google Fi can no longer be activated via VPN outside of the United States due to multiple reports of users being unable to do so.

You could get a local SIM card for data while traveling, and get a US Google Voice number so that your friends and family can contact you no matter what carrier you’re on.

From this point on, I will not be responding to messages unless someone comes up with a solution or idea on how to get around activating outside the United States.

Table of Contents

Google Fi Unlimited Plus Plan

Google Fi Unlimited is a cellular service that gives you the most data for your dollar, no annual contracts, and support in more countries than any other international cellular provider so you can use that unlimited data while traveling, and seamless phone and WiFi calling between your devices.

For $70 (single line), you now receive 22GB of high-speed data allowance. You also get free calls to 50+ countries and territories if you’re calling from inside the US. Or, Save money by adding more lines:

  • Unlimited Plus for 2 people: $60 (per line)
  • Unlimited Plus for 3 people: $50 (per line)
  • Unlimited Plus for 4 people: $45 (per line)

Frequent Traveler Considerations ✈️

Around November 2019, there were a number of reports of people being warned that their Fi service would be terminated because these users had been leaving the US for a long time, usually over five months.

They were warned that if they did not return to the continental US soon, their data would be completely cut off. As the Google Fi Terms of Use state, they must be used predominantly in the US.

It may not be worth it for some of you, but it could still be an excellent option for others. I primarily wrote this article because it saved me from not having a working phone while I was in Canada and I was able to continue using the service once I returned to the United States.

How to Sign Up for Google Fi as a Non-Resident

Officially, Google Fi is marketed only to US citizens, but if you follow our step-by-step guide, you can get it it to work while outside the United States, which is what a sizeable proportion of customers want. The demand of activating Google Fi outside the United States has only surged with US citizens stuck in other countries during the 2020 Pandemic.

✔️US-based Google account
✔️US-based IP Address (via VPN)
✔️Supported shipping address
✔️Supported US credit card

Sign up for Google Fi

Google Fi - A Different Kind Of Phone Plan

Get a phone plan w/ straightforward pricing & helpful features like built-in VPN. Join Fi. Sign up for Fi from home, no contracts. Only pay for the data you use or choose unlimited. A phone plan by Google. Better Network Coverage. 24/7 customer support. Smarter coverage.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Google Fi Activation Outside the United States

I switched to my Google Fi eSIM to activate the service and got an inexplicable error message every time I tried it. It really didn’t seem to work with all Android VPN apps on my Pixel 3 XL because the Google VPN (comes with Google Fi) that wants to boot up, which would close the VPN connection immediately.

I share two different ways of overcoming this problem.

The following is a list of hardware requirements:

  • Internal Ethernet card
  • External Ethernet USB adapter (optional).

1. Google Fi Compatible Phone + Fi SIM OR eSIM
2. WiFI-enabled Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Computer
3. Your Google Fi account address needs to be listed somewhere in the United States like a co-working space or other address inside the country.

OR Use Borderlinx to get an address for the shipping of the Google card + phone for activation. Alternatively, you only need to use the built-in eSIM in your Pixel 3 / 4 / 5 phone and do not need a SIM card, but still need a United States address.

hotspot feature 01 | Graydon Schwartz

Hotspot connects all devices easily to Wi-Fi

Connectify Hotspot makes all your devices happy. It’s an easy-to-use virtual router application that lets you share the Internet from your laptop to your smartphone, tablet, media player, e-reader, other laptops and even your friends nearby. Use it anywhere in the world without restrictions.

How to Setup Connectify Hotspot to Share Internet via WiFi from a PC

STEP 1: In order to share 3G/4G or Ethernet connections as WiFi hotspots, please purchase the PRO or MAX versions of Connectify from the website*. Using the free trial allows you to experience all features of Connectify before paying a cent.

Sign up for Connectify Hotspot

Risk Free, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee!

*Sharing 3G/4G or Ethernet is only available in the PRO and MAX versions.

SPEEDIFY V10 DEVICES BADGE 1 | Graydon Schwartz

Use all of your Internet connections at once

Whether at home, at work or on the go: Speedify is the only VPN that makes your online experience faster, more reliable and more secure. It also works effortlessly with Connectify Hotspot.

STEP 2: You will need to start and connect a VPN if you have not already done so. If you are not sure which VPN to choose, I recommend going with a mobile VPN such as Speedify, that can also combine multiple connections at the same time.

