The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), which sets technology standards across Europe, has chosen Apple's nano-SIM design over rival proposals from Research In Motion, Nokia and Google's Motorola.
Apple has already gained support from various major mobile carriers for its super-slim technology, known as the "fourth form factor (4FF) card", which is 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design.
ETSI said that the SIM is the "most successful smart card application ever", with more than 25 billion of the cards being produced to date, and 4.5bn issued worldwide every year.
Larger SIM card designs take up valuable space inside newer mobile devices, which are expected to perform a wide variety of tasks but have slim form factors.
ETSI said that it can be "packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs".
It intends to publish the design of the new 4FF nano-SIM form factor "in due course".
However, Nokia hit out at ETSI's decision to go with Apple's solution, claiming that it is "technically inferior" to other proposals.
"Nokia continues to believe that the selected nano-SIM proposal is technically inferior and not suitable for a number of applications, but the ETSI Smart Card Platform Technical Committee has now made its decision," said the Finnish company.
"Nokia believes that the existing micro-SIM (3FF) will continue to be a preferred option for many manufacturers and devices and so ultimately the market will decide whether 4FF is widely adopted."