Ask pretty much any American, and they’ll tell you the United Kingdom is the mother country of the United States. Every year millions of Americans celebrate Independence Day to mark the occasion that we split away to create our own nation.
Despite the turmoil that followed this decision, the United States and the United Kingdom have been the closest allies. After all, we still speak the native language of our friends across the pond and frequently support each other in times of need.
If you have someone that you're close to in the United Kingdom, you might want to do the same for them. One of the best ways to do that is to call them on the phone to catch up. The problem is that it’s not as easy as calling someone here in the states. You’ll have to jump through a few more hoops before you can get connected to our Union Jack-waving pals.
Calling someone in the United Kingdom won’t be too much more challenging than making a normal phone call in the states. You’ll have to enter a few more numbers, but that’s the only real difference.
Here is a step-by-step guide on the process that you’ll need to follow:
Enter the United States Exit Code of 011
Attempting to make an exit call outside of the country you’re in will require an exit code. For the United States and Canada, that exit code is 011. There are a few scenarios where you might be able to avoid this step (international feature through your phone carrier, voice-over-internet protocol, etc.). The majority of them will require entering this code; it’s better to just play it safe and assume it’s needed.
Enter the United Kingdom’s Country Code of 44
Calling another country will require you to enter that country’s specific code. It’s easiest to think of them as area codes for entire countries. Every county has one, and the code for the United Kingdom is 44. You’ll have to enter that code to complete the call.
Enter a 7 if You’re Calling a Cell Phone
If you’re calling a landline in the United Kingdom, then you can skip this step. If you’re calling a cell phone, then you’ll need to enter a 7, as it’s the United Kingdom's mobile code.
You’ll need to enter it after you enter the United Kingdom’s country code and before you enter the area code of the phone number.
Disregard the Trunk Code of 0
Trunk codes are digital codes that must be entered when the call is being made within the same country. For the United Kingdom, their trunk code is 0. It can get a little bit confusing as the trunk code is usually added to the area codes.
London, for example, has an area code of 020. Since you’re calling from outside the United Kingdom, you can ignore the first 0 and simply enter 20 instead.
Enter the Area Code
The area codes used in the United Kingdom function in pretty much the same way as the area codes in the United States. The main difference is that area codes in the United Kingdom can be two, three, or even four digits long.
Technically, they’re three, four, and five digits long, counting the trunk code of 0 that’s placed in front of them. However, since you don’t have to enter it to complete the call, you don’t need to worry about it.
Enter the Remaining Numbers
The rest of the phone number can be anywhere from four to eight digits long. It can vary so wildly because of the different sizes of area codes. Also, the United Kingdom doesn’t have a firm length of phone numbers like in the United States.
Every phone number in America has ten digits counting the area code. In the United Kingdom, you could have a nine, ten, or eleven-digit phone number. Double-check that you have the right number before making the call. If you’re having issues connecting, it could be because you don’t have the exact phone number.
Here is an example that might be able to help you see what the process would look like when you do it:
Let’s say that you’re trying to call a landline in London whose number was listed as 020-555-5555. The first thing that you would have to do is enter 011 to make a call outside of the United States.
Next, you would have to enter 44 so that you could make a call to the United Kingdom. Because it’s a landline and an outside call, you won’t have to enter anything else and can skip the 0 in the London area code. You would complete the number as listed. It would look something like this: 011-44-20-555-5555.
Now let’s say that you’re trying to call a cell phone in London, and their number is 020-111-1111. You would need to enter 011 to call out of the United States and 44 to call into the United Kingdom.
Since it’s a cell phone, you would have to enter a 7 before you started on the area code. You could still ignore the 0 in the area code, though. You would then enter the remaining numbers, which would appear as 011-44-7-20-111-1111.
What Are the Area Codes in the United Kingdom?
The area codes in the United Kingdom are a bit different than the ones in the United States. While they serve the same purpose, the length of United Kingdom area codes is seemingly random.
