Conversational AI • Last Updated 2/19/2024

How to call India | In-depth guide with examples

This guide provides helpful tips for calling India from the U.S. Learn how to make calls to India with confidence.


By Emily Bowen

Connecting with India from the United States is vital for a multitude of reasons, spanning both professional and personal realms.

India, renowned for its dynamic sectors such as technology, entertainment, and pharmaceuticals—and even its top-notch cricketers—offers abundant prospects for global business and personal ties.

Understanding the nuances of engaging with this bustling South Asian country is key to nurturing these connections.

Understanding India’s calling codes

To call India, it's crucial to be familiar with the format of international phone numbers. India's country code is +91. The approach for dialing mobile numbers differs from that of landlines.

Mobile numbers usually begin with 7, 8, 9, or 6, followed by the rest of the digits, whereas landline numbers consist of an area code preceding the local number.

Guide to calling India

Before making a call, it's essential to be informed about the charges your service provider imposes for international calls to India. Additionally, ensuring a stable connection is crucial to prevent issues like latency or interrupted voice transmission.

1. Check the time in India

Understanding the time difference is vital when calling India. India operates on Indian Standard Time (IST), which is GMT+5:30.

This usually places India at least 9 and a half hours ahead of the U.S.

You can refer to the detailed time difference based on your specific U.S. time zone in the table below. A good practice is to call from the U.S. in the morning, which will correspond to the evening in India.

2. Dial the exit code

For international calls from the U.S., the exit code is 011. This code indicates that your call is international.

3. Enter India's country code

Next, dial India's country code, +91, to connect your call to India.

4. Dial the area code and local number

Begin with 011, the U.S. exit code for all international calls.

After the exit code, input India's country code, +91, to route your call to India. The subsequent steps depend on whether you're calling an Indian landline or mobile phone:

For a landline

Enter the area code for the specific region in India you wish to reach. Indian area codes can vary in length. Then, dial the local landline number, which typically consists of 6 to 8 digits.

For example, to call a landline in Mumbai with the area code 22 and the local number 24216344, you would dial 011-91-22-24216344.

For a mobile phone

Indian mobile numbers usually start with 7, 8, 9, or 6, followed directly by the rest of the number after the country code, without an area code. For instance, to call an Indian mobile number like 9876543210, the correct sequence would be 011-91-9876543210.

Indian mobile numbers are dialed as they appear without the need for an area code.

5. Tips for a successful call

Before placing a call to India, ensure you have a strong connection to avoid dropped calls. However, it’s still important to have a plan in case of technical issues. For instance, if the call drops, know whether to call back or wait for the other party to call you.

Having an understanding of and respect for Indian business culture and etiquette is also critical. Some things to keep in mind include:

  • Although English is widely spoken in business contexts, be mindful of varying levels of fluency. Avoid using slang, idioms, or complex vocabulary that might not be easily understood.
  • If you’re making a video call, be aware that non-verbal cues in India can differ from those in the West. For instance, a side-to-side head nod can mean agreement or understanding, not disapproval or confusion.
  • Indian culture places a strong emphasis on respecting elders and those in senior positions. Show deference to senior individuals, both in how you address them and in how you speak to them.

Patience and flexibility are important when calling any international destination, as business practices may vary from those in the U.S.

Considerations for India

Calls to India, like any international destination, can be influenced by various factors. Here's an overview of the key elements that could affect your calls, including language, time differences, and other considerations:

Language and culture

India has immense linguistic and cultural diversity, with Hindi being the most widely spoken language and English serving as an associate official language, largely due to British colonization. Common English greetings used across India include:

  • Hello—A universal greeting recognized across the country.
  • Good morning/afternoon/evening—Time-specific greetings that are commonly used.
  • How are you?—A courteous way to initiate a conversation.

In addition to English, Hindi serves as a lingua franca in many parts of India, bridging the communication gap among people from different regions.

A common Hindi greeting is “Namaste,” which is both a respectful and traditional way to greet someone, and “Aap kaise hain?” which translates to “How are you?” in English, is a polite conversation starter.

Beyond Hindi and English, India is home to a plethora of languages, with 22 officially recognized languages and hundreds of dialects.

Major languages include Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, and Gujarati, each with its own rich cultural heritage and set of greetings reflecting the country's vast linguistic tapestry

Time zones

Considering the time differences is essential when making international calls to India, which operates on Indian Standard Time (IST). Here's a brief overview of the time difference:

U.S. time zonesIndia
Eastern (EST)10.5 hours ahead
Central (CST)11.5 hours ahead
Mountain (MST)12.5 hours ahead
Pacific (PST)13.5 hours ahead

How much does it cost to call India?

Call charges to India can vary based on your carrier, the duration of the call, and the time of day. Check with your service provider for detailed rates.

Carrier rates are particularly significant, as different service providers offer varying tariffs for international calls.

These rates can fluctuate based on the type of plan you have, whether it's a standard pay-as-you-go rate or a specialized international calling plan. Some carriers might offer discounted rates for calls to India during off-peak hours or as part of a bundle that includes a set number of international minutes.

It's advisable to thoroughly review your carrier's pricing structure and any available international calling packages to ensure cost-effective communication.

Additionally, the duration of your call plays a crucial role in determining the overall cost.

Longer calls will incur higher charges, making it important to manage the length of your conversations, especially if you're on a pay-per-minute plan. The time of day when you place the call can also impact the cost due to varying peak and off-peak rates.

Calls made during peak hours are often more expensive compared to those made during off-peak times, such as late evenings or weekends, depending on your carrier's specific rate schedule.

Being mindful of these factors and planning your calls accordingly can help in managing communication expenses effectively while staying connected with contacts in India.

Make affordable calls to India with Telnyx

With these tips and recommendations, you're ready to call India with confidence.

If you’re looking for more guidance on global calling, Telnyx’s team of experts can help you navigate the complexities of international communication.

Telnyx is a next-gen communications platform that offers a global private IP network, multi-cloud redundancy, and carrier-grade services.

Our elastic SIP trunking services make it easy to call nearly every country in the world. We also offer support and guidance to help you grow and scale your business.

With competitive pricing and a wide variety of local phone numbers in over 140 countries, Telnyx provides cost-effective calling solutions with unmatched expertise.

Contact our experts today to learn how we can help your business communicate effectively with contacts in India and 140+ other countries.

Share on Social

Related articles

Sign up and start building.