How to subscribe a company for iOS development.

My company is about to release a smartphone app (iPhone and Android) on behalf of several customers. Even though I am a developer (not on the Apple platform though), I got the task of registering the customers on the relevant app markets. Android Market was easy and fast. But to release an app in Apple App Store, we had to get an iOS Developer Program for each customer, and that was such a nightmare full of doubt and surprices. I wrote down the process to help myself (or hopefully a colleague) in case we need to add another customer, and decided to publish it here to help others in similar situation.

This is how I subscribed several customers for iOS development. If you have anything to add, please add a comment or send an email.

A quick overview

  1. An Apple user is called an “Apple ID”. You need an Apple ID to purchase the iOS Developer Program, but it can be created as part of the process.
  2. Then you enroll for an iOS Developer Program, which means you are asking Apple if they will allow you to send them money.
  3. Apple considers your request. They may contact you, ask you to send documentation, ask you to phone someone etc.
  4. If your request is accepted, you are allowed to pay and accept the conditions.

This has nothing to do with actually releasing an app, it’s just a prerequisite.

What you need

My situation is a bit special, because I’m not an iOS developer. I chose to register a legal person, and let the developer either use that account, or create his own account and add that to the developer program. I guess you could register a developer instead. In that case, you will still need the information about a legal contact, and the process is almost exactly the same.

I need the following information to “enroll in the iOS Developer Program”:

  • Legal name and address of the company (The name for marketing is not relevant in this process.)
  • Name, phonenumber and email-address of a person with legal responsibility
  • An email-address (used a lot during the process)
  • A password
  • A birthdate (I picked a random and noted it with all the other security information. I’m not going to ask the legal person about his/her birthday.)
  • A security question and an answer
  • The company website address

These informations CANNOT contain any special characters. Apple does NOT use the 8859-1 (latin-1) character set, apparently they use us-ascii. Apple DO NOT validate the input for this. You CANNOT expect to be able to change this later. If you overlook a special character you WILL be rejected, and you will need to start all over with ANOTHER Apple-id and ANOTHER email-address! The email-address will be banned indefinitely!

Just to make it clear, here’s a danish example: In stead of “blåbærgrød”, write “blaabaergroed” according to the danish spelling rules.

By the way: I asked our customers for an email for “important technical email that I need to do this – you can create a new address that will automatically forward everything to me, or just forward manually”. About 25% gave me an address that didn’t even work. Almost all of the generic addresses with manual forwarding had problems with long delays and mails that wasn’t forwarded at all.

Enrolling

Special characters
Go back to the information you collected, and replace any special characters.

Double check.
Seriously.

”Enroll in the Apple Developer Programs”
Go to http://developer.apple.com/programs/start/standard/.

Click ”Continue”.

“Are you new or a registered Apple developer?”
Under “New Apple Developer” select “I need to create a new account for an Apple Developer Program.”, click “Continue”.

“Are you Enrolling as an Individual or Company?”
Click “Company”.

“Complete your personal profile”
The email-address is NOT for the legal person, it’s the address that will be used a lot.

In the phone-number, you need to fill out area code. If your country doesn’t use them, pretend the first two digits are the area code. Remember country code.

Fill out the rest of the information (remember the special characters!) and click “Continue”.

“Complete your professional profile”
Fill out the information and click “Continue”.

“Registered Apple Developer Agreement”
Read the agreement (heh), check the checkbox, click “I Agree”.

“Enter the verification code sent to your email”
You can wait for the mail to arrive, but that can take days. Here’s a trick: Press F5 now. If the browser asks if you are serious, you are. I got some badly formatted text that looks like it should have been in the mail. It includes the secret URL for verifying the email-address. Copy it to the clipboard, insert it in the address bar. Feel like a hacker.

“Enter your company information”
Fill out the information, remember the special chars. Yes, you’ve already told Apple most of this, don’t ask why you need to do it again.

Except the phone-number. Apple probably want the companys main phonenumber. You decide if that makes sense. I put in the legal persons phonenumber.