The entirety of the United Kingdom only uses 40 total area codes, which is only two more than the state of California. Some of the area codes are two digits, a lot of them are three digits, and the rest are four digits.
These are the local area codes currently in use throughout the United Kingdom:
- Aberdeen: 1224
- Belfast: 28
- Birmingham: 121
- Blackburn: 1254
- Blackpool: 1253
- Bolton: 1204
- Bournemouth: 1202
- Brighton: 1273
- Bristol: 117
- Cambridge: 1223
- Cardiff: 29
- Leicester: 116
- Liverpool: 151
- London: 20
- Manchester: 161
- Middlesbrough: 1642
- Newcastle: 191
- Northampton: 1604
- Norwich: 1603
- Nottingham: 115
- Oxford: 1865
- Swansea: 1792
- Wolverhampton: 1902
- Worcester: 1905
- York: 1904
How Much Does It Cost To Call the United Kingdom?
It’s going to cost you some money every time you make a call outside the United States. Even calling our national neighbor Mexico will cost you, and it’s directly in contact with the southern border.
Depending on how often you plan on calling the United Kingdom, you might want to shop around to find the best rates. To give you a rough estimate of the cost to call the United Kingdom, let’s look into some of the basic international rates for AT&T and Verizon:
Calling a landline in the United Kingdom will cost you $3.50 for every minute. Calling a cell phone is even more expensive as it will cost you $3.70 per minute.
If you plan on calling the United Kingdom often, then you might want to opt for the AT&T Worldwide Value Calling plan. It will cost you an extra $5.99 a month, but landlines will only cost eight cents a minute and cell phones 28 cents.
Verizon features the better deal of the two tech giants. If you have the Fios bundle offered by Verizon, then it’s only eight cents for each minute calling a landline and 29 cents a minute calling a cell phone.
The Verizon World Plan 300 might be the best option compared to the previous one, as you’ll receive 300 free minutes per month. When those are used up, you’ll be charged the same rates as the Fios bundle, i.e., eight cents a minute for landlines and 29 cents a minute for cell phones.
Don’t Forget About the Time Difference
The ability to pick up a phone at any time and make a call halfway around the world can make it hard to remember the time difference. The United Kingdom is always several hours ahead of the United States based on its physical location.
Therefore the United Kingdom is:
- Five hours ahead of Boston, Massachusetts
- Six hours ahead of Chicago, Illinois
- Seven hours ahead of Denver, Colorado
- Eight hours ahead of Seattle, Washington
- Nine hours ahead of Anchorage, Alaska
- Ten hours ahead of Honolulu, Hawaii
Try to keep the time difference in mind when you’re making a call to the United Kingdom. It’s highly likely that your “dinner time” is their “middle of the night.” You don’t want to accidentally call and wake someone up just for a quick chat. You’ll definitely feel this time difference in the form of jet lag when you travel there in person.
Calling Across the Pond
The United Kingdom and the United States have a long history together and a bright future ahead. However, trying to plan for that future might be a little challenging over the phone. You’ll have to pay close attention to several different numbers if you want to talk with our friends across the pond.
Before you enter the area code and number, you’ll have to enter 011, then 44, and 7 if it’s a cell phone. It might sound fairly complicated at first, but you’ll have the hang of it once you do it a few times. The tricky thing is going to be to do it in a way that doesn’t double your phone bill. Some phone service providers have better international calling features than others, but you’re probably going to pay a handsome amount to frequently call the United Kingdom.
Final Note: Don’t Forget About Data Privacy
While you can’t call the UK with Burner, it is an essential part of your personal security strategy.
Using the Burner app is a great way to prevent having your primary phone number from falling into the wrong hands.
Download the Burner app today to pick out your second phone number. You can start your free seven-day trial and experience all the benefits for yourself.
USA to London Time Converter | Greenwich Mean Time
Check Basic Rates Before Making International Calls | Federal Communications Commission
Area Codes and Numbering | CPUC
Dialing Procedures | International Telecommunication Union
Country Codes | countrycode.org
International Calling Tip Sheet | Federal Communications Commission