Telephone numbers in the Americas

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The prefixes in the Americas start with one of 1,2,5

Canada, the United States and some Caribbean countries use the country calling code 1. Local area codes in these countries are managed by the North American Numbering Plan.

Greenland and Aruba have a country calling code that has the number "2" as first digit, which mostly is used by countries in Africa. All other countries use codes that start with "5".


North American Numbering Plan[edit]

Country Code: +1
International Call Prefix: 011
Trunk Prefix: 1

In the United States (including its territories), Canada, Bermuda, and 18 Caribbean nations, area codes are regulated by the North American Numbering Plan. Currently, all area codes (officially called numbering plan areas) in the NANP must have 3 digits. Historically, the second digit was always "0" or "1", while the second digit of the 3-digit exchange prefix was never "0" or "1." With the increased demand for area codes because of additional lines, FAX lines, pagers, cell phones, etc., the restrictions on the second digit were lifted in 1995. At the same time, the historic restriction on a local (7-digit) telephone number's second digit, which previously could not be a "0" or "1" (to avoid confusion with area codes), was also lifted. Under the new rules, a telephone number such as (378) 400-1234 is perfectly legal, whereas before 1995 it was not permitted.

Despite being one numbering plan, the cost of calling numbers in the NANP (both from inside and from outside) can vary widely depending on which country of the NANP the code is in. As a result, great care is needed on the part of a caller to avoid unexpectedly large bills.

Not all area codes correspond to a geographical area. Codes 8xx (excluding 811 and 899) with the last two digits matching, such as 800, 888, 877, 866, etc., are reserved for toll-free calls. Code 900 is reserved for premium-rate calls (also known as dial-it services, although such services also exist in some places on a local basis using a particular three-digit prefix following the area code, often "976" or "540"). Area code 710 is reserved for the United States Government. Area code 600 is reserved for national Canadian services.

Mobile phones are normally allocated numbers within regular geographic area codes corresponding to or close to the subscriber's home or work location, instead of within a distinctive subset of area codes. (The exception to this rule is New York City, where new mobiles are usually allocated numbers from the 917 area code.) All the extra costs of mobile telephony must be borne by the mobile's owner, unlike in many countries where calling mobiles costs significantly more than calling landlines. Local number portability (LNP) applies across landline and mobile services. In some regions, customer can port a landline number to mobile service and vice-versa.

Dialing plans vary from place to place depending on whether an area has overlays (multiple area codes serving the same area) and whether the state requires toll alerting (a leading 1+ for toll calls). The NANPA web site includes dialing plan information in their information on individual area codes.

In areas without overlays and without toll alerting, including much of California, Illinois, New York (excluding New York City, see below), and New Jersey, calls within an area code are dialed as seven digits (7D) and calls outside the area code as 1 followed by 10 digits (1+10D). Most areas allow permissive dialing of 1+10D even for calls that could be dialed as 7D. The number of digits dialed is unrelated to whether a call is local or toll. In some places, local calls to other area codes are 1+10D, in others they can be dialed as 10D without the leading 1.

In areas with overlays, local calls are all dialed as either 10D or 1+10D; this varies by area. (In New York City, the preferred form is 1+10D but 10D also works.) In areas without toll alerting, all calls to numbers within the caller's area code and overlay codes serving the same area can be dialed as either 10D or 1+10D, while calls to other area codes must be 1+10D. In areas with toll alerting, all toll calls must be dialed as 1+10D.

Most areas permit local calls to be dialed as 1+10D except for Texas, parts of Florida (such as Miami) and many parts of Canada (such as Ontario) which requires that callers know which numbers are local and which are toll, dialing 10D for all local calls and 1+10D for all toll calls

Mobile phone users in North America are not generally required to dial 1, but do need to dial 10D for calls within the North America numbering plan unless:

  • Calling from an area without an overlay, and
  • Within the home area code of the mobile telephone

Listing[edit]

(initial ordering by country)

Country America Prefix International Call Prefix Trunk prefix Comment
Anguilla Caribbean +1 264 011 1
Antigua and Barbuda Caribbean +1 268 011 1
Argentina South +54 00 0
Aruba Caribbean +297 00
Bahamas Caribbean +1 242 011 1
Barbados Caribbean +1 246 011 1
Belize Central +501
Bermuda North +1 441 011 1
Bolivia South +591 00
Brazil South +55 00 xx
British Virgin Islands Caribbean +1 284 011 1
Canada North +1 011 1 Several NANP codes, see Telephone numbers in Canada
Caribbean Netherlands Caribbean +599 3, 4, or 7 00
Cayman Islands Caribbean +1 345 011 1
Chile South +56 00
Colombia South +57 00 0 Trunk followed by 1 or 3 digit carrier code
Costa Rica Central +506 00
Cuba Caribbean +53 119
Curaçao Caribbean +599 9 00
Dominica Caribbean +1 767 011 1
Dominican Republic Caribbean +1 809, +1 829, +1 849 011 1
Ecuador South +593 00
El Salvador Central +503
Falkland Islands South +500 00
French Guiana South +594 00
Greenland North +299 00
Grenada Caribbean +1 473 011 1
Guadeloupe Caribbean +590 00
Guatemala Central +502 00
Guyana South +592 00
Haiti Caribbean +509 00
Honduras Central +504 00
Jamaica Caribbean +1 876 011 1
Martinique Caribbean +596 00
Mexico North +52 00 01
Montserrat Caribbean +1 664 011 1
Nicaragua Central +505 00
Panama Central +507 00
Paraguay South +595 00 0
Peru South +51 00 0
Puerto Rico Caribbean +1 787, +1 939 011 1
Saint Barthélemy Caribbean +590 00
Saint Kitts and Nevis Caribbean +1 869 011 1
Saint Lucia Caribbean +1 758 011 1
Collectivity of Saint Martin Caribbean +590 00
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Caribbean +508 00
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Caribbean +1 784 011 1
Sint Maarten Caribbean +1 721 011 1
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South +500 00
Suriname South +597 00
Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean +1 868 011 1
Turks and Caicos Islands Caribbean +1 649 011 1
United States North +1 011 1 Several NANP areas, see Telephone numbers in the United States
United States Virgin Islands Caribbean +1 340 011 1
Uruguay South +598 00 No National Call Prefix needed since 29 August 2010 according to the new numbering plan.
All geographical numbers have 8 digits:
Venezuela South +58 00 0

See also[edit]