Beginning Sunday, residents who use nine California area codes — including the 530 area code with numbers originating from Davis, South Lake Tahoe, Placerville, Auburn, Grass Valley, Woodland, Marysville and Yuba City, and most of the Sacramento Valley north of the capital — will be required to dial using 10 digits to make phone calls due to a change in federal rules aimed at providing easier access to crisis resources nationwide.
The change will affect eight more California area codes elsewhere, including the 209 area code in Stockton and Modesto. Residents using Sacramento’s 916 and 279 area codes won’t notice a change and have been dialing the extra digits for more than three years.
With the weekend change, thousands more California residents will have to dial the area code of a desired phone number first, followed by the remaining seven digits. Most cellphones already automatically add a 1 in front of dialed area codes, which is necessary to complete calls and which adds up to a total of 11 digits, but some affected residents may have to manually add a 1 before the area code as well.
Calls attempted without the necessary three-digit area code — with a 1 ahead of it — will not be completed, and callers will be informed that they must hang up and try again.
Where are the changes happening?
The affected California area codes are:
▪ 209 — covers Stockton, Modesto and surrounding areas
▪ 530 — covers most of the north state east of Del Norte County and north of Roseville. Includes most of Yolo, Placer and El Dorado counties
▪ 562 — covers Long Beach and part of Orange County
▪ 626 — covers most of the San Gabriel Valley, including Pasadena
▪ 650 — covers most of San Mateo County and some parts of Santa Clara County, including Palo Alto
▪ 707 — covers the north coast of California including Napa, Vacaville and Fairfield
▪ 925 — covers parts of the East Bay, including parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties
▪ 949 — covers southern Orange County
▪ 951 — covers western Riverside County
If your phone number begins with any of these area codes, you will have to add a few extra digits when you want to make a local, in-area call.
Why are 10 digits required?
In July 2020, the Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules that established 988 as a quick way to dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, similar to 911 for emergency calls.
In the United States, 82 area codes that currently operate with seven-digit calling — including the nine California area codes soon to be affected — use 988 as a central office exchange code, allowing for easier dialing.
To ensure that all callers trying to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline successfully complete their calls, these 82 area codes needed to switch to 10-digit calling.
Starting on July 16, callers who dial 988 will be automatically routed to the lifeline. Until then, callers will have to dial the full number to receive crisis assistance.
Sacramento-area callers were required to punch in 1 plus 10 more digits starting in 2018, but it was not related to this change. A new area code, 279, was added for Sacramento County and other adjacent areas as numbers using the older 916 area code began to run out, which required the switch to 10-digit dialing.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides confidential assistance to anyone in crisis and their loved ones through a live chat and free 24-hour hotline: 800-273-8255. WellSpace Health operates the Sacramento region’s 24-hour hotline : 916-368-3111 or text HOPE to 916-668-4226.