How To Call India From the US

How To Call India From the US
Table Of Contents

As our world becomes more connected and the distances between countries shrink, the need for clear, effective communication across borders has become more important than ever.

If you're reading this article, that means you're looking for a comprehensive guide to help you understand the steps required to make an international call from the United States to India. Whether for personal or business reasons, international calling isn’t that difficult, even with the myriad codes and dialing procedures — We’ve got you!

The purpose of this article is to demystify this process and equip you with the knowledge to make these calls confidently. We'll walk you through the various steps, codes, and considerations to take into account while dialing India from the US.

With this guide, you'll find that the process is not as intimidating as it initially appears, and soon, making an international call will be as easy as making a local one.

What Is the Relationship Between the US and India?

The relationship between the United States and India is a remarkable blend of cultural, economic, and political ties, which has strengthened over the years. This connection has been facilitated through the exchange of ideas, resources, and, of course, people.

In recent years, there’s been a significant surge in migration from India to the U.S., primarily driven by educational and job opportunities. With an increasing number of Indian students choosing American universities for higher education and Indian professionals contributing significantly to the U.S. IT sector, the necessity to maintain cross-continental communication has grown exponentially.

Furthermore, several U.S.-based multinational corporations have established operations in India due to the country's economic growth and the availability of skilled workforce. This has increased the frequency of professional interactions between the two nations, necessitating the need for seamless international communication.

Understanding how to effectively call India from the U.S. is an essential skill for both personal and professional reasons. It enables us to stay connected, foster relationships, and conduct business efficiently. This article is your comprehensive guide to achieving that proficiency.

Let's unravel this process together.

What Are the Basics of International Dialing?

The standard procedure for making an international call typically involves four elements:

  • Exit Code: The exit code is the first number you dial when making an international call. It signals your phone provider that you wish to make a call outside of your country.
  • Country Code: This is the next number you dial after the exit code. Each country has a unique country code that identifies it in the global phone network.
  • Area or City Code: This designates a specific geographic region within the country. Not all countries use area or city codes, but most of them do.
  • Local Phone Number: Finally, dial the local landline or mobile phone number you wish to reach.

Step-by-Step Guide for Calling India

The process of calling India from the US involves a series of steps that, once mastered, can make the task seamless. Let's break down these steps one by one.

Step 1: Enter the US Exit Code (011)

The first thing you need to dial when placing an international call from the US is the exit code, which is 011. The exit code tells the telephone network you're about to dial an international number. It's also known as the international dialing prefix. For the US and many other countries, this is 011, but it does vary by country.

Step 2: Enter India’s Country Code (91)

The next number that you will dial is the country code for India, which is 91. A country code is a numerical identifier that signifies the country you are calling. It ensures that your call is routed to the right geographic area globally.

Step 3: Enter the Area Code (if necessary)

After the exit code and country code, you would then enter the area code if you're calling a landline. The code is specific to the city or region in India you're calling, just like in the US and Canada. For example, if you call Mumbai, the area code is 22. So, after the country code, you would enter 22, followed by the landline number.

Note that mobile numbers in India don’t have an area code. You can skip this step and simply enter the 10-digit phone number after you’ve entered the US exit code and India country code. Also, a few mobile numbers start with a “0” (known as a trunk code), but it’s only used when dialing domestically in India. If you’re calling from the US, omit the trunk code.

Step 4: Enter the Local Phone Number

After you’ve entered the area code (for landlines only), finish the dialing process by entering the phone number. Hopefully, the call should be transferred through and start ringing momentarily. If not, review these steps and double-check you’ve followed them correctly and entered the proper numbers.

Examples of Dialing a Number in Mumbai

It might be a tad easier to understand using a few examples. Let’s say you’re trying to call a landline in Mumbai with the local phone number of 1234-5678.

Here’s the sequence of numbers that you would need to dial:

  1. Start with the US exit code: 011
  2. Then add the country code of India: 91
  3. Next, enter the area code for Mumbai: 22
  4. Now, enter the landline number: 1234 5678

The final dialing sequence would look something like this: 011-91-22-1234-5678.

Now, let’s say you’re trying to call a cell phone number in Mumbai of 98765-43210. Since there are no area codes for mobile phones in India, the process will look a bit different:

  1. Start with the US exit code: 011
  2. Then add the country code for India: 91
  3. Now, add the 10-digit mobile phone number: 98765-43210

The final dialing sequence for this example would be: 011-91-98765-43210.

