Getting your Verizon Phone ‘Unlocked’

Phone locking is the carrier practice of ‘sim locking’ a device to only work on a particular carrier’s network. In 2023, it is common practice for carriers to offer ‘installment’ plans on purchasing phones. During this purchase window, carriers might ‘lock’ the device to only work on their network.

While different carriers may have different policies, Verizon is unique because it has FCC regulations it MUST follow in regards to the topic.

As part of the agreement to the wireless spectrum that Verizon leases, Verizon cannot lock devices to its own network. In 2019, the FCC allowed a temporary 60-day device lock for ‘fraud prevention’ only.

Fraud prevention is the key here to knowing your consumer rights. Several advocacy groups, the FCC, and Verizon worked together when crafting the temporary 60-day lock policy. Some advocacy groups wanted a written policy to allow for early ‘device unlocking’, but Verizon affirmed to the FCC that no policy would be necessary as they would “review any unique or unusual circumstances with the customer on a case-by-case basis”

It is key to note that the temporary 60 day lock was provided to Verizon only as a tool to be used against ‘fraud’ (no other reason can apply)

What is Verizon’s current ‘case-by-case basis’ policy? Current customers must call in to Verizon’s Technical support team. Verizon’s initial customer service representative will take note of your circumstances and forward it to their internal team for an ‘early unlock request’. That team is supposed to review the request, and either approve or deny the unlock request with a notice of the outcome within 24 hours.

UPDATE: 01/11/23: A representative that used to work in the escalation department, reached out and clarified Verizon’s policy for unlocking cellular devices before the 60 day window. According to this representative, Verizon’s policy is to deny all unlock requests unless the purchase was completed with a PIV Card (chip-in-card) or paid with cash – the representative stated that any other form of purchase would result in a denied unlock request per Verizon’s current policies.

In our own personal experience, we had a newly purchased device paid-in-full purchased from Verizon. The user of the phone was traveling and wanted to use the secondary SIM on an international carrier to reduce any travel or roaming charges Verizon might charge. When we requested the device to be unlocked for this trip, we had to know several pieces of information for our account with Verizon (including our secret account pin). That information in itself should have validated that the request was not ‘fraudulent’ nor was the purchase of the device ‘fraudulent’.

That scenario should have been very easy for Verizon to have approve the SIM unlock request:

  • the account and purchase were verified to not be fraudulent
  • irrelevant detail: Verizon wasn’t losing any business, as we were not requesting to port the number or change any service plans.

That basic device unlocking request was still denied, with no further way to appeal. Attempted appeals were done by contacting the ‘tier 2’ phone support team, but they also indicated there would be no unlock waiver granted. Verizon’s only advise was to use their daily $10 travel pass. This is when it dawned on us: Verizon had no interest in unlocking a phone if they could charge $10 a day for basic cellular use.

How do you get a device early unlock request granted?

Before escalating anything, at a minimum submit the initial request through Verizon’s phone support. This allows Verizon’s team to first have a chance to unlock the device – you might get lucky and get it handled without further escalation.

The fastest method we have found to escalating the device unlock is by submitting your request to both the Verizon escalation team and simultaneously submitting an informal FCC complaint, our own request was completed in a matter of 2 hours.

Submitting a Verizon escalation ticket
Visit the corporate leadership page at:

From there you can select the most relevant executive to submit the ticket request to. Don’t worry all emails are funneled internally to the executive escalations team and not to the executive themselves.

In this email supply:

  • Your account information
  • The reason for the unlock request
  • A reminder or quote of the FCC rules permitted temporary device locking for ‘fraud prevention’ only
  • Confirmation that you tried submitting the request through proper channels first

Submitting an Informal FCC Complaint

Visit the FCC Informal Complaint system and submit a ticket at:

  • Your email address
  • Description of the issue
  • ‘Billing / Other’ complaint
  • Wireless number
  • Your carrier billing information

A sample template is supplied below:

Good day and to whomever can best assist:

This is in regards to a Verizon Account XXXX with the phone number: XXX-XXX-XXXX

I have a newly purchased phone purchased on a (purchase type). This device is scheduled to travel internationally (dates). The issue is the device is still under the 60-day fraud prevention lock. In general, while traveling – I use both Verizon and international carriers (dual SIM) for the best stability in service. I requested a SIM Unlock request from Verizon support – but our request was denied.

Verizon stated to the FCC that you “will review any unique or unusual circumstances with the customer on a case-by-case basis” in regards to unlocking a device early –

Verizon’s request to the FCC to lock devices was based on the claim on fraud prevention, I have called in, verified my account, and have verified that this purchase was done intentionally (not fraud) – yet Verizon has denied the SIM unlock request. 