Sign up for Speedify

Risk Free, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee!

With Speedify, you can combine multiple Wi-Fi, 3G/4G and wired Internet connections for higher speeds and increased reliability, but in this tutorial, we will only use it for the great way to create a hotspot for your future Google Fi phone and ease of use.

file 9dsqyWCByc | Graydon Schwartz

STEP 3: Navigate to and open the Connectify Hotspot application. Use the Wi-Fi Hotspot tab to create your connection.

STEP 4: Check that your VPN has been selected from the ‘Internet to Share’ drop-down.

STEP 5: Select Routed Network Access as you are unable to bridge the VPN.

STEP 6: Give your hotspot a name (SSID) and password. The hotspot name is the network name that other devices will see and connect to and connect to using your unique password. Your Connectify Hotspot is a real, working hotspot that you use just like any other wireless network.

Optional: Ad Blocker will save you a lot of data. Learn more at Connectify hotspot.

STEP 7: Press the ‘Start Hotspot’ button to begin sharing your Internet connection with your other devices.

file mEEbOLKgQ5 | Graydon Schwartz

Register for Google Fi while connected to your USA VPN and download the Google Fi app from the App Store.

I found out that I was still receiving non-descriptive errors while my phone was connected to a VPN, so I went to Settings => Network & Internet => Mobile Network => Tap ‘Google Fi’ and tap “Advanced'” at the bottom of the screen, last tap “Delete SIM'” and I found out that my eSIM was activated on Google Fi while I was in Canada! Enjoy!

How did it go? Please leave a comment below if I missed something or if everything worked for you. I would love to hear from you!

I found Speedify + Connectify to be one of the easiest ways to make things work instantly and without too much effort. You can use other VPNs, but you still need a way to somehow get your phone into the VPN network and they have set up these two tools to do that.

I used Google Fi from Comber, Ontario to Quebec and had service most of the time, except for Mont-Tremblant National Park, where there is little cell phone reception. If you can, try calling via WiFi apps, otherwise it costs 20 cents per minute when you call home to the United States.

Alternatively, we setup our DD-WRT flashed router to route all traffic through a US-based VPN service so we can activate our Google Fi account and protect our data from prying eyes.

Let’s look at how to activate Google Fi with a NETGEAR WiFI Router, flashed with DD-WRT firmware.

FAQ for Google Fi

Can I activate Google FI outside the USA?

The most important factor to make this work is to use a US-based VPN service, so that your device seems to have a connection from the United States.

Which Networks Does Google Fi Use?

In the United States, Fi uses T-Mobile / Sprint and U.S. Cellular.

In other countries, Google uses other compatible networks.

What is Google Fi VPN?

Whenever you connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots, your phone automatically connects to Google’s proprietary VPN service, which protects you from someone else sharing the network or someone close to you sniffing out your signal.

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.

Sign up for Google Fi

Sign up for Connectify Hotspot

Sign up for Speedify


I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonials and / or links to products or services linked above. Your purchase helps my work to bring you more photographs, travel guides and more trips around the world.

By Graydon Schwartz

Find out more about Graydon on the About Me page.

31 replies on “How to Activate Google Fi Outside the US”


I was not clear on the information you passed about activating the Google Fi simcard. I have purchased it and it is in the US now. But I am unable to fly to the US because of the Covid-19 and I have my own phone that is a Samsung. Could you tell me how I could activate it?

Thank you!

Hi Mahsa, 

Are you saying that you’re not in the United States and the Google Fi sim card is with you? Have you tried using a VPN? If you use it in conjunction with Connectify, you can have your phone appear to be connecting from the United States while you’re overseas. Connectify has an option within it to use Speedify, which should work just fine via the trial and you won’t need to purchase anything. Uninstall once you’re all good if you don’t have a use for the VPN. 🙂

With gratitude,

Finally I activated! But the problem now is that cannot find the Greek signal, so it says there is no service. Do you know any way to solve also this problem?

Thank you for your reply..I mean that I activated from Greece by your method, but I cannot connect to any service, in order to use it…is searching for carriers but it says no service.

Strange. Which phone did you activate? I looked up Google Fi for Greece and this is what it said:

“Google Fi has you covered in Greece. Learn more about Google Fi’s coverage in 200+ countries and territories outside the US.”

