Scouting Forums

Overseas Telephone numbers not in USA format

Scoutbook programmers and they are not alone in this error as Microsoft programmers have also set the default telephone number as 123-456-7890. Yet BSA has units that are not in America. In fact, we have American scouts all over the world. We are a member of Far East Council which has four districts.

Our Pack is in the Central District so we are on Okinawa, Japan, and all of our phone numbers are 123-4567-8901 format which does not jive with Scoutbook default setting. On BSA paper forms we can add the extra digit. But when trying to update records, or trying to call a parent this discrepancy makes scout book worthless to us as far as messaging parents. We also have a date error and we are reminded about an event 14 hours after it occures. I was attempting to update the school and grade level for the Pack and beacuse of the phone number error, I can not make any changes with out changing the phone number to a USA format. Other countries have different formats as well. I just took over as committee chair and trying to keep attendance up over the summer for the summertime pack award, just noticed this glitch in scoutbook.

Thanks in Advance,

Very Respectfully,


A post was split to a new topic: BeAScout Uses US Zip Code for Map


Do you have the country in the profile set to USA or Japan? If you are using an APO/FPO address and still have the country set to USA, it will force USA style phone numbers. If you set the country to Japan, it will allow you to enter your phone number.

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This issue has apparently been solved for Scoutbook.
Previous discussion related to this topic:

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Our District is near 100% all US Military, so we have US zipcodes and use the US Postal system. All of our address have a Post Office Box, with APO/FPO address and we would add AP Area Pacific for the state. It seems simple yet it takes a while to understand. For instance our Pack 110 mailing address is:

PSC 559 Box 6507 FPO, AP 96377

On-base phones use 123-4567 to call and yes we still have operator who need to patch us through to different bases. DSN which a US Military Phone system could use 314 as a prefix, but someone in the USA would need to have a DSN line to reach Okinawa. A DSN line is into every military quarters and the phone number would mimic US standards IE 314-123-4567. Yet near no one uses these old land lines anymore, we all use Japanese cell phones, and the domestic phone number is in the format 123-4567-8901.

To fully understand the level of this issue, is our foreign service or our diplomatic staff has exactly the same issues. All US Embassies and US Consulates have a USPS mail service and a US zipcode. Official calls can be made to all US Embassies with DSN like phones, but most prefer cell phones instead of the old land lines.

So now to answer your question if we switch country to Japan yes the phone number works but the address no longer works.


Understood. We have opened a request to allow non-US phone numbers for users with an APO/FPO zip code. I do not know when this will be scheduled for development.

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2019-07-11: Let’s not be short sighted. There can be BSA units at non-military and non-diplomatic sites overseas, for example at a school established for children of Americans working overseas. (My cousin, an Eagle Scout, graduated from an American high school in the Middle East.)

Lack of support of international telephone numbers in Scoutbook has been an issue for over four years. Scoutbook and other BSA database need to support storage and display of both PSTN and DSN international telephones.

Internationalization of Scoutbook

May 2015: International Phone Numbers
All phone number URIs need to be in international format (+CC-################) where CC is the country code (e.g. for North American numbers +1-###-###-####). Scoutbook needs to allow entry of international numbers (PSTN and DSN).

Foreign cell phones

2015 (updated 2016):

International Phone Numbers - All phone number URIs need to be in international format (+CC-################) where CC is the country code (e.g. for North American numbers +1-###-###-####). Scoutbook needs to allow entry of international numbers (PSTN and DSN).

International telephone format:

Programming note: There appears to be a need to have a flag to indicate a telephone number is a non-PSTN number and a need for a “phone-context” field for non-PSTN numbers for “tel:” URIs.

  1. Public Switched Telephone Network:(PSTN)

There is a article about maximum telephone number length at:

E.123 recommendation…type=items (PDF)
uses + for country dialing code and a space character as a separator when displaying international telephone numbers.

I recommend using + for country code and hyphen character as a separator (with no spaces) in “tel:” URI (web link).
Telephone number format: +1-###-###-#### or +### ############
URI format: “tel:+1-###-###-####” or “tel:+###-############”

Note: different nations place the separator(s) in different places.

International Telecommunications Union recommendations:

2, Defense Switched Network (DSN)


Telephone number format: “DSN ###-####”
URI format: “tel:###-####;”
There appears to be an “area code” or “dial access code” for OUT-CONUS (outside continental US) DSN numbers from US.

I am not clear about whether there is a standard “area code” or “dial access code” for CONUS DSN numbers from OUT-CONUS. - (2015-11-10, there is, see later posted reply.)

This subject is linked to the Internationalization of Scoutbook thread

2016-02-05: Support for international telephone numbers needed.

The maximum telephone number including the country code (CC), 1-3 digits, is 15 digits per E.164 : The international public telecommunication numbering plan , approved 2010-11 (and currently in force). There is more than one telephone number structure in E.164, but all have a maximum of length of 15 digits.

If the country code is stored separately by BSA, the maximum non-CC part of a telephone number is 14 digits. The current BSA membership application forms only allow 10 digits (3-digit area-code and 7-digit subscriber-number) for US phone numbers.

2016-03-08: A post from Dave E., Vienna, Austria (Troop 427),Transatlantic Council area, about May 2015, from another thread suggests other ScoutNET databases may not support international phone numbers.

International Phone Numbers - you could also do the same as number #2, but to be honest we need even more flexibility . Working for the U.S. Embassy, I have U.S. (DPO) address. I also happen to have a vonage (U.S.) number, but my cell phone number (which all of the parents need) is Austrian. I also believe the internet rechartering has issues with non-U.S. phone numbers, so we do not include them when we recharter.

2019 Note: The BSA membership database now supports international telephone numbers.

2016-03-13: Today Kathleen F. posted in another thread:

I’m ready to encourage the troop to join the Scoutbook bandwagon. But we’re overseas and, as has been noted by the earlier posters, we can’t put our home or cell phone numbers into the dashboard. It looks like this has been going on for several months. Is there a problem? Am I doing something wrong?? It’s hard for me to encourage people to join in since they will encounter a problem on their very first page. Please help!

2019-02-22: my.Scouting Tools update announcement
It looks like the new BSA membership database can accept international telephone numbers per the following announcement.

Recent Updates
National 02/19/2019

Online Registration

  • International phone numbers accepted

Scoutbook supports international phone numbers as long as the country is not set to USA.

If someone can point to a list of zip codes for APO/FPO and embassies/consulates we can add it to the story in the backlog to support international phone numbers for these zip codes.

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2019-07-11: Linking the telephone number display format to the mail address, if that is what is being done, is a poor solution. The telephone number display format needs to linked to the individual telephone number not the address. This requirement applies worldwide.

In the US I might be using a foreign mobile phone (cell phone or computer) with a non-US number and overseas I might be using a mobile phone with a with a US telephone number. Units and members might have telephone numbers in more than one country format.

One solution is to use the standard two character country codes for each telephone number. However, if I remember correctly, a country may have more than one telephone display format. So it may be necessary to add a number suffix to some country code, eg. XX, XX1, XX2 etc. Hopeful the programming tool being used to display non-North America (+1) telephone number supports displaying all telephone number formats.

There is a separate discussion topic for APO/FPO/DPO and international mailing address issues.


We are part of the BSA Transatlantic Council and not associated with a military unit and none of our scouts have an APO/FPO zip code but since we are on the border with France, Switzerland, and Germany, we have a variety of country code prefixes for our members and some members have mobile phones in a different country then their home phone.

I believe the only phone number format check is for those who set the country to USA. If the country is set to anything else I believe the phone number field is just plain text.

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