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Why Your Instagram Profile Verification Application Was Denied

Posted by on November 29th, 2022
Written by ContentPowered.com

Verification on social media has been a long-running problem pretty much everywhere. You can run into the Facebook problem, where people who should be verified are not, and people who arguably shouldn’t be verified have been grandfathered in from before the restrictions were tightened. Worse, you can run into the Twitter problem, where verification is seen as an endorsement by the platform itself, which makes it very questionable that outright fascists and self-professed white supremacists are verified while journalists and public figures are not.

Instagram was on track to have the Facebook problem, but cut it off at the pass by opening up verification to everyone some time a few months ago, near the end of August. So how does verification on Instagram work, and can you get it?

About Instagram Verification

Here’s the official page for Instagram Verification. If you’re reading this in the future, especially more than six months in the future, check the page first to make sure the information I convey is still valid. If it’s not, feel free to let me know, maybe I’ll be able to make some edits.

How to Apply for Verification

The verified badge on Instagram is meant to be an indicator of noteworthiness. Under “what is a verified badge,” Instagram explains that it means “Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the public figure, celebrity, or global brand it represents.”

In order to request verification, you need to meet the minimum requirements – which I’ll go over in the next section – and apply for it. To apply for it, log in on the account you want to verify and tap the burger button (the three stacked lines.) Tap settings, and then tap request verification. You’ll be asked to provide your full name and ID based on the entity you’re verifying.

Once you submit a verification request, Instagram will review your account and make a determination whether or not you should be verified. Approved or denied, you will receive a notification in the app with the results. If you are denied, you can send another request after 30 days have passed.

Instagram Verification Requirements

So what does Instagram look for when they’re considering whether or not to verify an account? Here’s a brief list.

Your account complies with the terms of service and community guidelines. The Instagram terms of service and community guidelines are complex documents, but they basically just govern the kinds of content you can post and the behaviors you can get away with. Read them, internalize them, and don’t try to push them.

Your account represents a real, authentic person, entity, or business. Instagram will not verify a profile representing a fictional character, a fake person, or a business that doesn’t exist.

Your account is a unique presence for the entity it represents. Only one Instagram profile can be verified per business. There’s one exception, which is different language versions for different localizations, but that’s not likely going to be your issue.

Your account is public. There are benefits to running a private account, but one of the major drawbacks is the inability to be verified. Only public accounts can have that little tick mark, and if you have it and go private later, you can lose it.

Private Account on IG

Your account is complete. If you’ve left your profile photo blank, your photos without captions, or any other sign that you don’t really care about using Instagram, you can bet they aren’t going to verify you.

Your account cannot promote social media services. Specifically, services they don’t approve of. This can be anything from a simple “follow me” in your profile bio to links that promote a site to buy followers. A brand like Buffer is fine; one like BuyLikes4U.biz is not.

Your account represents someone noteworthy or well known. This is the most fickle requirement: Instagram only verifies profiles with a certain level of notoriety. The key term in their requirements is “global brand” here. Most of the people reading this are representing smaller, more local brands that might not make the cut.

Oprahs Instagram

Your account is potentially at risk of impersonation. Instagram will use this as a determining factor if your brand is right on the line. If you’re at risk of being impersonated and that impersonation damaging your customers, they will be more likely to verify you.

It’s also worth noting that if you attempt to streamline, bypass, or otherwise subvert the verification process by providing false information, Instagram will deny your request. If they verified you and discover that the information you submitted was false, they will remove your verification badge, and they may potentially delete your account as punishment.

Why Your Verification Request Was Denied

Now let’s get to the meat of the discussion. You’ve applied and you were denied. Why was your request for verification denied, and what can you do about it to increase your chance of success in another 30 days?

Make sure you comply with the terms of service and community guidelines. This is perhaps the number one reason why accounts are not verified, and if it’s in second place, it’s because notoriety is number one. Avoid misusing hashtags, avoid spamming people, avoid posting content that skirts the line, and so on.

Make sure you’re not an unofficial account. I’ve seen this a few times; someone asks me why they weren’t verified, and I come to find out that they’re operating an unofficial fan account for a celebrity, movie, or some other entity. Sure, you might be the official Instagram account for your website, but your website is not the authorized representative of that entity. Make sure you’re the actual entity asking for verification, not a third party with some tenuous involvement.

Fake Instagram Profile Brad Pitt

Make sure you’re representing a real entity. Once or twice I’ve heard of people asking for verification on accounts that represent a character from a movie rather than the actor playing the character, or something similar. These might as well be fake accounts as far as Instagram is concerned. Even if you’re following all the rules and you’re a very accurate roleplaying account, Instagram still isn’t going to verify you.

Make sure your account is public. Again, there may be some benefit to being a private account, but marketing is not one of them. If your account is private, you lose out on a lot of potential benefits, up to and including verification. If you’re in a position where you may want to make your account private in the future, applying for verification might not be worth it. Then again, the application is literally like four taps in the app so it’s not like it’s a waste of time or anything. 

