Your phone number is one of the most helpful things you have, it helps you keep connected with friends and family, and access your bank account and multiple online accounts.
While moving abroad, to do all these things regularly, you need your phone number. But the question is how to keep US phone numbers abroad.
You can keep your US phone number with you but you have to pay the heavy international roaming fees.
However, there is a cheaper way to keep your US phone number abroad. Here is how to do it.
Table of Contents
To Learn How to Keep US Phone Number Abroad
There are various ways for an American to keep using his/her phone number while abroad.
But mainly we can categorize them into two sections, one is to use the international plan of your service provider. The second is to port your number to a VoIP service, this one is a lot cheaper.
1) Recharge with an International Plan (T-Mobile International Plan)
A traditional way to keep your US phone number with yourself is to recharge your phone number with an international pack. Then, buy a local secondary sim.
Your service provider has its ISD packs and recharge list. However, T-Mobile offers some international packs at not-so-high pricing.
T-Mobile Moving Abroad Plans
Their cheapest plan starts at $90 a month, if your service provider has costlier plans you can port to T-Mobile, which requires 7 days.
T-Mobile can operate in 210+ countries, they have also designed special packs for 11 European countries.
T-Mobile also offers a plan where you can temporarily suspend your phone number, for a maximum of up to 90 days. However, you still need to pay monthly fees for holding your phone number.
However, the second method is much cheaper and more reliable.
2) VoIP Service to Use US Phone Number Abroad
VoIP means Voice Over Internet Protocol.
VoIP allows a person to make a call from a digital signal directly from a computer and the internet.
This technology converts your voice into digital signals, helping you to place calls, and receive SMS, using the internet. VoIP offers the same experience as a regular call from the phone.
To use VoIP calling and other features, you have to convert your regular phone number into a VoIP phone number.
There are many different service providers, which help you to convert your regular phone number into a VoIP number.
Service providers to port to VoIP number –
These are some of the VoIP service providers, you can register there and port your phone number, and do the payment.
You can choose any of the services above, but in this article, we will show you how to port to Google Voice. This is the second method to keep a US phone number abroad.
What is Google Voice?
It offers you free calling and texting, even internationally but you have to be connected to the internet, to call and receive calls.
On Google Voice, you can sign up, get a phone number, and forward all your calls to this Google Voice number.
This was one of the options, another option is to port your regular phone number to Google Voice. Ideally, if you are moving abroad, you should opt for this.
Here are the steps and cost of porting to Google Voice.
Cost of Porting to Google Voice
Although Google Voice is completely free, if you want to port your number to Google Voice, there is a one-time fee of $20.
I think this is a completely reasonable fee, especially when you will use this service overseas. When you compare it to other service providers, this is the cheapest way to keep the US phone number abroad.
How to Port to Google Voice while Abroad?
- To port your sim, you’ll require the following information: 1) US Cell Phone’s Plan Account Number 2) PIN for Porting. So, call your cell phone provider to get the following information.
- You can only port your number in your home country, that’s why complete your porting process before moving abroad.
- The porting process requires 3-7 days, therefore you have to first clear all your financial transactions. Many banks require two-factor authentication, therefore login to your bank account before porting.
If you have read the following information, you can continue with the porting process with Google Voice.
- Go to – https://voice.google.com/u/0/about
- Then, Tap on Personal Use.
- Then, Sign-Up with your Google Account.
- After signing up, you’ll get a phone number from Google Voice, just pick anyone, and later we can port it with your current phone number.
Step-2: Verify Your Number for Porting
After signing up and getting your Google Voice phone number, you’ll need to verify your phone number, and if it is eligible for porting or not.
Landline and corporate phone numbers aren’t eligible for porting. However, if you are just porting your regular cell phone number, you won’t face any trouble.
Following are the steps:
- First of all, Go to https://google.com/voice/porting
- Then, You can type your phone number and tap on the Check button.
- If you are eligible, then just read the terms, you have agreed with them to continue.
- Agree with it by clicking on boxes.
- Tap on Next: Phone Verification
Step-3: Verify Yourself
After tapping on phone verification, Google will try to verify you. They’ll call you and give you the code, you have to type the code to verify yourself.
Then, you need to provide the following information to port your number. Of course, If you would like to obtain the information listed below, you might have to contact your cell phone number provider.
You’ve to provide the following information:
- Cell Phone’s Plan Account Number.
- Billing address.
- City & Zip code.
- Your Billing Account Pin.
- Your first and last name.
After giving the information, tap on Next: Confirmation
Step-4: Last Step is to do the Payment
If you have done all the steps correctly, you’ll be redirected to the payment page where you’ve to do your $20 payment, and Google will give your order id, copy that id or take a screenshot.
Normally, a porting process takes 24-48 hours to complete, you’ll receive an email when you have successfully ported.
TO Learn How to Port Back from Google Voice?
If you anytime decide to move back to the US, then don’t worry, you can easily port your number again to any carrier. The porting will take a week, However, it can be much quicker.
FAQ: How to Keep US Phone Number Abroad
#1. How do I Keep US Sim Active While Abroad
Internet Operators like T-Mobile, offer various moving abroad plans, in which you can keep your US sim active while abroad.
There cheapest plan will cost you $90/ month.
Another way is to use Google Voice, which will cost you just $20 as a one-time fee for porting.
#2. How do I Use My Phone Number Abroad
Either you can do internet calls from apps like WhatsApp, Skype, or Google Voice. Which will be much cheaper than regular calls.
To do regular calls, you have to recharge with international plans, and then this is the method to call internationally.
- Firstly, Dial – 011
- Then, add the country code (example: India – 91)
- This is what your number will look like: 011 91 XXXXX XXXXX
- 011 is the exit code of the USA, every country has a different exit code.
- If you are calling on the landline, you will also require to add an area code, which you can search on the internet for your city.
#3. About T-Mobile Moving Abroad Plan
T-Mobile offers some convenient international plans, which offer unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada from the USA, and 5 GB of data.
Mainly, they have three international plans, the cheapest one cost $90 a month. T-Mobile provides service to more than 210 countries.
Click here to see their International Plans –
Conclusion: How to Keep US Phone Number Abroad
Moving abroad is a fun thing, however, in today’s globalized world our phone number has become our identity. Our contacts, financial details, online accounts, and apps are linked to our phone numbers.
In that situation, an active phone number overseas can be a life-saving thing.
One thing we haven’t mentioned in this article is that you can always take a local sim or local WiFi, which will cost you much cheaper.
To keep your phone number active you can port it to Google Voice, and operate with a local sim there.
Hopefully, this article about how to keep a US phone number abroad helped you.