How to Dial the U.K. from the U.S.—Bandwidth’s Calling Guide

Trying to phone that exchange student from university or the work friend who moved across the pond? No worries—dialing from the U.S. to the U.K. is easier than you’d think.

This calling guide will explain how you can place your international call, costs you might incur, how to factor in the time difference, and how to deal with any changes in regulations. You’ll be dialing up that old friend in no time!

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

There’s a different process for phoning a U.K. cell phone or a landline, so make sure you know what system the person you’re calling is using.

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

When calling a U.K. cell phone, you’ll need to do a few extra steps. (Don’t worry, it’s still pretty easy!)

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Type in the exit code (011).

The exit code signals that you’re making a call to someone outside of the United States. This is the same number no matter where in the U.K. you’re calling. If you’re using a cellphone instead of a landline to place the call, you could also substitute a “+” for the 011.

  1. Enter the country code (44).

The U.K. country code is 44. Keying this in allows you to access any U.K.-based phone.

  1. Key in the area code.

This is where things get a little tricky. You’ll need to know where in the U.K. the owner of the landline lives. Area codes in the U.K. also vary from having two to five digits, so it’s not something you can guess.

Here is a list of some of the area codes in the U.K.:

Location Area Code
Aberdeen 1224
Belfast 28
Birmingham 121
Blackburn 1254
Blackpool 1253
Bolton 1204
Bournemouth 1202
Brighton 1273

If your code isn’t listed here, you can easily find it online. Just make sure that when you see a “0” in front of the area code, don’t enter that number. Enter only the digits that follow.

  1. (Finally) You can dial the user’s phone number.

Now that you’ve entered the exit, country, and area code, you can key in the phone number. This complete phone number should have 10 digits total.

If you’re calling someone’s landline in Manchester, your number might look like this: 011-44-161-987-6543 or this: +44-161-987-6543. 

How to dial U.K. cell phones from the U.S.

Things are slightly different when you’re calling a U.K. cell phone number from the U.S. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Enter the exit code (011).

Same as when calling a U.K. landline, make sure to signal that you’re calling someone from outside the U.S.

  1. Key in the country code (44).

This signals that you’re trying to contact someone in the U.K.

  1. Dial the mobile code (7).

Instead of entering the area code like you would for a United Kingdom landline, enter the country’s mobile code (7).

  1. Type in the mobile phone number.

With the exit, country, and mobiles entered, the total U.K. cell you’re trying to dial should be nine numbers long.

Here’s what these numbers would look like dialed: 011 (exit code), 44 (country code), 7 (mobile code), 555-987-6543.

For example, if you’re trying to phone someone in Bristol, you should have a phone number that looks something like this: 011-44-7-987-6543 or like this: +44-7-987-654-321. 

How to factor in the time difference

Make sure you take into account the time difference between the U.S. and the U.K. before calling. Calling from the U.S. to the U.K. is tricky because there are six different time zones:

  • Eastern time: the U.K. is five hours ahead. This means if you call someone at 8am EST, it will be 1pm GMT.
  • Central time: the U.K. is six hours ahead. So if you call someone at 8am CST, it will be 2pm GMT.
  • Mountain time: the U.K. is seven hours ahead, so if you call someone at 8am MST, it will be 3pm GMT.
  • Pacific time: the U.K. is eight hours ahead, so at 8am PST, it’s 4pm GMT.
  • Alaska time: the U.K. is nine hours ahead. That means at 8am AK, it will be 5pm GMT.
  • Hawaii time: the U.K. is 10 hours ahead. That means at 8am HAST, it’s 6pm GMT.

Tips for business calls with someone from the United Kingdom

If you’re worried about how your call might go, here are some important things to do when talking to make a good impression:

  • Be punctual. Preparation is important for U.K. business professionals.
  • You can start the meeting with informal conversation and small talk, but make sure to avoid doing so after business discussions start.
  • Provide an agenda before the call to keep things on track.
  • Make sure to use polite language like “please”, “thank you”, or “sorry”.
  • Avoid emotional approaches to your argument. Only use numbers and facts.

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

American carriers can charge unpredictable rates for calls from the U.S. to the U.K., and your call could be cut off in the middle of a discussion. To avoid this, check how much your carrier charges before you make the call, and if your plan even includes calls to the U.K.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stated that some landline service providers  can charge as much as $3.70 per a minute—that means an hour-long phone call to the United Kingdom can cost $220. Yikes!

If you’re calling for the U.K. frequently for work (or even personal use), consider finding a plan that includes calling to the U.K. so you won’t rack up mile-high bills.

How to reduce call costs to the U.K.

The best way to reduce costs is to find a service provider who lets you know the price of calling the U.K. upfront. Knowing that information means you’ll get the best possible deal.

With a non-fixed VoIP number (or VoIP numbers in general) businesses can expand beyond where they’re located geographically. That means you can get a local VoIP number in the U.K. – which results in lower international calling costs.

Other ways for you to reduce costs when calling the U.K. include:

  • Using a virtual phone for low rates to call U.K. users.
  • Integrating other tools you or your business might use to make it easier to communicate with your U.K. counterparts or customers like Microsoft Teams or Genesys.