International Telephone Dialing Tips

International Telephone Dialing Tips

The way international phone calls are made from the U.S. is somewhat different from the way people may be used to in their home country. Generally, in order to dial an international phone number, you have to dial an international direct dial code, then the country code, then the area code (or city code) and then the phone number. The following guide talks about the US, UK and India in the examples. However, this guide should be helpful worldwide.

  • Let’s say you want to call someone in India. Their phone number may be listed as 91 (0) 22 1234-5678
    • To dial that number from the U.S., you would dial 011 91 22 1234 5678. 

      In the above number, 
      011 – the international direct dial code
      91 – country code for India
      22 – city code for Mumbai, India
      1234 5678 – individual phone number. 

      You don’t dial the 0 between 91 and 22 because 0 is the long distance dialing code (STD dialing code in India) for dialing long distance from within India, which you don’t need because you are dialing from the U.S. 

    • If you are dialing the same phone number from London, you would dial 00 91 22 1234 5678. 

      The only difference is 00 is the international direct dial code in UK. 

    • If you are dialing the same phone number from New Delhi, India (or any other city), you would dial 022 1234 5678
      0 – long distance dialing code
      22 – city code for Mumbai, India
      1234 5678 – individual phone number 

    • If you are dialing the same phone number from a land line in Mumbai, India, you would just dial 1234 5678, which is the individual phone number. However, if you are dialing from a mobile phone (cell phone), you would have to dial just as if you are dialing from a different city, which would be 022 1234 5678. Please note that unlike the U.S., the phone number format for landlines and mobile numbers are different. Mobile numbers have no concept of the city code (or area code).
    However, if you have a mobile phone, particularly the smart phone such as an iPhone or Android, you can simply dial +91 22 1234 5678, in all of the above situations (from the US, from the UK, from a different city in India, from the same city in India or from a mobile phone) and it will automatically figure out whatever is necessary. This feature is extremely important when you are traveling. You would simply store all the phone numbers in that format, and it would automatically figure out the correct phone number for you. 

  • If someone in the U.S. lists their phone number (408) 555-1212 and you want to dial to the U.S. phone number from the UK or India, you would dial 00 1 408 555 1212. 
    00 – International direct dial code
    1 – International country code for the U.S. In fact, it is the same in North America, which includes Canada and most of the countries in the Caribbean. 
    408 – Area code for bay area (San Jose, CA area)
    555 1212 – Individual phone number. 

    Or you can simply dial +1 408 555 1212 (or even store it like that in your mobile phone’s address book). Now, whether you are in the same area, anywhere in the U.S., in UK or in India, the same phone number will work as it is. 

In short, + is a very power feature for dialing phone numbers from different parts of the world. Make sure that all the phone numbers in your address book are stored in that format.

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