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How to Call Mexico from the US

Sheryl Cannes
Updated on: August 05, 2022

Mexico may not seem far away, but international rates apply to calls whether they’re across the world or across the border. Thankfully, international calls aren’t nearly as complicated or as expensive as they once were. The dialing sequence is fairly straightforward but varies depending on whether you’re calling a landline or mobile phone number. Today, you have a few extra options besides landlines and mobile phones to make a call to your Southern neighbor.

How to Call Landlines in Mexico

Calling a landline in Mexico isn’t too much different from making a call within the United States. However, there are two codes you need to know – the US exit code and the Mexican country code. The US exit code (011) is the first set of digits you dial when making an international call. These digits allow your call to leave the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). It’s followed in the dialing sequence by the Mexican country code (52). Next, you dial the two or three-digit area code. If you don’t know the area code, do an Internet search of the state in which the call recipient resides. Finally, you dial the seven or eight-digit local phone number.

To help you visualize the steps:

  1. Dial US exit code – 011
  2. Dial Mexican country code – 52
  3. Dial the area code – varies by location
  4. Dial the local phone number

In practice, the dialing sequence looks like:

011 (US exit code) + 52 (Mexican country code) + 555 (area code) + 5555 + 5555 (local phone number)
011-52-555-5555-5555

How to Call a Mobile Number in Mexico

There’s a slight difference in the dialing sequence if you call a mobile phone in Mexico. It starts the same way as calling a landline, by dialing the US exit code followed by the Mexican country code. However, before you dial the area code, you dial the mobile phone code (1) followed by the area code and local Mexican phone number.

Here’s a visual of the steps:

  1. Dial the US exit code – 011
  2. Dial the Mexican country code – 52
  3. Dial the mobile phone code – 1
  4. Dial the area code – varies by location
  5. Dial the phone number

In practice, the dialing sequence looks like:

011 (US exit code) + 52 (Mexican country code) + 1 (mobile phone code) + 555 (area code) + 5555 + 5555 (local phone number)
011-52-1-555-5555-5555

Options for Personal or Business Calls to Mexico

Landlines and cell phones aren’t the only way to connect with someone in Mexico. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems are an option that use high-speed Internet to make calls. They’re usually used by businesses, but some calling apps and services like Skype, Google Voice, and WhatsApp use a similar system that allows you to make international calls for free or at low cost.

Mobile VoIP services use an app that facilitates business calls from anywhere you can get high-speed Internet or use the mobile device’s data plan. You also have the option of using services like Zoom or FaceTime that add video to the call so you can communicate with the call’s recipient face-to-face.

The Calling Basics

How to Call Mexico from the United States

Call to Landline: 011-52-area code-local phone number
Call a Mobile Number: 011-51-1-area code-local phone number

Phone Call Etiquette

Whether you’re making a business or personal call, phone etiquette matters. The biggest issue is time differences. Mexico is one of the easiest countries to call because the four Mexican time zones correspond with the time zones in the continental United States—Pacific Standard Time, Mountain Standard Time, Central Standard Time, Eastern Standard Time. Consequently, calculating the right call time is similar to making a call in the United States.

However, daylight savings time complicates things. Only two Mexican states, Sonora (which borders Arizona and New Mexico) and Quintana Roo, do not observe daylight savings time with the rest of the country. If you’re contacting someone in these regions, you need to be careful and do the right calculations based on the time of year. If you need help converting times, you can use an online time zone converter.

Also, keep in mind that people tend to be more relaxed about time in Mexico than they are in the United States. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get your recipient on the line until 15 to 30 minutes after your arranged call time.

FAQs

How expensive is it to call Mexico?

Call rates vary by provider and calling plan. In general, calling a landline is less expensive than a mobile number. Some calling plans charge a per-minute rate, while others charge a monthly international call rate. If you call Mexico often, it’s worth comparing plans to find the best deal because rates vary from $.09 per minute to $3.50 per minute.

For frequent calls to different lines in Mexico, a VoIP service is best since you are likely to get better and more consistent rates.

Calling apps and sites like Skype and Zoom are also great money-savers. You may still pay a fee for international calls, but they are far less than calling plans with a traditional provider.

What is the emergency number in Mexico?

Mexico’s emergency number is the same as the United States—911. Mexico made the switch to the 911 calling system back in 2017. Before 2017, people in Mexico called one number for medical emergencies, a different number for fire emergencies, and another number for the police. The new system is much easier and more efficient for both the general public and first responders.

Can I use a payphone or calling card to call Mexico?

Prepaid calling cards can be an economical way to call Mexico. They typically charge $0.05 to $0.08 per minute, although they can be laden with hidden fees. Be sure to read the fine print. The other drawback with a calling card is their “rounding up” policies. Calls are rounded up to the nearest minute mark, but that’s often not the closest one minute mark. It could be three, five, or eight minutes from the time the call stops, drastically reducing the economic efficiency of using the card.

As long as you’ve read all the details and know what you’re getting into, a calling card can save you money and let you call from almost anywhere, including mobile phones and payphones.

Conclusion

Making international calls isn’t nearly as difficult or expensive as it once was. If you know how to navigate the phone system and dial the correct codes, calls to Mexico can go smoothly, and you can stay in touch with business associates, friends, and family.

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