Phone Number

All WhatsApp Business API accounts rely on a valid phone number.

This document covers:

Picking a Phone Number

Your business must use a valid phone number. Short codes are not allowed on the WhatsApp platform. The number must include a country and area code. Landline and cell phone numbers are acceptable phone numbers to use. Since a phone number is tied to a WhatsApp account, you must own this number. This phone number must be able to receive voice calls or SMS in order to complete registration. This phone number must also not have been used with the WhatsApp Business API before. To use a phone number already on WhatsApp, refer to the instructions on how to migrate a phone number below.

Once you have chosen your business's phone number(s), add them to your WhatsApp account to validate the phone number(s) and create the associated display name.

  1. Select your WhatsApp account in the Facebook Business Manager.
  2. Go to the Settings tab, and click on the WhatsApp Manager button.
  3. Under the Phone Numbers tab, click on the Add Phone Number button and enter the information in the Add Phone Number dialog.

Once a phone number is registered on the WhatsApp Business API, it cannot be used for WhatsApp Business or the WhatsApp consumer app. A phone number can be upgraded to the WhatsApp Business API, but not downgraded.

1-800 and Toll Free Numbers

Many businesses want to use phone numbers their customers already know such as their 1-800 or other toll free numbers. These type of numbers are usually behind an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, which a WhatsApp registration call cannot navigate. Instead, WhatsApp is able to share with you 1 to 2 phone numbers that the registration phone call will come from. You can use this information to create a whitelist for those numbers so that you can redirect the registration call to an employee or mailbox where the registration code will be captured.

If creating an exception in your IVR tree is something that you can do, add the phone number to your WhatsApp business account and open a Direct Support ticket asking for the registration call phone numbers and stating the phone number you are trying to register in the ticket.

Migrating a Phone Number

A phone number already being used with the WhatsApp Business API cannot be migrated. You will have to pick a different phone number.

You can use a phone number that is already registered in the Android, iPhone, or Business application versions of WhatsApp. However, if you try to add that phone number to your Business Manager, you will see a Phone Number Is Invalid error. You will need to follow the steps below to delete the WhatsApp account associated with that phone number. Any incoming messages after deleting the WhatsApp account on your Android or iPhone will be queued by the WhatsApp servers and delivered upon successful registration (i.e., messaging downtime will occur between steps 8 and 9).

  1. In Business Manager, add the phone number that is already registered in the Android, iPhone, or Business application versions of WhatsApp.
  2. Assign a display name to your phone number, following the display name guidelines. Submit it for review by the WhatsApp team. You will be notified when the display name is approved. Note: You can't download a certificate if your WhatsApp account on your Android or iPhone is still active.
  3. Open the WhatsApp (or WhatsApp Business) application on your Android or iPhone.
  4. Navigate to the Settings page.
  5. Select Account.
    Account Settings
  6. Select Delete my account.
    Delete My Account
  7. Follow the steps to delete the WhatsApp account for that phone number.
    Deletion Steps
  8. Go back to the Business Manager and refresh your browser window. A certificate will be available for download to proceed with the [registration process](#register).

Registration

To start using the WhatsApp Business API, you will need to register your phone number with a display name by following the Registration documentation. During the registration process, you will receive a 6-digit registration code to the phone number you want to register.

As mentioned in the previous section, the phone number you select must be able to receive SMS or voice calls directly. If your phone number is behind an IVR like 1-800 or other toll-free numbers, please refer to the section addressing them above. If you have a phone number already registered using a manual code before, it will continue to work normally.