There’s no general guideline for getting a building permit for a container home, however, you can take certain steps that will make it more likely that your plans will be approved.
First, communication. Speak with the local authorities about your plans, explain the designs and benefits, and have examples of other container homes built.
Second, if you haven’t purchased the ground yet and aren’t locked into living in one specific area, research places that are more friendly and open minded to container homes. If an area is a little more remote, there might be a better chance of having your designs accepted and ultimately approved. You can also look for areas with no building codes. There aren’t many places left, but they do exist in the United States.
Unfortunately, there is no universal criteria for having a container home approved, each municipality or region has their own set of codes to best ensure the safety of the residents of that area.