I have the same problem. It seems that the SIM card has to register on a US cell tower first? I’m in Kenya. I had a Google pixel that I activated in the US and it worked fine.

It could be that Google has implemented more in terms of blocking these types of activations outside the United States.

I activated on IPhone 11. Yes exactly, I knew that is covering also my country. So, I can’t do anything to solve it. Is this correct?

I’ve been trying to activate my Google Fi abroad for six months now. It’s no longer possible. My account is active but GoogleFi knows the phone is abroad when it tries to connect to the local network (you can’t fake that!). In the end, I’m shipping a SIM to a friend at home who will then mail it to me here in Thailand.

they told me that you have to have some “real use” such as calling and texting that are connecting to the US local network will eventually enable me to use fi internationally.

I am having the same problem. I activated the SIM card in Indonesia using a VPN app installed directly on my phone, but I have no bars of service at all so far. I might mail it to the U.S. to see if someone can activate it and send it back, as someone suggested. Would love to hear if someone finds a work around.

You might be able to fix this issue by connecting to a VPN connection that is not running on the phone you are trying to activate. Just an idea.

I’ve tried repeatedly on a VPN to transfer fi service from an old iPhone to a new iPhone bought in Germany, which should work with an eSIM. I don’t receive any errors at all, but can’t get past the “under a SIM” screen. Can you explain what difference using a service like connectify makes that the VPN alone won’t?

Perhaps you can fix this issue by connecting to a VPN connection that isn’t running on the phone you are trying to activate using Connectify. Let me know if that helps.

Hey Graydon,

Thanks for your Blog.

On the Google fi page it explicitly says that it does not work with VPN. Does it still work via your described way in 2022? have you tested it again?
I think about ist because of my start of my worldtrip in Mai. But your read in Other Blog thats still doesnt work anymore with VPN.


Hi there, I tried activating the google fi sim on an iPhone 13. I used a US VPN and barcode scan to add data plan but so far I have no bars of reception. Im not sure where I went wrong. Do you have any advice?

Guys i looked above, I have same issue, i activated e-sim in Taiwan, using combination of Speedify and Connectify. However when my phone tries to connect there is no service. Then I tried asking Google assistant but they asked if I was in the US…. do any of you know if I actually have to connect it to a U.S. network in order to fully activate the esim?

Officially speaking, yes you have to connect to US network (or IP address) to activate per Google’s term, and that’s whole point of this post. Google Fi customer service will do you no help because Fi was designed for use in the US and they will tell you only one answer: be in the US. Anyways, long story short I was able to activate service recently using private VPN service but have to repeatedly delete Fi app and reinstall and re-activate. It might take couple min to connect to a cellular network after you restart your phone so wait a couple min before you delete again.

I just activated the service in China (I already have an active Fi but just need another number).

Originally I was not able to activate the service like everyone else, passed through the activation, got a number, restarted the phone, but no reception.

What I did was I repeatedly delete Fi app, reinstall, did that for probably 3 times before I get a signal. So I guess that is the solution!

What I did differently was my friend have setup and private VPN based in the US, so I didn’t use any commercially available VPN (though if you ExpressVPN try to activate Fi will tell you it’s not able to activate through VPN probably because it recognize ExpressVPN’s IP because so many people have used it. But you can try SurfShark to see if it gives the same error message)

Hello, just wanted to update everyone that I got my esim activated overseas in Guam with a VPN using my wifi.

-delete the Google Fi app
-go to General in settings and reset network settings and delete esim as well if you’ve made a previous setup attempt

-Activate a VPN (I used VPN -Super Unlimited Proxy and connected to Los Angeles)

-I then downloaded Google Fi and started the activation through the app

-went to cellular settings and manually entered all the network info

-went back to Google Fi app to complete the process

-restarted the phone as prompted in the app

-as soon as the phone turned back on I connected to the VPN again and thirty seconds later my network connection popped up and everything worked as it should!

If I was unclear about something please let me know and I’ll try and explain a little better.

I had been trying to activate my phone for two days and getting the run around from support even though I have the overseas military exception, hope this helps!

Roughly following the advice of Briana and Chuang I was able to activate my Google Fi eSIM from Switzerland. I’m actually not exactly sure what set of steps solved the problem.. it was just suddenly working. However, I think using a VPN to place myself in the US and reinstalling the Google Fi app were both critical.

Thank you and best of luck to everyone else!

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