Click “Continue”.

“Provide the legal contact for your company”
Yes, you already did that. Just select “I am the legal contact for my company” and click “Continue”.

“Select Your Program”
Check “iOS Developer Program” and click “Continue”.

“Review your enrollment information and submit”
They are serious here. Review and submit. Do not expect to be able to correct anything.

“Thank you for submitting your enrollment”
Now you wait.

Confirming

Apple needs some time to consider your request. Sometimes they don’t feel confident that you are who you say you are, in which case they’ll want you to do something to confirm it.

About 50% of my customers was asked to fax documentation, specifically “the Certificate of registration from the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency of identity for your business based on your company form”. Faxing the wrong papers is not a huge setback, my customers was asked to just fax again with the right papers.

Here’s some more details in danish:

Registreringsbeviset fra Skat er ikke godt nok, det SKAL være registreringsbeviset fra Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen.

UPDATE 2011-09-30: Jeg har efterhånden hørt om en del problemer om dette fra flere sider. Nogle får afvist registreringsbeviset, og nogle bliver bedt om at sende den ikke-eksisterende engelske version. Nogle firmaer har slet ikke et registreringsbevis, da Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen stoppede med at lave dem for adskillige år siden. Den eneste udvej jeg har fundet indtil videre er at købe et engelsk selskabscertifikat fra cvr.dk, det koster 500 kr.
I øvrigt har jeg også hørt flere steder at selvstændige godt kan glemme det, de er nødt til at registrere sig som private.

Checking status

Go to http://developer.apple.com/membercenter/, and look in the top right. Examples, in chronological order:

  • Get access to the wealth of technical resources and information to assist you in creating new and innovation applications for iOS OS and Mac OS X. Join Today
  • We have received your Program Enrollment and are in the process of reviewing the information you have submitted.
  • We have reviewed your Program Enrollment and ask that you contact us.
  • We are processing your Program Enrollment and have received the documentation you provided to verify your identity. We will contact you soon regarding next steps.
  • We are processing your Program Enrollment and are attempting to reach the legal contact you provided during the enrollment process.
  • You must review and accept the iOS Developer Program License Agreement in order to continue with your Program Enrollment.
  • Once you’ve completed your purchase, you will receive an Order Acknowledgement email from the Apple Online Store and an Activation email within 24 hours from Apple Developer Support. The email from Apple Developer Support will contain information on how to access the resources of your Program.

If you see the second-last one, click “Agree now”.

If you see the last one and haven’t paid yet, click ” Programs & Add-ons” in the top menu, then “Continue Enrollment”. Then you will get to the next part.

If you see the last one and have paid, you may have received an activation code by email.

Payment

Apple will send an email about that “You can now continue the Apple Developer Program enrollment process by reviewing and agreeing to the Program License Agreement”. Either click the link in the mail, or click “Agree now” in the status in the Member Center.

Program License Agreement
Read the license, check the checkbox, click “I Agree”.

Proceed to your country’s Apple Online Store to purchase.
Click “Add to cart”.

Apple Store / Basket – Items in Your Basket
Click  ”Check Out Now”

Please Sign In
Under “Guest Checkout” click “Continue”

Apple Store / Secure Checkout - Shipping
Fill out shipping info. Nothing is physically shipped, so I entered the payment info. Except the phone-number, I entered my own. If they call anyone about shipment or payment, I’m the only one who knows what they are talking about. In the name fields, I entered the name of the card-holder. Click “Continue”.

Apple Store / Secure Checkout – Payment
Click “Same as shipping information” above the text-fields.

Enter an email-address. This is where the activation code and invoice is sent. Caution: If you buy on behalf of several companies, see “Activation” below before you enter the same name and email-address for more than one!

Enter VAT-number. Caution: I was told it is very important to supply the VAT-number. I later found out that Apple doesn’t need it, but we need it to be on the invoice. Apple DOES NOT add the VAT-number on the invoice! Put it in the field “Additional Address Information”!

Enter creditcard information

Click “Continue”.

