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How to Call Korea from the US and Europe

Do you want to call a South Korean telephone number found on a website or in someone’s e-mail signature? This article will show the steps.

And, when you call Korea, you would probably be hoping that an English-speaking person would answer -- but you never know. At the bottom of this article, we have included one useful Korean sentence, meaning, “Is there someone who can speak English?”.

How to Call a Korean Phone Number from the United States

From the United States, dial 011 (which initiates an international call), followed by 82 (country code of South Korea), followed by the Korean phone number.  KEY POINT: A Korean phone number given on a website or a business card begins with a “0”; this “0” should be omitted in international dialing.

how to dial Korean phone numbers

For example, suppose that you found a number, 02-nnn-nnnn, in an e-mail signature. “02” is the city code of Seoul, South Korea’s capital. To reach this person, dial 011-82-2-nnn-nnnn. (Do not dial 011-82-02-nnn-nnnn). “011” initiates an international call; “82” is for Korea; “2” is for Seoul.

Other cities have longer city codes. For example, the city code of Busan (a large city, but not the capital) is 051. A Busan telephone number looks like this: 051-nnn-nnnn. To call this number from the United States, dial 011-82-51-nnn-nnnn (do not dial 011-82-051-nnn-nnnn).

Small cities and provincial towns have even longer city codes. For example, the city code of Suwon (an important industrial city) is 0331. A Suwon telephone number looks like this: 0331-nnn-nnnn. To call this number from the United States, dial 011-82-331-nnn-nnnn (do not dial 011-82-0331-nnn-nnnn).

The examples given above are landlines numbers. Cell phone numbers in South Korea start with 010, instead of a city code. If someone gave you his/her number as 010-nnnn-nnnn, it’s a cell phone. To reach this person, dial 011-82-10-nnnn-nnnn (do not dial 011-82-010-nnnn-nnnn).

Most South Korean phone numbers have either seven or eight digits (7 or 8 n's in the format used above) in addition to a city code, or the cell phone code, 010.

How to Call a Korean Phone Number from Europe

From France, Germany, U.K. and many other parts of Europe, dial 00-82, followed by the South Korean phone number (but do not include the initial “0” of the Korean number). “00” initiates an international call. For example, if the Korean phone number given on a website is 02-nnn-nnnn, dial 00-82-2-nnn-nnnn. (Do not dial 00-82-02-nnn-nnnn).

How to Say, “Is there someone who can speak English?”

When you call a South Korean business office, expecting that they would speak English, it could be frustrating if the person who picked up the phone is unresponsive to your English. In such a situation, you can say the sentence given below to ask for an English-speaking person. For this purpose, we chose the shortest possible expression, avoiding hard-to-simulate consonants and vowels as much as possible.

MeaningIs there someone who can speak English?
Play Audio speak
Sentence Written in Korean영어 하는 분 계세요?
Approximate Representationyung-eo, ha-neun, boon, gye-se-yo?
Spoken Portion by Portionyung-eo speak
ha-neun speak
boon speak
gye-se-yo? speak


A Compromised Version

If you find the sentence above too difficult to simulate, you can say only the first part of it, as shown in the next table. It is an incomplete sentence, but it has enough elements to make you understood, given the circumstance.

Play Audio speak
Phrase Written in Korean영어 하는 분
Approximate Representationyung-eo, ha-neun, boon


This article is brought to you by Enunce, LLC, a language translation company staffed with experienced Korean translators and Korean interpreters.