Creating Apple and Android developer account experience (from Nepal)
Apple developer account:
As an iOS developer, I always wanted to have my own apple developer account under my name and some apps released with it. While working on company as an iOS developer, developers get the company apple developer account, or account in name of person associated to company. With those accounts credentials in my hand, my work would be to create new app or update the existing app with changes to the Appstore. However, I always wanted to explore more.
Paid apple developer account gives us more facility to try out different tools and resources from Apple. With paid apple developer account we can test and explore different things related to push notifications, in app purchases, extensions widgets, apple pay, icloud services etc. and publish free and paid apps to Appstore.
But using company dev account to trying out such things was not that feasible unless one is supposed to be developing apps with mentioned features.
Being a developer, we are keen to try out the new features or the topics we have not yet tried in development. But for a developer in a company will not get that much chance to try out while working on the job. Also developers may not be given full access to the account except for uploading or updating the apps in appstore. While the manager or the owner of the developer account may know any action as apple will send the email for changes done in iTunes connect.
So I decided to create my own personal Apple developer account. But it was not that easy to do from Nepal. I will try to highlight the steps, issues I faced, and my experience creating the iOS developer account from Nepal.
I went straight to developer.apple.com and began to fill up the form, accept the terms, and proceeded for applying to individual apple developer account membership.
Let me know you that creating the apple account for the company have little more steps and it costs more cost than for sole developer account. So I signed up for developer account as individual.
There was not much issue for me to sign up for the iOS developer account. But the problem came for the payment part. It requires $99 per year for creating individual apple developer account. We can pay the amount via any international card. But in Nepal, I did not have any international card. There is no facility for signing up for international card from Nepal. I had a Payoneer card, but I did not have the amount in the card. Loading the fund to Payoneer card is also not that easy from Nepal.
So I decided to take help from one of my friend in US and ask her to pay for me from her card. She agreed to do so and she paid $ (99 + 10) full fee for my apple developer account. I got email from apple that it will take some time to verify the purchase.
But the problem was that Apple expects to have the same name and address that is used for signing up account match the name in the paying card. The amount was deducted from my friend’s card but still I did not got full access to developer account as my purchase was not complete because my name used for signing up developer account and name in card was not matched.
I waited for 2- days but I did not have any update from Apple. I was worried that payment was lost. I talked to my friend and she queried to the bank of which she used the card, Bank informed that payment has been done but it’s from apple side that it is not verified. I was not sure what to do. No choice but just waiting. Then I got email saying ‘We’re having problem with your payent’.
There were some phone numbers and email address in that page. I tried to call but from Nepal that number was not receivable. So I just emailed to apple the issue. Also my friend tried to call that numbers from US, but nobody picked up the call and the voice message comes leave your message.
I had no option rather than just keep waiting. After few days I got another email about mismatched billing address and my address on sign up and asking me for Photo ID for verification. As name in the card and name used for sign up was not same they wanted to get the Photo ID verification of person who is using the account. They asked me to send my government issued national ID with photo.
Without much waiting I uploaded and send my scanned Nepali citizenship document to apple.
I also explained my issue in detail in the comments box.
They send me email with the link. I just tried to activate my purchase after sending my document by clicking the support link.
Apple was reviewing my document. I thought it would be fine now.
But unfortunately, I got the email that my ID was not accepted, as it was document in Nepali Devanagari text and they wanted in English text (Roman characters).
Nepali citizenship document earlier had only Devnagari text so it was again problem for me. I also did not have driving license or passport that would have my identity in English text. Poor me :(
Luckily I remembered I had my PAN card, which had both English and Nepali text with my identification. Also it was government verified document. I was not sure but I scanned the English part and send it to the apple, hoping it would be accepted. I had no other choice.
Finally after some time, I could access my appstore connect dashboard where I could create an app. I was really happy.
And its already about to be 1 year that I created my apple developer account. About 1 month is remained for my developer account to expire. I will have to pay again $99 for renewal. It is quite costly to pay $99 each year. But the thrill of publishing your first iOS app under your own name is amazing even your app is just a basic one :) . And I learned many things in the process with many experience.
Android developer account:
As I was also learing android development. I wanted to try out publishing android apps in playstore. So I signed up for android developer account as well (few weeks back, on 25th July 2019). The issue was somewhat same like for that I had faced during creation of apple developer account. When I signed up, just like before I asked my friend for paying $25 to google as I did not had international card in Nepal that could do international purchase. I felt that the purchase process was not that much difficult compared to Apple developer account, but it also required ID verification in order to be able to access full developer console account where we could create the apps. My purchase was complete but I did not get full access to developer console as my ID was not verified.
For ID verification, the accepted document by google was also government issued citizenship, driving license or passport with english text. I did not have anyone. I had only citizenship with nepali text. Meanwhile, I had heard of translating the nepali citizenship document to english via means of Notory in Nepal that would be valid. So i translated my nepali citizenship document to english via Notory. I scanned that document and then send it to google for verification.
But for my surprise, google rejected that document. :(
I was worried as, my account would get suspended or invalidated if I tried to submit invalid documents 3 times. My one chance was already gone by submiting the translated document which was not valid.
I then tried my luck and send the PAN card, and it was verified by google. Finally I could access my google developer console dashboard.
So if any developer from Nepal, if you do not have english citizenship, or driving license, or passport and if you have PAN card then you can use that to verify your identity in Apple or Google development account. This is required as I did not had international paying card. I had one from Payoneer, but I could not load money in that card.
Update: Recently I heard of virtual card levopay in Nepal. In their site they have mentioned it is accepted by apple and google for appstore and playstore payment. If it works then it will be very much helpful for paying in such platforms for Nepali developers who want to pay for apple and google developer account and other things. Also for sign up for levopay card, we can use esewa or khalti for payoment and also for loading fund to the card with some process. But it is quite costly compaired to payoneer.
21st, Aug, 2019 Wednesday : Today I renewed my Apple developer account. I used my friends card to renew the membership. It cost $99 + $10.10 tax total $109.10 to renew the apple membership for a year. This time it did not took long time for purchase as my identity has been already validated when I had purchased the membership for first time. The purchase was complete within 1–2 hours.