International 101: International Letters of Introduction and Event Verification
While you are considering future International Scouting Travel, now is a great time to review one of the resources offered by the International Committee and Department: the International Letter of Introduction (ILI) and Event Verification Request. Let’s take a look at what it is and the process to request an ILI or event verification:
What is an International Letter of Introduction and Event Verification?
The International Letter
The International Letter of Introduction is recognized by Member Organizations as the standard form of introduction of a Scout or leader when travelling internationally. The letter’s sole purpose is to establish the identity of the bearer, and to entitle him or her to be welcomed as a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). It conveys no special privileges, including any entitlement to hospitality.
International Event Verification
...and how is that different?
When Scouts or Units travel internationally specifically to participate in a Scouting Event, the Host of the event may require that participants verify their membership in a National Scout Organization (NSO). NSO’s are Scouting organizations recognized by WOSM and by verifying membership in an NSO, it ensures to the event Host that all participants are legitimate and adhere to their respective governing policies.
What's the Process to Obtain an ILI or Submit a Verification Request?
International Letters of Introduction are issued annually and tied to your BSA registration (which is renewed annually, in most cases), therefore ILI requests should be submitted during the year of your intended travel.
Step 1: Go to the Travel and Events page to download an ILI/Event Verification Request form
Step 2: Determine Which Option is Right for Your Situation
International Letter of Introduction
(No Specific Event)
As the description above states, an ILI is a recognized way of introducing yourself to other Scouts around the world. Think of it as a way to say, “Hello, I’m a Scout!” An ILI is a great resource to have if you are planning to travel internationally unrelated to Scouting, but have an interest in connecting with Scouts from other countries during your travels.
To request a standalone International Letter of Introduction fill out the information in the top box on the second page of the request form..
Which Box do I fill out on the back?
Event Verification Request
While an ILI is a way of introducing yourself, an Event Verification Request is a mechanism to provide your proof of membership and good standing in the BSA to the Host of an International Scouting event. When you submit an Event Verification Request, the BSA International Department will reach out to the NSO that is hosting the event and make sure that we’re able to help provide any and all information required from BSA.
Additionally, the Unit Leader for the event will receive an ILI as a means of introduction to use while your group is traveling.
Step 3: Fill out the ILI/Event Verification Request
Pro-Tip: Read all the Instructions and fill out all fields. To help expedite the process, attach a copy of your BSA membership card or a Roster from Scoutbook or My.Scouting (when applicable)
Step 4: Get your Request Signed by your Local Council Scout Executive (or Designee)
When traveling to attend and International Scouting Event, you will be representing your Local Council, along with the Boy Scouts of America. The request cannot be processed without this signature.
Step 5: Submit your ILI/Event Verification Request
Pro-Tip: Submit your completed request BY EMAIL instead of snail-mail for the quickest turn-around time.
Step 6: Receive your ILI, Add your Picture and take it with You
To expedite the processing time, your official ILI will be emailed to you. You can either print it off or save it to your mobile device for quick access to it while traveling. Additionally, if you are requesting an Event Verification, we’ll contact the event host on your behalf to verify your membership with the BSA.
Frequently Asked Questions
While International Letters of Introduction and Event Verifications are not required by BSA Policy, they are very highly recommended. Think of an ILI as your Scouting Passport
If the ILI/Event Verification Request is 100% complete and signed when submitted, you can expect an ILI within 1-2 weeks. Most times, what can extend the processing time is incomplete information or missing a signature.
Yes! An ILI is great way to officially introduce yourself to other Scouts around the world.
We’ve got an info sheet just for that! Cruise on over to the Travel and Events page and check out the resources section at the bottom of the page to find the “Inviting Internationals to your Camp” document. It’s under Council-Level International Programs.
The Boy Scouts of America no longer has an official pen pal program. We suggest Scouts participate in world Scouting events such as the Jamboree-on-the-Air and Jamboree-on-the-Internet to make international connections but those specific events are only held on the 3rd weekend in October each year, as an event of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
The BSA officially terminated the Tour Permit program in 2017, but check out The Adventure Plan (TAP) at tap.scouting.org for a great resource to help you plan your trip.
No, the BSA handles the verification of all BSA participants through the Event Host for events with a National Contingent
No. At this time, registration and verificaiton for JOTA/JOTI is done through a separate system.