Making International Calls from the United States

How you call a phone number in a foreign country depends on where it is located.

North America (Country Code: 1)

All of the U.S. states, Canadian provinces, territories and countries in North America fall under the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) and have a "country code" of 1.  (This is why when you dial outside your local area, you are required to dial 1 first.)

For calls within the numbering plan, no exit code is required.

You dial these numbers like you dial any long distance call within the U.S., which is:

  • the country code 1, the 3 digit area code, and the 7 digit phone number

Typically looking something like this:

  • 1 (713) 555-1212

Countries in the North American Numbering Plan:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Caribbean Islands
    • Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos
  • U.S. Territories*
    • American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Important Note: Just because all these countries use the same numbering plan, does not mean that international long distances rates do not apply.  Dialing outside of your local area will typically incur long distance charges, unless you have a special plan with your telephone company.

*Technically some of these are not in North America, but since they are part of the U.S., they use the U.S. telephone system.

Dialing Outside North America (Exit Code: 011 + Country Code)

To dial outside of the North America Numbering Plan, you have to dial an exit code first (011) and then the country code, and then the number.  Although figuring out what the real number is can be tricky because of something called "trunk codes."

Omit the Trunk Code: If the phone number you wish to call starts with a 0, then omit the 0 as this is a local "trunk" code that is only used within the country.  When calling from outside that country, the trunk code is not needed.  Note that the trunk code is not always 0.

You would dial the numbers like this:

  • 011 + country code + area code (if any) + phone number
  • Note: omit any trunk code listed, which is typically a 0 at the beginning of the number, sometimes indicated like this: (0)

For example, you might see a phone number in the United Kingdom (UK) expressed one of these ways:

  • (+44) (0)20 7930 4832
  • +44 20 7930 4832
  • 020 7930 4832

All are the same number and would be dialed:

  • 011 44 20 7930 4832

Note the missing trunk code (0) and the addition of the exit code (011) at the beginning.

Breakdown of the Phone Number:

When you see a + at the beginning of a phone number, they are usually indicating that the adjacent numbers are the country code and at the same time reminding you to add whatever exit code you need to dial first, which in our case is 011. 

Example: +44 (0)20 7930 4832

  • So +44 in the above number indicates that 44 is the country code, and means you would need to dial 011 44 and then the phone number. 
  • The (0) indicates the 0 that is required to be dialed within the country, but is to be omitted when calling from outside the country.