How to Get Approved for the WhatsApp Business API in 2024

By Joren Wouters Updated on

If you want to start WhatsApp conversations as a business or reply outside the 24-hour window on WhatsApp, you need to get approved for the WhatsApp Business API.

So in this tutorial, I will break down anything you need to know about WhatsApp Business approval. I will cover:

  • What policies you need to be compliant with
  • When you need to apply for the WhatsApp Business API
  • And how to get approved for the WhatsApp Business API

Let’s dive in!

Quick recap of the WhatsApp Message Rules

Before we can determine if you need to apply for the WhatsApp Business API, we first need to understand the message rules on WhatsApp.

Basically, every time a user sends a message to your WhatsApp chatbot, a 24-hour window will open. Within this 24-hour window, you can send any message to the user, with absolutely no constraints.

Also, it’s important to understand that the 24-hour will reset, every time the user sends a message.

Here is an example:

  • User sends message to chatbot *24-hour window will open*
  • User says nothing for 8 hours *There are 16 hours left in the 24-hour window*
  • After 8 hours, the user sends another message *24-hour window will re-open*

whatsapp-24-hour-window

Outside the 24-hour window, we cannot send any message and we need to use WhatsApp Message Templates.

WhatsApp Message Templates are a special type of message that allow you to send messages outside the 24-hour window or start WhatsApp conversations as a business.

 

When do you need to apply for the WhatsApp Business API?

So now we know what the 24-hour window is, we can determine if you need to apply for the WhatsApp Business API.

There are two kinds of conversations with WhatsApp automation:

  • User-initiated conversations: when a user starts a conversation with your business. Then, your business has 24 hours to reply to that message (these 24 hours is called the “24-hour window”, as I explained above)
  • Business-initiated conversations: when a business starts a conversation with a user outside the “24-hour window”

If you only want to reply to user-initiated conversations within 24 hours, you don’t have to apply for the WhatsApp Business API.

But if you want to send messages outside the 24-hour window or start WhatsApp conversations as a business, you need to get approved for the WhatsApp Business API.

To make it even easier for you, I created this cheatsheet:

Cheatsheet to decide when you should get approved on WhatsApp

 

What WhatsApp policies do you need to be compliant with?

If you want to get approved for the WhatsApp Business API, you need to be compliant with three policies:

  1. WhatsApp Business Solution Terms
  2. WhatsApp Business Policy
  3. WhatsApp Commerce Policy

And below, I will shortly explain them one by one.

WhatsApp Business Solution Terms

This is a really short document explaining all the different parties and rules that are involved, such as the administrator of your business account, third parties and restrictions.

I would just quickly read through this document, but it is all pretty straightforward.

WhatsApp Business Policy

The WhatsApp Business Policy describes how you can use your chatbot with WhatsApp, because WhatsApp wants you to create a quality experience.

And what is most important here, are the rules of opting-in. With WhatsApp chatbots, they are two ways users can opt-in (so that you are allowed to message those users):

  1. Someone gives their phone number + permission that you can message that person via WhatsApp
  2. Someone start a conversation on WhatsApp with your WhatsApp chatbot

And you must stick to those rules, because WhatsApp doesn’t want to become a “spam channel”, such as email.

There are some other use cases which the chatbot can start the conversation, but in 90% of the cases, a user must start the conversation (by directly starting it or by giving permission).

This document also includes other things, such as that you need to comply with the law of your country and privacy of data. But again, also really straightforward. So the most important thing here is that you can understand the rules of opting-in and are compliant with it.

WhatsApp Commerce Policy

The WhatsApp Commerce Policy describes which products you cannot sell on WhatsApp.

For example, you cannot sell illegal products and services, drugs and tobacco items.

You have a lot of product categories that are not allowed on WhatsApp. And if you sell one of them, you will not be approved for the WhatsApp Business API.

So, I just recommend reading through this document and determine whether you comply with this policy.

How to Get Approved for WhatsApp Business API by Verifying your Facebook Business

To get approved for the WhatsApp Business API, you need to verify your Facebook Business inside the Facebook Business manager.

Verifying your business means that you need to prove that your business is real and you are the owner of the business.

Here’s how you can get verified for the WhatsApp Business API in 5 simple steps:

Step 1: Make Sure Your Business is Registered

To verify your Facebook business account, you must have an actual registered business. Without a registered business, you cannot verify your Facebook business account.

Step 2: Start Business Verification in Facebook Business Manager

To verify your WhatsApp Business Account, you need to go to business.facebook.com and sign in with your Facebook account.

After logging in, select the Facebook Business Page you want to verify from the drop-down box on the top-left, then click the settings icon:

Go to Business Settings inside Facebook Business

Click on Business settings:

Go to Business Settings inside Facebook Business

Once you are here, you need to scroll down on the left sidebar and click on Business info:

Click on Business Info inside Facebook Business

On the page, you will see the details and the verification status of your business.

Your business page will show “Unverified” because it’s not verified yet. Click on “View details” next to where it says this.

