10. February 2022 Blog

How to Call the UK from the US: A Comprehensive Guide

illustration call UK from US MAIN

Doing business across the pond? More and more US-based companies are seeking business opportunities in the UK, which means a greater number of people are looking for ways to place calls to their business partners overseas.

We realize that there’s a real lack of information out there regarding how exactly to place business calls from the US to the UK, and — crucially — about high-quality, affordable calling options. 

Here we’ll give you a step-by-step guide for calling the UK from the US, as well as tips about how to place these sorts of calls efficiently, effectively and for a reasonable price. 

How to call the UK from the US

Calling the UK from the US requires following several specific steps, which we’ll detail below. In short, you’ll need to key in an exit code, country code, area code and telephone number, whether you’re dialing a landline or a cell phone. 

Area Codes in the United Kingdom

You can find a full list of area codes in the UK by completing a quick Google search. We’ll list some of the more popular metropolitan area codes below, for your reference. 

  • London – 020
  • Liverpool – 0151
  • Manchester – 0161
  • Glasgow – 0141
  • Birmingham – 0121
  • Edinburgh – 0131

Note: There’s no need to dial the “0” at the beginning of UK area codes when calling from overseas. The technical term for it is a “trunk prefix”, and it is only necessary for calls made within the UK. Dialing it internationally will result in a failed call. 

How to call UK landlines from the US

Key in the exit code (011) 

Punching in this exit code at the beginning of a phone number indicates that you’re making an international call. 

Dial the country code (44) 

Next, you’ll need to dial the country code for the UK, which is (44).

If you’re using a cell phone, you’ll need to key in the plus symbol (+) instead of (011).

On a landline phone, the number so far should read: 011 44

On a cell phone, the number so far will read: + 44

Dial the area code  

As we’ve mentioned before, there are a great many area codes within the UK. A quick Google search will provide you with the full list, and if you’re curious about major metropolitan area codes, feel free to check out our list above. 

Using London as an example, the number so far will read: 011 44 20 / +44 20

Enter your recipient’s phone number 

This last part is simple: just key in the landline phone number of the person you’re trying to reach. 

An example of a complete UK number looks like this: 011 44 20 1234 5678 / +44 20 1234 5678

How to call UK cell phones from the US

Key in the exit code (011)

Same as before, this code indicates that you’re making an international call. 

Dial the country code (44)

Now you’ll need to dial the country code, which will be (44) on a landline phone and (+) on a cell phone. 

On a landline phone, the number so far should read: 011 44

On a cell phone, the number so far will read: +44

Dial the mobile code (7) 

Herein lies the major difference between calling landline and cell phones in the UK.

Instead of keying in an area code, you’ll need to dial the mobile code (7) when calling cell phones in the UK. 

At this point, the cell number should read: 011 44 7 / +44 7 

Key in the mobile phone number 

All there’s left to do now is dial the remainder of the UK cell phone number you’re trying to reach.

If you’re dialing from a landline phone, the complete number should look like this: 011 44 7 1234 5678

If you’re dialing from a cell phone, the complete number should look like this: +44 7 1234 5678

Use These Tips for a Business Call with Someone in the UK

#1 Don’t be Overbearing with your tone or language 

As a general rule, British people have a proclivity towards politeness in business conversation. Where an American may be blunt or direct, a British person may skirt around a delicate issue, in an effort to not offend anyone. 

Keep this in mind when engaging in business conversation with overseas partners. 

#2 Be Sure to Factor in Time Zone Differences When Calling the U.K. 

Depending on where you’re located in the United States and the time of year, there could be as much as a 9-hour time difference between the US and the UK. 

Bear that in mind when scheduling business calls or meetings with partners in the UK. For Americans, the time difference will mean waking up bright and early more often than not. 

#3 Keep things light whenever possible 

The British are well known for their sense of humor, so don’t be afraid to mix in a joke or two now and again.  

While some business meetings warrant a more serious, professional approach, many can be kept relatively casual. If there’s ever a tense or uncomfortable moment, humor can be a great way to lighten the mood and keep people loose and at ease with one another. 

How much does it cost to call the UK from the US? 

If your business relies on a traditional telephony solution, the price for making overseas calls can be rather steep. If it’s something you’re doing frequently you may see your phone bill balloon significantly. 

Take three of the largest mobile phone operators in the US as an example: Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. 

Each of those companies has an international calling package that costs $15 per month. Verizon’s plan gives you 300 minutes of calling, while AT&T and T-Mobile offer unlimited calling, provided you’re already subscribed to some of their other services. 

If you’re running a business operation that involves placing a high volume of calls to the UK, none of these options are particularly cost effective. There is indeed a better way forward, one that involves taking advantage of one of the best VoIP service providers on the market today: CloudTalk

How to reduce calling costs to the UK

The best way to reduce calling costs to the UK is to sign up for a VoIP-enabled international phone number. 

CloudTalk offers over 140 such numbers at a truly unbeatable price. Our UK package includes a range of possible numbers, including local (geographic), national, mobile and toll-free. 

It is also possible to keep your existing phone number and simply port it to CloudTalk. Instructions for how to do so can be found here

The bottom line

Calling the UK from the US can be a bit confusing at times. Nationwide number shortages have triggered several substantial changes to the country’s telephone number system, including phONEday in 1995 and the Big Number Change in 2000. 

We hope this guide has helped to clear up some common misconceptions people have about calling the UK from the US. Remember, if you’re an American conducting business with partners in the UK, there’s no better telephony solution than CloudTalk. Give our 14-day free trial a try and experience the savings for yourself. No credit card required.