Make sure your profile is filled out and active. Instagram has no reason to verify an account that isn’t actively using their platform. Don’t rely on verification to be the incentive that makes you start using Instagram; you’ll never get it. Actively use Instagram as a show of good faith and they’ll be more likely to verify you. It’s not a guarantee of course, but it certainly won’t hurt. 

Make sure you’re not promoting a business Instagram doesn’t like. There are a lot of niches that Instagram doesn’t like, many of which are listed in their terms of service. You don’t want to be promoting a competitor, though there aren’t many competitors Instagram would care about but not verify. You don’t want to promote any shady services, MLM schemes, fraudulent health brands, and so on. Anything at risk of being regulated by the government probably isn’t something Instagram wants to verify, for example.

Make sure you’re noteworthy enough as an entity. This is the hardest one to quantify. Instagram does not have any guidelines as to what is and isn’t noteworthy enough for them to consider. The best you can do is look for other brands or entities that you would consider very comparable to yourself and see if they’re verified.

  • Your follower count doesn’t matter. I’ve seen accounts with under a thousand followers get verification, and I’ve seen accounts with millions not be able to get the check mark.
  • Aim for a global presence. A lot of small businesses aren’t going to make the cut, even if you’re a more or less national brand.
  • Don’t try to verify a startup just based on a successful Kickstarter or a round of venture funding. Wait until you’ve earned a position on a few news cycles and have a product available with a popular following.

Those are a few basic pieces of advice that can give you an idea of what Instagram is looking for. They want to verify the big players, not the little brands looking for a little marketing boost.

Instagram Not Verified Denied

 Make sure you’re not changing your information. Any major change to your account name or identifying information is an indication that you may have sold an account or otherwise gave it to someone else. You can change your profile picture, your bio, and so on, but don’t change your branding. Make sure it’s always clear you are who you say you are. You cannot get verification and then change your information to sell a verified account.

Make sure you’re building your brand on third party sites organically. Instagram says “We review accounts that are featured in multiple news sources, and we don’t consider paid or promotional content as sources for review.” In other words, sponsored posts and press releases don’t count as promotion, but an authoritative position as a writer – even a guest contributor – on a big name publication can be worthwhile. Grow your position online organically as much as possible to bolster your chances of success.

Make sure you’re promoting your Instagram account on other services. Instagram doesn’t mention it, but you can boost your chances of success by making sure to use and promote Instagram elsewhere. Linking to your Instagram profile from your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other major accounts is a good start. Likewise, link to your Instagram account from your website, and embed your posts in your blog occasionally. Basically, just prove that you’re using and promoting Instagram as much as you can be.

The Backdoor Method

Note: I don’t recommend any methods that violate the terms of social networks. This information is for educational purposes only. Use at your own risk.

There’s a route that some forum users have reported success with, for those that are right on the edge of verification but have been denied. If you think you might have a shot at it, and you’re not above a little subterfuge, you can try this.

First, set up a VPN or proxy server for a mobile device that isn’t your main device. You want to hide your identity while you’re doing this, since it’s against the terms of service. Make sure you only take steps for this plan with this obfuscated account, and never cross over between the two.

Set up a copy profile of your own brand. Basically what you’re doing is creating an impersonator for yourself. The explicit purpose of this account is to act like someone trying to copy your web presence and steal information from your customers. You don’t want to go so far as to actually set up a phishing site, but make it look realistic with a few hints of shadiness. Bonus points if you’re using a proxy or VPN that comes out at an endpoint in India, Bangladesh, the Ukraine, or some other known sketchy location.

Impersonation Account Example

Run this profile for a while, and then use your main account to report it. Point it out on your social media and mobilize your followers to report the account. With any luck, it will be banned. This is why you want to avoid cross contamination; you don’t want Instagram to realize the same IP address is behind them, for example.

At this point, apply for verification again. Ideally, the fact that you were recently forced to deal with impersonation will be enough to kick you over the edge and earn you that blue check mark. If not, well, you might be out of luck. Don’t try this more than once, or it becomes quite transparent.

How many times were you denied from Instagram verification? Did you eventually get verified? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!

Join the discussion:
  1. Joe Riggs


    I have been trying to get a verification badge for several months now. I am a professional fighter that has been on many video games and movies. I am here for time will champion that has been with the UFC for eight years. I also have been with Delta for strikeforce and the WEC. I am in mixed Martial arts Hall of Fame. And there are several fake accounts of myself. And I get asked all the time in my private message box if this is the real account or not. Please let me know if I can do something differently to get verified. Nice to have a Instagram last year but I said down. I had a verification badge then. I have it on Twitter. And I have only had this phone for a couple months and only have 7000 followers. But that’s mostly because people don’t think that it’s a real account

    • James Parsons


      Hey Joe, thanks for your comment! What you want to do is file an impersonation report with Twitter. 9 times out of 10, when you are a TV personality being impersonated, they will remove the offending account and get you started on a path to verifying your account without even asking. Start by collecting a list of all the fake accounts who are stealing your name, and start reporting all of them one by one. If this doesn’t work, if you have a lawyer, you could have them send a polite letter to Twitter as well requesting this as well, maybe even hinting at verification since your fans are following the fake accounts and they are allowing this to happen.

