How to Make an International Telephone Call

By Foziya Khan

Calling another country can be confusing, with phone numbers stretching up to and beyond 17 digits. But staying in touch with your friends and family needn't be so confusing. Just follow the steps below to get connected.

Step 1

Dial the prefix for international calling. This code varies depending which country you are in, and allows you to dial outside the country. For the United States and Canada, the international dialing prefix is 011.

Step 2

Dial the country code. Each country has a unique country code, which can be from 1 to 3 digits (see Resources below).

Step 3

Dial the city or area code. Most cities throughout the world carry their own area code, the exception being cities in smaller countries.

Step 4

Dial the local number.

Step 5

Follow this sequence if making calls from the United States or Canada: 011 + (country code) + (city code) + (local phone number). For example, to call a number in Cancun, Mexico: dial 011 (international call prefix); dial 52 (country code); dial 998 (city code); dial the local number.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase international calling cards.These are available from most convenience stores and online (see Resources below).
  • If you make a lot of international calls, consider VOIP services, as they offer more competitive call rates then regular phone carriers.
  • If you and the person you are calling both have access to a computer and high speed Internet, consider Skype to make calls for free (see the website link below).
  • Make sure you’re aware of international calling rates before you call. In some countries, it's more expensive to call a cell phone than a land line.