International Phone Number Information

by Colleen Collins

International phone numbers include an international prefix, country code and the local number. Dialing international phone numbers from a cellular phone often require dialing a plus sign (+) before the country code.


Most telephone numbers adhere to the E.164 numbering plan, which establishes search criteria such as country codes, regional numbering plans (for example, the European Telephone Numbering Space) and national numbering plans (for example, the North American Numbering Plan.

International Format

The preferred number format for international numbers contains the digits 0123456789, which start with the country code and have no spaces or punctuation. For example, the international format for a number in China, whose country code is 86, might be 861069445464.

International Prefixes

An international dialing prefix corresponds to the country from which you are making a call. For example, the international dialing prefix when making a call from the United States is 011. When making an international call, you first dial the international prefix, then the international phone number.

Country Codes

A country code is a one- to four-digit number that defines the particular telephone system for a nation, with the first digit typically corresponding to the global region. For example, the country code for the U.S. is 1; for China, 86; and for Nigeria, 234.

Dialing International Numbers

To dial an international phone number, start with the international prefix, followed by the country code, city prefix, then local number. For example, if you are dialing from the U.S. to Mexico, you'd first dial 011 (the U.S. international prefix), then 52 (country code for Mexico), 443 (city code) and 123-4567. All of which looks like 011-52-443-123-4567.

Cell phones

Dialing international numbers from a cell phone often requires your dialing the plus (+) sign before the country code. To verify how to dial international calls from your cell phone, contact your cell phone provider (whose number is on your monthly statements). If you're unsure how to dial a plus sign on your cell phone model, contact your cell phone manufacturer (whose number is on the main page of its website).

About the Author

In 1997 Harlequin published Colleen Collins' first novel, followed by many more by Harlequin and Dorchester. Her articles and writing have appeared in "P.I. Magazine," "Pursuit Magazine" and "Cosmopolitan." She earned a B.A. in theater arts from University of California, Santa Barbara and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera International blue image by Silke Wolff from