See your business verification status in Facebook Business.

This will take you to the “Security Center” page, where you’ll find the security details of your page.

Here is also a section that says “Verification for [your page name]”. Click on Get started or Continue to start the verification process:

Start verification in Facebook Business

By the way: If you have opened this section or tried any verification before, the button will say “Continue” (like in the above screenshot). Otherwise, it will just say “Get started”. Both buttons will do exactly the same.

When you click on the button, a pop-up will open. To start the WhatsApp business verification process, just click on Get started:

Get started with the Facebook Business verification process

Next, choose the country where your business is. For me, it’s the Netherlands. Then click Next:

Input the country of your business as a step in the Facebook Bsuiness verification process

Then, you need to fill in the information about your business and click on Next.

Input your business details as a step in the Facebook Bsuiness verification process

Step 3: Select How You Want to Verify Your Business

Now, select how you want to verify your business. You can choose from many options, but email, phone call, or text message are the easiest. Choose your verification method and click on Next:

Select the contact method to verify your Facebook Business

Step 4: Upload Documents from the Chamber of Commerce

Now, Facebook will check if your business is listed in any register.

If your business name is in public registers, Facebook will show a list of businesses and you can just click on one. If not, you need to upload documents to Facebook to prove you own the business.

Facebook accepts several types of documents. Click on the dialog box to see what they accept, like a business bank statement, incorporation certificate, business license, or tax registration certificate.

But I actually suggest uploading documents from the Chamber of Commerce.

I have used many documents for clients, but the Chamber of Commerce documents always work. So, I recommend using them for your legal name and address or phone number.

If you don’t have these documents, you can go to the Chamber of Commerce and ask for your business’s documents.  This will usually cost you a couple of bucks.

After you get the documents, upload them to Facebook and then click Next:

Add documents to complete your Facebook business verification

Step 5: Verify the Contact Method

The final step is to verify your email address (or the method you chose in step 3). Just enter your email and click Send email:

Confirm your contact method in Facebook Business as a step in the Facebook Bsuiness verification process.

Facebook will send a confirmation code to your email. Enter this code and then click Next:Input the confirmation code as a step in the Facebook Bsuiness verification process

Once your email is verified, you have completed the process!

Now, Facebook will usually take a couple of days to verify your business.

And when they are done with that, you will receive an automatic email confirmation.

What if I cannot start the WhatsApp Business approval process?

It might be your business is ineligible for verification and looks like this:

Facebook screen showing the business is ineligible for verification

If you get this screen with your business, it means you are not using a product that needs verification.

If this is the case with you, it’s probably you don’t have a WhatsApp Business account (yet).

So what you need to do is install the WhatsApp Business App on your phone and create a WhatsApp Business Account.

Then after that, you need to go to WhatsApp accounts in the Business Manager and click on Add WhatsApp account:

add-whatsapp-account-business-manager

Here, you need to fill in your phone number and click on Continue:

add-whatsapp-business-number

Now, WhatsApp will automatically send a code to that number so you can verify it. After this, you can start the Business verification.

By the way, if you want to use a chatbot platform in combination with WhatsApp, don’t use the steps. Rather, follow the steps in this tutorial.

 

Now It’s Your Turn

And that’s it, that’s how you can get approved for the WhatsApp Business API.

If you have any questions on how you can get approved for the WhatsApp Business API, please leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.

 

Learn more about WhatsApp Automation

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get approved for WhatsApp business?

You can get approved for WhatsApp Business in 5 simple steps:

  1. Make sure your business is registered
  2. Start the Business Verification Process in Facebook Business Manager
  3. Select How you want to verify your business
  4. Upload documents of the Chamber of Commerce
  5. Verify your contact method

How long does it take for WhatsApp Business to approve?

On average, it takes between 2-15 working days before you get approved. This is the time Meta takes to determine whether you comply with the WhatsApp Rules.

How do I get WhatsApp Business API approval?

You get the WhatsApp Business API approval in 5 steps:

  1. Make sure your business is registered
  2. Start the Business Verification Process in Facebook Business Manager
  3. Select How you want to verify your business
  4. Upload documents of the Chamber of Commerce
  5. Verify your contact method

Comments (4)

  1. Rami Hallal

    Hello, I need help in getting WA for Biz API for our business.

    1. Joren Wouters

      Hey Rami! I just sent you an email 🙂

  2. Annie

    Hi there,
    Was wondering if you would be able to help with something!

    The crux of the problem is that I do not have an “approved document” that states our business phone number. I have tried to be creative and done a number of things:
    – Had a representative at CBA sign and stamp a bank statement saying that they can confirm our phone number
    – Taken screenshots of our ASIC portal
    – Called the ATO and ASIC to see if they can provide us with an official document that states our business phone number or email address. The answer is no.

    I need the verification for out whatsapp channel to integrate properly with Zendesk

    1. Joren Wouters

      Hey Annie! Don’t you have a Chamber of Commerce document with your business phone number in it? That would suffice for Facebook as an approved document.

Comments are closed.