We have been a (how many years) year wireless customer – we are not selling the device, we are not porting out phone numbers, we are not doing anything to cause Verizon business loss. We simply want to use the device’s dual sims while traveling internationally. 

I am requesting a formal response by Verizon’s leadership to explain why this request was denied. I believe this request should have been approved under the “case-by-case basis” Verizon stated it would follow. The FCC allowed Verizon to temporarily lock phones for fraud prevention, but not to exploit additional fees from international traveling customers. 

If this was simply a Verizon mistake and an unlock should have been permitted in this matter, please escalate this issue urgently.

Thank you for your time in the matter, XXXXX

Device ID for the SIM Unlock Request: XXXXX

Let us know if Verizon honored your request in the comments below or if you have any updated tips to contribute!


  1. Patrick Ryan

    Hello. I was just denied having both of our new iPhone 15s unlocked even though we have been Verizon customers for over 10 years. A number of techs tried to get them unlocked but eventually, we had a tech mention that if it was purchased with a credit card then we are out of luck.

    This is similar to your update above on 01/11/23. The difference is that he said that even if we bought it in-store with a credit card we could dispute the charge with our credit card provider. This being the case, they deny all credit card purchases and only unlock if it was debit or cash and only if it was a debit card used in a Verizon store.

    This being the case, is it worth pursuing further? We are traveling internationally next week and had hoped to use two eSims but now we are forced to use Verizon’s international plans.

    Per your similar comments above
    UPDATE: 01/11/23: A representative that used to work in the escalation department, reached out and clarified Verizon’s policy for unlocking cellular devices before the 60 day window. According to this representative, Verizon’s policy is to deny all unlock requests unless the purchase was completed with a PIV Card (chip-in-card) or paid with cash – the representative stated that any other form of purchase would result in a denied unlock request per Verizon’s current policies.

    • Yes, if it was paid in full and is not on payments, absolutely worth a FCC complaint – they are an easy form to file and Verizon will be forced to defend their actions (which normally leads to them conceding) – let us know if they don’t as a formal FCC complaint is in the works and that would be usable evidence as part of the process.

      • Patrick Ryan

        I submitted an email to Verizon using your link and your very helpful template. I also submitted an FCC complaint using your link. I got a phone call from Verizon about an hour later and they said he couldn’t guarantee anything but seemed hopeful that they could get it done. I am not holding my breath though as I had been told this by the previous tech support people only to be denied. I’ll update you with the outcome.

  2. Patrick Ryan

    As expected, they just followed the party line and did not unlock our phones. Their reply is below:

    I hope this letter finds you well. Our office has conducted a comprehensive review of your recent request to our office, and your concern submitted to the FCC, to have the sim cards on your iPhones unlocked, and we want to extend our gratitude for your patience and understanding during this process.

    Reviewing your original request from September 25, 2023, to have the devices unlocked, our office found you purchased the two new iPhones on September 23, 2023 through our online marketplace, where a credit card was used for payment. We wish to clarify that our policy does not permit the early SIM unlock of devices that were purchased using a credit card online or over the phone. This restriction is in place due to the distinct nature of online and over-the-phone transactions, which lack the same level of merchant protections as in-person purchases, particularly when it comes to non-chipped credit cards.

    Our primary concern is to protect both our customers and our business from potential risks and liabilities. Specifically, online and phone-based payments for devices, if later disputed, could result in Verizon Wireless being held responsible for the cost of the devices. To address these security concerns, our policy mandates that only cash payments and EMV chip-enabled credit card payments are eligible for early SIM unlocks when the device is purchased in full. The EMV chip adds an additional layer of security by safeguarding against fraudulent transactions, ensuring a safer payment experience.

    We understand that this policy may have caused inconvenience, and we sincerely apologize for any frustration it may have caused you.

    Once again, thank you for your understanding and cooperation. If you have any further questions or require assistance with any aspect of your device or service, please do not hesitate to reach out to our dedicated customer support team at 800.922.0204. We want to ensure you have a positive experience with Verizon Wireless.


    John | Executive Relations

    • Did you file Formal Complaint or escalate further? If you have a long standing Verizon account, there is no reason they should allege you of fraud if you haven’t given them any – this is simply a ruse to extort international daily roaming fees for $10/day

  3. Kevin

    I currently have a carrier locked verizon phone. Its fully paid off and was able to connect spectrum account to it. Will after the 60 days of service with spectrum will it unlock my phone?

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