What Are the Most Common Area Codes Used in India?

When making a call to a landline in India from the US, you need to know the area code of the city you are trying to reach. As covered earlier, the area code will be dialed after India's country code, 91, and before the landline number.

Here are a few area codes for some of India's major cities:

  • Mumbai - 22: India's financial hub, Mumbai, also known as Bombay, has the area code 22. So, if you're calling a landline in Mumbai, you would dial 011-91-22, followed by the landline number.
  • Delhi - 11: Delhi, India's capital city, has the area code 11. Therefore, your dialing sequence to Delhi would be 011-91-11, followed by the landline number.
  • Bangalore - 80: Known as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore's area code is 80.
  • Chennai - 44: Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is a significant cultural, economic, and educational center in South India, with the area code 44.
  • Kolkata - 33: Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, has the area code 33.
  • Hyderabad - 40: This southern city, known for its IT and tech industry, has the area code 40.

Quick summary: These area codes are only required when dialing a landline. Indian mobile numbers don’t need an area code; simply dial the number after the exit code and country code. That’s true regardless of the physical location of the person using the phone.

How Much Does It Cost To Call India?

Making international calls often comes with additional costs, which vary depending on your carrier and the specifics of your plan.

In general, expect to pay more for an international call to India than for a domestic US call. Charges can range from a few cents per minute to over a dollar per minute, depending on your service provider and whether you're calling a landline or mobile phone. Some providers offer international calling plans or add-ons that can significantly reduce the cost per minute.

For example, the AT&T International Calling plan allows unlimited calling from the US to more than 85 countries and discounted calling to 140 more for just $15 a month. On the other hand, Verizon features the Global Calling Plus plan that allows for unlimited calls from the US to landlines in 60+ countries and mobile phones in 30+ countries for $15 a month.

It's crucial to understand the charges associated with international calls to avoid any unexpected fees. Check with your service provider for the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you frequently make international calls, it might be worth considering an international calling plan.

Then again, it might be a good idea to consider using online calling apps such as Skype, WhatsApp, or Google Hangouts for a cost-effective and privacy-conscious alternative. These platforms use your data or Wi-Fi connection to place calls, often at much lower rates than traditional carriers, and provide an added layer of privacy protection.

What Is the Time Difference Between the US and India?

When making international calls, review time differences to call at a convenient time. The time difference between the US and India can be considerable due to their geographical locations.

India operates on India Standard Time (IST), which is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+5:30). To illustrate when it's 12 noon in Washington D.C. (EST), it's approximately 10:30 pm in India.

When it's 12 noon in Los Angeles (PST), it's around 1:30 am the next day in India. So, if you're in the Eastern Time zone and wish to call India, remember they're about 10.5 hours ahead; if you're on the West Coast, they're about 13.5 hours ahead.

There can be a time that’s respectful and convenient for both parties, and it only takes a minute to make sure you don’t accidentally wake up your friends, family members, and colleagues living abroad. And if the other party tends to call you in the middle of the night, setting up a do not disturb feature might help ensure you get the shut-eye you need.

Elevating Your Global Connection

Efficient and affordable communication is key in our interconnected world. Whether you're keeping in touch with loved ones, conducting business, or planning a trip, knowing how to make an international call to India from the US can come in handy.

To recap, dial the US exit code (011), followed by India's country code (91), and then the area code (if calling a landline) or the 10-digit mobile number. Stay aware of potential costs with your service provider, and consider using an international calling plan if you frequently call India.

Don’t forget the significant time difference between the US and India. Scheduling your calls at a convenient time for both parties can make the experience much more pleasant (and far less sleepy).

Strengthen your global connection and enhance your communication experience by keeping these tips in mind as you dial across continents. As always, be mindful of your privacy and take steps to keep your personal information out of the wrong hands.

Burner is an excellent way to do just that. While it doesn’t have international calling capabilities yet, it can keep your private information safe when making domestic calls. Check out the Burner app today to start your free seven-day trial and experience all of the benefits for yourself.


US Immigration: Why Indians are Fleeing Halfway Around the World | BBC News

What Countries Are Most Multinational Corporations Based in? | Investopedia

International Calling Codes | Country Code Search | International Citizens Group

International Calling Tip Sheet | Federal Communications Commission

India Standard Time – IST Time Zone | Time and Date

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) | Federal Communications Commission

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