How To Send A Text Message From The UK To The USA

We all know how to WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom and Snapchat someone living abroad. That’s easy, since all such communication requires is for each participant to have an internet connection of some sort. 

However, the same cannot be said for sending text messages (SMS) internationally. In order to send a text message from the UK to a number abroad, you have to alter the number before sending the text message.

You can do this on a text-by-text basis, or you could adjust the recipient’s number in your Contact’s app, so that every communication you attempt with them includes the all-important international dialing code.

To learn how to send a text message from the UK to the USA, see our simple steps tutorial below. For all other information, or if you have further questions, please refer to our FAQ section at the end of this article.

How to send a text message (SMS) from the UK to the USA

  1. Open your Text Messaging app on your phone
  2. Enter the 10-digit cell phone number of the US recipient preceded by +1 (or 001)
    1. ‘+1’ is the international dialing code for the USA (as well as a number of other international countries/territories, including Canada). You must use it whenever phoning or texting some with a US number, whether or not they are currently in the USA.
  3. Enter your text message as you normally would
  4. Tap the ‘Send’ button or arrow icon to send your SMS

Note: If the US recipient has a UK phone number, you do not need to change their number or enter the USA’s international dialing code (+1) before texting.

And there you have it! Four simple steps for texting anyone with a US cell phone number from the UK. If you have any further questions, please see our FAQs below.


How much does it cost to send an international text?

The cost of a text from the UK to the USA will depend entirely on your mobile service provider, as well as the specific subscription plan you are on. If your subscription plan is set up to include international texting, then you will not pay anything more for a text from the UK to the USA than your monthly direct debit.

However, it’s most likely that you don’t have a plan which includes international texting. Generally speaking, plans are not set to include this add-on. As such, a single text to the USA from the UK could cost you per text, starting at £0.12 (12p).

Be aware though, that 12p is just an average cost, and your service provider may charge you more. It’s also worthwhile noting that you will be charged per page of text messaging. Typically, you get 160 characters to a single text page, and about 10-12 text pages to a text message. You will be charged for each page of the final text you send to the USA.

Can I send a text from the UK to anywhere else in the world?

Yes, absolutely, you can send a text from the UK to any other country in the world, provided you know two things: the international dialing code for the country in question, and the specific cell phone number of the individual you’re trying to reach. 

Here is a short full list of international dialing codes for countries around the globe. The international dialing code should typically replace the ‘0’ at the start of the person’s mobile number.

How fast will someone in the USA receive a text from the UK?

When we send a text message, the SMS is sent to the nearest cell phone tower, which then sends it to your service provider’s SMS control center. In turn this control center redirects the SMS to the cell phone tower closest to the recipient’s phone, provided that person is in a place where they can receive a cell phone signal.

In other words, the speed of a text message sent from the UK to the USA depends on the strength of the recipient’s cell phone signal, as well as the distance between sender and recipient. Having said that, the recipient should receive the text message in about the same amount of time it would take someone in the UK to receive a message from you.

Why will my international text not send?

If you’re trying to send a text message from the UK to the USA and are experiencing problems with the SMS not sending, then the first thing you should check is whether you have entered the dial code correctly.

Remember that you should always remove the ‘0’ from the start of the recipient’s mobile number. However, also remember that most US numbers don’t start with an ‘0’, and so instead should not be tampered with, other than to insert the ‘+1’ before you begin typing out their number.

If you have definitely entered the number and international dialing code correctly, and your SMS will still not send, then the issue most likely lies with your service plan. If you do not have international calls and texts included in your service plan, then each text from the UK to the USA will cost you money, charged to you in addition to your bill at the end of the month. 

However, if you have placed a cap on your bill to avoid overspending, then your service provider will not allow you to carry out any action which results in a surcharge to your account, including sending texts abroad. To get round this, contact your cell provider to remove or raise the cap.