Whether you’re looking to connect with a business contact or just trying to catch up with your old pal Elton, you might have to place a call to the U.K. from the U.S. once in a while.

And while it’s not as straightforward as just keying in their number and hitting the green dial button, it’s not complicated either.

In this article, you’ll learn:

How to call the U.K. from the U.S. in 4 easy steps

GIF of a bear dialing on a phone

Before we dive right in, it’s important to note that there are different conventions you’ll need depending on whether you’re dialing a cellphone or a landline number.

We’ll explain how to place calls to both and get through every time.

How to call U.K. landlines from the U.S.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what it takes to reach landline numbers based in the United Kingdom.

1. Key in the exit code (011)

The exit code, also known as an international access code, signifies to your carrier that you’re making a call outside networks based within the United States so your call can be routed appropriately.

Alternatively, if you’re on a smartphone or using OpenPhone, you can simply key in the plus (+) symbol to replace the exit code, and your call will be routed just fine.

2. Dial the country code (44)

Similar to the exit code, keying in the U.K.’s country code signifies to your carrier that you’re calling a landline based in the United Kingdom. Again, this helps with routing your call across.

3. Dial the area code

Just like in the USA, cities in the U.K. are assigned unique area codes that can range from two to five digits in length.

For instance, the area code for Manchester is 0161. When dialing however, you should omit the zero at the beginning and simply enter it as just 161.

Here are some of the most popular out of the U.K.’s 247 area codes.

U.K. CityArea Code
Belfast/Northern Ireland028
Birmingham0121
Brighton01273
Glasgow0141
Leeds0113
Liverpool0151
London020
Manchester0161
Sheffield0114
Southampton/Portsmouth023

4. Enter your recipient’s cell number

With your exit, country, and area codes keyed in, enter your call recipient’s local landline number and dial away.

For instance, if you’re calling a landline in Manchester, when you’re done, you should have a string of numbers looking like this: 011-44-161-1234-567 or +44-161-1234-567

This can be broken down into:

  • The international access code, or exit code: 011 (replace with + if you’re calling with a smartphone): 011
  • The country code: 44
  • The area code for Manchester, omitting the zero prefix: 0161
  • A pretend U.K. landline number: 1234-567

Dial away!

How to call U.K. cellphones from the USA

If you’re calling a cellphone that has a U.K. number, all you need is a simple tweak to make sure your call gets through. Here’s how to do it in just four easy steps.

1. Key in the exit code (011)

Use the exit code or substitute it with the (+) symbol if you’re on a cellphone or using OpenPhone.

2. Dial the country code (44)

Right after the US exit code, the country calling code marks your call for routing to the United Kingdom.

3. Dial the mobile code (7)

When you’re calling a cellphone in the U.K., the country’s mobile code (7) replaces the city code you’d have to use if you were calling a landline.

4. Key in the mobile phone number

With the appropriate exit, country, and mobile codes keyed in, enter the cell number you’re trying to reach, which should typically be nine digits long.

Say you’re calling a cellphone in Bristol, when you’re done, you should have a string looking like this: 011-44-7-123-456-789 or +44-7-123-456-789

This can be broken down into:

  • The international access code, or exit code: 011 (replace with + if you’re calling with a smartphone): 011
  • The U.K. country code: 44
  • The U.K.’s mobile code: 7
  • Another pretend U.K. local number: 123-456-789

You’re all set.

How to Factor in Time Zone Differences When Calling the U.K.

Due to time zone differences and some states not observing daylight savings time, placing a phone call to the U.K. isn’t always as simple as keying a string of numbers and just dialing away.

Across the United States, there are six time zones where you might be calling from and you need to factor in your recipient’s local time to make sure you can set a time to connect:

  • Eastern Time: The U.K. will be five hours ahead of you, so at noon it will be 5 p.m. in the U.K.
  • Central Time: The U.K. will be six hours ahead of you, so at noon, it will be 6 p.m. in the U.K.
  • Mountain Time: The U.K. will be seven hours ahead of you, so at noon, it will be 7 p.m. (If you’re in Arizona, the U.K. will be eight hours ahead of you during daylight savings time.)
  • Pacific Time: The U.K. will be eight hours ahead of you, so at noon, it will be 8 p.m. in the U.K.
  • Alaska Time: The U.K. will be nine hours ahead of you, so at noon, it will be 9 p.m. in the U.K.
  • Hawaii Time: The U.K. will be 10 hours ahead of you, so at noon, it will be 10 p.m. in the U.K. (During daylight savings time, it will be 11 hours ahead.)

Because daylight savings time is observed at slightly different times in the U.S. and the U.K., and because some US states don’t observe it at all, a tool like Time and Date is very helpful. It can give you an accurate snapshot of what time it is across the U.S. and the United Kingdom so you can determine the best window of time to connect with your contacts in the U.K.

how to call UK from US: screenshot of different clocks and cities from Time and Date

How much does it cost to call the U.K. from the U.S.?

GIF of a person asking 'how much?'

Another issue you’ll have to get out of the way before placing a call to the United Kingdom is the subject of pricing.

American carriers can charge unpredictable rates, or worse, cut your call off in the middle of a conversation if you’re on a prepaid line. To solve that, you need an idea of how much your carrier charges and if calling the United Kingdom is included in your phone plan.

According to Federal Communications Commission data, phone services like AT&T can charge as much as $3.70 per minute, or over $220 per hour, for a call to the United Kingdom. If you need to call the United Kingdom frequently for personal or business reasons, you could rack up bills worth several hundreds of dollars every month.

How to reduce calling costs to the U.K.

An ideal solution will not just help you connect to recipients in the United Kingdom but will let you know costs upfront so you can make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

And that’s where OpenPhone comes in: Instead of doing the guesswork to figure out whether you’ll be paying your carrier $2 or $200 for your call, OpenPhone lets you call the United Kingdom reliably for as low as $0.03 per minute. Just enable international calling on your account and add credits. 

For businesses that need a way to communicate with customers and contacts in the United Kingdom, OpenPhone offers:

  • A virtual phone with unbeatable rates for calls and texts to the United Kingdom 
  • The ability to call and text from your computer, tablet, or smart phone — all you need is an internet connection
  • Multiple numbers (including shared phone numbers) so you can set up phone numbers for different teams and use cases (for example, if you have a colleague in the U.K., they can have access to your team’s U.S. number and be able to send and receive calls from anyone in the U.S. or Canada for free) 
  • Flexible calling plans that scale with your business
  • Call recording to easily review your team’s communications with clients and contacts
  • Integrations with the tools you already use including Slack, Gmail, Zapier, and HubSpot
  • Multi-device support so you can access your business phone on your smartphone, tablet, and computer
  • Detailed insights and analytics into your calls and messages

Call the U.K. for less with OpenPhone

Whether you’re calling the United Kingdom, Canada, or anywhere else on the globe, OpenPhone offers a tailored phone system you can use for international calls and texts, without the headache of prepaid calling cards or exorbitant prices.

OpenPhone simplifies calls to the U.K. so you can connect with business contacts in just a few clicks, every time you need to.

Take OpenPhone for a spin with a free seven-day trial.

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Co-Founder at OpenPhone. Ukrainian-Canadian in SF. Love exploring new hiking trails.

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