What is the calling code for the United States? Making your phone call

TransferWise
07.18.18
3 minute read

To call someone in the US, you’ll probably want to use your phone. If you’re not sure about international dialing, area codes, or communication options, read on. This post is your guide for making calls to the US.

How do I call the US?

The US has its own international country code, as does every other country. When you dial it, you’re signifying that you’re calling into the States from abroad. In the US, phone numbers are constructed with a 3-digital area code, followed by a 7-digit local number.

To dial abroad to the US, you’d use the following international country code:

  • +1

Are there other codes in the US I need to be aware of?

Unlike some other countries, the US doesn’t have other codes to remember when trying to dial internationally to or from the US. Just remember to add your county’s international dialing prefix (+) and then press 1 before the call. If you are calling within the US to another number in your same area you, you don’t need to dial 1 before the call.

Most common dialing codes in the US

Each city in the US has one or more area codes for all the numbers in that region. Below are some of the most popular:

AreaLocal Area Code in the US
Los Angeles, CA213, 323, 661, 310, 424
Chicago, IL773, 312, 872
New York, NY917, 212, 718, 347, 929
Miami, FL305, 786
Detroit, MI313
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX214, 469, 972
Washington, DC202
San Francisco, CA415, 628
Boston, MA617, 508
Philadelphia, PA215, 267
Seattle, WA206

An example of a US phone number

To call an American phone number, here’s what it looks like if you’re calling from inside of the US:

  • (area code) – (phone number) or (XXX)- XXX - XXXX

If you’re calling from abroad, it’s a different process. If you call the UK Embassy in Washington, DC, for example, the local number is (202) 588-6500. To call the embassy from the UK, you’d dial:

  • 00 - the exit code to dial outside the States
  • 1 - the US country code
  • 202 - the local DC area code
  • 588-6500 - the rest of the embassy’s number

So if you see (2020 588-6500), you’d dial 00-1-202-588-6500.

Why did my call to the US not work?

There are a few reasons that your call may not have gone through, including:

  • You forgot to use the exit code to dial out of your country
  • You don’t have the correct area code
  • You’re calling a mobile phone that doesn’t accept international calls
  • You forgot to dial the +1 before you entered the number

It’s probably more common for people to make calls using online platforms like Ringo, Whatsapp, Viber, or Skype. The US is rife with reliable wifi, so it’s probably just as convenient, if not more, to use one of these options to connect with someone.

Do phone numbers in the US usually have voicemail boxes?

Whether it’s a landline or a mobile phone, most every number in the US is attached to a voicemail. Most people will choose to have a personalised message directing the caller to leave a message.

What does the ringing tone sound like when you call the US?

The most common phone tones that you might hear are:

  • The dial tone - a standard dial tone that’s similar to other country dial tones.
  • The busy signal - a repeated beep tone that lets you know that the phone you’re calling is engaged or off the hook
  • The unobtainable message - a standard notification that tells you the number you’re calling cannot be reached

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Calling abroad can be a pain, but when it comes to the US, you have several options for reaching your friends and family. Refer back to this guide to get a quick refresh on how to call up the US.

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