Apple Store / Secure Checkout – Account
I click “Continue as Guest”.

Apple Store / Secure Checkout – Terms & Conditions
Check “I have read blah blah blah”

Click “Continue”

Apple Store / Secure Checkout – Order Details
Click “Place Order Now”

App Store / Thank You
Use the print-function to print these order details. (I “print” to PDF.) You may need some info here, that isn’t on the invoice, plus the invoice may take days to arrive.

Now you wait again. Most companies accept credit card payment immediatly, Apple needs “up to 24 hours”.

Activation

I get an email like this:

To:  <Billing email address>
Subject: Apple Developer Program Activation Code

Apple Developer Program Activation Code

Dear <name I used for billing, not the user account or shipping>,
To complete your purchase and access your Apple Developer Program benefits, please click on the activation code below.

Activation Code Part Number
iOS Developer Program <clickable activation code> D4521G/A

If you need further assistance, please contact us.
Best regards,

Apple Developer Support

If you paid several accounts within a few days, you may now have a problem. I used the same email-address and name for billing for all customers. Clicking the link doesn’t help, because that just takes you to a login screen.

9 comments to How to subscribe a company for iOS development.

  • Regarding international characters, I was in the same seat as you…except my application got through. My name, which contains an é, looks fine in most places except iTunes Connect where it shows up as the lovely "Victor Andr√©e". Not until payment had gone through and my account had been activated and I had gotten into iTunes Connect was there anything weird.

    I had created my Apple ID using Apple’s "regular" customer process which DOES handle international characters just fine. Sigh. I’ve e-mailed them about this but have yet to receive a reply. Maybe after Easter…

    What strikes me as odd is that this is not more widely known! There must be hundreds of thousands of developers with non-American names and the iOS developer program has been around for a looong time. How can there be such a critical bug in Apple’s system?

  • Nic

    Hello do you know if you can send the requested documentation via email? its 72 pages long.. thanks!

  • maybe

    Try faxage.com. Once a member, you will be able to email to phonenumber@faxage.com by attaching pdf docs or images you want to fax. Very useful and easy to use. You get a confirmation email within minutes and then another with the status of the fax being sent.

  • Pitter Bacher

    Hej Niels

    Tak for en god gennemgang!

    Med “Certificate of registration from the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency”, mener Apple så det, der hos Erhvervs og Selskabsstyrelsen hedder et “sammenskrevet resumé”?
    Jeg har tidligere forsøgt at sende Registreringsbeviset fra SKAT, som Apple nu har bedt mig oversætte til engelsk :-)

    • Niels

      Oversætte? Som om du er den første dansker de snakker med? He, de er altså ikke nemme at blive kloge på.

      Men som jeg skriver: “Registreringsbeviset fra Skat er ikke godt nok, det SKAL være registreringsbeviset fra Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen.”
      Flere af “mine” kunder prøvede med papirer fra Skat, de blev alle afvist.

  • Er godtnok ringe man skal faxe i denne tidsalder :)

    Men hvad angår registreringsbeviset fra Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen, så peger Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen faktisk på registreringsbeviset på skat.dk’s side nu. Dvs. ser ikke ud til man kan få en udskrift fra Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen mere.. Surt for os der har startet firma for nylig, der ikke har fået noget registreringsbevis fra Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen.

    • Niels

      Nemt må det åbenbart ikke være. Skriv meget gerne tilbage her, når du har fundet en løsning. Det er der sikkert flere der sætter pris på.

  • Pitter Bacher

    Hmmm… Lyder som om, at det er meget tilfældigt, hvad de skal bruge. Kan heller ikke se, hvad de skal bruge en oversat version af SKATs registreringsbevis, der jo primært er en dokumentation af ejerforhold og afresser på diverse instanser.
    Jeg melder tilbage, når jeg finder en løsning!

  • Pitter Bacher

    Så ser det ud som om problemet er løst! På cvr.dk er det muligt at købe et “Selskabscertifikat m. oblat” på engelsk til 500,-. Det ser ud til at Apple har godkendt dette.

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