  2. Karim Bourgi


    I’ve been requesting the verification badge on Instagram more than 5 times now and every time they denid it! I am a celebrity pastry chef all my followers are real I teach pastry all over the world, most of the largest verified accounts they repost my videos so please advise what to do?

    • James Parsons


      Hi Karim! Look at the advice I just gave to Andrew in this article’s comments section; the same advice applies to your profile. Good luck!

  3. Andrew Erbes


    I am under contract in the CFL football league for the next two seasons all of my teammates are verified and I have been denied like two or three times, I’m confused on how the process works. Any chance I could get some help with it I’ve been told everyone in that league is supposed to be verified?

    • James Parsons


      Hi Andrew, it helps if you give them links to media mentions that you have to confirm your identity. Team rosters, photos of you on articles, player profiles, things like that. Larger sites the better. Give them 8-10 of those on your next application and tell them you’ve been impersonated in the past and you want to be verified so people know which profile is the real profile. You should get accepted next time.

      • Carlos


        Hi James !! Thank you for helping, I would like to know where is it that we should send the article since the verification request is done in the IG app this days and the app don’t give you an option to send nothing other than a photo id, is there like an email address or something??? Thx again.

      • Sam


        Where can you give them links to your media mentions, press and articles etc…? Does that go in the ‘known as’ section? what is that section even for it’s super vague….!???? Thanks!

      • C D


        but where do they give you the opportunity to make a case? When I’ve applied you just give name, known as, category and government ID…

        • Michelle Rivera


          Where on Instagram do we send supporting documents of why we should be verified? On the App all you can do is upload your ID. I do not see a place where we can include links for anything else? Thank you.

  4. rasheim


    i played basketball for 14 seasons, fiba certified, played in the world championships, played basketball in 55 different countries im all over the asia basketball market and television i have a good following and i play for a whole nother country competing for the olympics why am i not verified… any suggestions

  5. naz tah


    Hi, we are a Local Luxury Furniture Brand business with three different location in town. But every-time we try to get verified it doesn’t work. Is it because we are a local business ??? Also I thought maybe the part that you fill out the form for verification I am doing something wrong there! I usually put the owner name and a photo of his Id. you think that is the reason??

  6. Crissy


    Hi Andrew, I have attempted to verify a business page I manage but it continues to be declined. I have read your advise above but do you have any other suggestions specific to businesses? I have tried sending in various photos of collateral, our facility and business cards. I assume they need a more legal document such as a business license? Can you help shed some light on this? Thanks!

  7. Vedant Bhrambhatt


    Hey There, I am featured in an Indian language newspaper, of the times group, so can I get the verification badge?

    • James Parsons


      Hi Vedant! From what I’ve heard, it really helps to have 8-10 mentions on prominent websites (Wikipedia page, IMDB, news sites, etc). If you meet this criteria, you can apply directly withiny our profile for verification now.

  8. Scott Fischer


    I have 187,000 followers. I am an artist who’s work has been published in many countries for games like Magic: The Gathering. Comic book companies like Dark Horse. I have numerous mentions in magazines. I share quality content, showing people how I make the art I make. I have illustrated NY times #1 best sellers. I was denied and am confused as to why. Is there a place to list where we have been published and mentioned? I have only seen the place to attach a photo of ID. Is that the only option there?

  9. Nader


    I have an error when I try to verify my Instagram account. After click in submit, I get an “Oops,an error occured” error. Any idea why this is happening?

  10. Fatima Khan


    I am trying to have my Retail shop account verified and every time I try it is denied. I don’t know how to reach out to Instagram to get it verified or what else to do. Do you have any suggestions?

  11. Carrion


    Hello, I work for a boat company and I’ve been trying to get verified but I haven’t received a response back from Instagram and it’s been about 2 months since we filed the info. What are my options?

  12. Nathan Goestenkors


    Hey, so I’ve only applied once, but i was denied. I show up in multiple news sources, but none big enough yet I don’t think. Do you have any advice on getting on major publications? There is someone I know on social media that had a friend create them a wiki page and that was enough to get them verified. Problem is he’s being very protective over who helped him. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  13. Jeanne Tranter


    Hello. I was denied verification for an 85-year-old privately held global company (even has Int’l in its name) with a significant number of employees. For proof, I had submitted articles of incorporation. However, it does not mention the brand name — which is the name on our Instagram account. Nor is the corporation’s name mentioned in the profile. I’m suspecting that’s the disconnect. I should see if I can find a doc, maybe, that DBA (brand)? Any ideas? Thank you so much for any help you can provide!

  14. tammy


    I have a question. Were you denied before or after your payment.

  15. info


    Before Instagram introduced a verified account application last year, the criteria for choosing who got a verified badge was a mystery. One day, a blue check might appear next to your name (seemingly) out of thin air!

  16. P. Hashemi


    You mention in your article that one of the restrictions within Instagram’s terms is that it doesn’t give out more than one verification to one person for multiple accounts. How do you explain @loganpaul and is second account @moreloganpaul both being verified? This isn’t the only one like this either. Mean while legitimate people and brands can’t even get one account verified.

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