Keeping in touch while you travel: call the U.S. from Mexico

Maybe you're living abroad for the summer; or maybe you are just a little homesick. Regardless of why you want to call home, you can call a U.S. landline or cellphone number from Mexico by first dialing Mexico's exit code"00," followed by the U.S. country code "1," and then the destination number. For example, if calling West Los Angeles (area code 310) from Mexico, you would dial "00-1-310-555-5555."

Using an American cellphone in Mexico and getting the best rates when you call the U.S., on the other hand, depends on your cellphone's communications technology and your calling plan.

Using an American cell phone in Mexico

American cell phones with 4G LTE, Dual Band GSM, Quad Band GSM or UMTS capabilities work in Mexico. You can also bring an unlocked American cell with one of the aforementioned technologies to Mexico and install a prepaid SIM card from a Mexican carrier, such as AT&T Unidos, Movistar and Telcel, to make calls to the United States.

Country calling codes and exit codes

Country calling codes, such as the United States' "1," enable international direct dialing after you enter the country's exit code. A country's exit code, also referred to as an International Direct Dialing (IDD) code, such as Mexico's "00," allows you to dial out of the country. To call a U.S. number from Mexico from a landline or mobile phone:

  1. Enter "00" on the keypad.
  2. Enter "1" on the keypad.
  3. Enter the area code and phone number. If using a mobile phone, press the phone's call button to complete the call.

Tips for lowering call rates

  • Add international roaming to your cellphone calling plan. Major carriers, such as T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon, offer plans that include free or heavily discounted calls to the U.S. when roaming in Mexico. You must set your phone to roaming when using a U.S. carrier in Mexico.
  • Use a VoIP provider and make calls from your mobile device or laptop. VoIP providers, such as Skype, might give you the lowest call rates when calling the States. Skype, for example, charges 2.3 cents per minute to call U.S. mobile phones and landlines from Mexico using a pay-as-you-go plan, and offers unlimited calling to the U.S. from abroad for as low as $2.99 per month. Other VoIP providers with competitive rates include Vonage, and Jive. When calling from a smartphone, your carrier's internet rates apply.
  • Use a calling card when calling from a landline. Calling-card per-minute rates vary widely, from as little as 0.02 to 0.47 cents per minute and higher. Connection fees may apply.