New York 518/838 Area Code Overlay

Attention: Telephone Directory Publishers

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the new 838 area code will be added to the area served by 518. The new 838 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 518 area code which covers all or part of 17 counties in eastern upstate New York, serving communities in the Capital region of Albany and its surrounding areas, such as Plattsburgh and Lake Placid. This is known as an area code overlay.

What is an area code overlay?

An overlay is the addition of another area code (838) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (518).

An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code.

How does this affect telephone directory publishers?

Telephone Directories covering the 518 area code region must add the new 838 area code information and alert customers in the 518 area code about the new 10-digit local dialing procedure.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial the area code + telephone number. This means that all calls in the 518 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using ten digits (area code + telephone number). The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 838 area code.

When will the change begin?

Effective March 18, 2017, callers should begin using the new dialing procedures whenever local calls are placed from the 518 area code. If callers forget and dial just seven digits, the call will still be completed.

Beginning August 19, 2017, callers must use the new dialing procedures, as described above, for all calls. After this date, if callers do not use the new dialing procedures, the call will not be completed and a recording will instruct the caller to hang up and dial again.

Beginning September 19, 2017, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 838 area code.

What will remain the same?

  • Your customer’s telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • Callers will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number for all calls to other area codes (outside of 518 and 838).
  • Callers can still dial just three digits to reach 911.
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in the caller’s community; these codes can still be dialed with just three digits.

Customers with questions about the dialing procedure change should be directed to their local service provider, or they can visit the New York Public Service Commission’s website at

NY 518/838 Overlay Industry Committee Co-Chairs