All Customers with a Virginia 540 Area Code Must Dial Area Code + Telephone Number for All Local Calls Beginning May 14, 2022

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the Virginia State Corporation Commission approved the addition of the new 826 area code to the geographic region served by the 540 area code. This process is known as an area code overlay.


What is an area code overlay?

An overlay is the addition of another area code (826) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (540). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code or telephone number but does require using a new dialing procedure to complete calls.

Who will be affected?

Anyone with a 540 area code telephone number will be affected. The 540 area code currently serves the northwestern and southwestern portions of Virginia. Some of the larger cities include Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Radford, Roanoke, Salem, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Winchester. The new 826 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 540 area code.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

The new dialing procedure requires all calls in the 540 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits to be dialed using area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers that are assigned with the new 826 area code.

When will the change begin?

Beginning May 14, 2022, you must dial the area code + telephone number on all calls, including calls within the same area code. On and after this date, if you do not dial the area code + telephone number, your calls will not complete and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again, including the area code.

Beginning June 14, 2022, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the new 826 area code. If you have an 826 area code, you must dial the area code + telephone number or the call will not complete.

What will you need to do?

In addition to dialing the area code + telephone number for all local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a 7-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to include the area code. Some examples are life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions, etc. You should update your websites, personal and business stationery and checks, advertising materials, personal and pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.

What will remain the same?

  • Your telephone number, including the 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.
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 911, as well as 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711, or 811 if those are currently available in your community.

Who may you contact with questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information provided in this notice, please call Citizens Telephone Cooperative at 540.745.2111, or access the following websites for more information: or the Virginia State Corporation Commission at

Citizens’ business hours are Monday thru Friday 8 am - 6 pm, and Saturday 9 am - 1 pm. Citizens is a member-owned Cooperative providing telephone, Internet, and TV to Floyd County, portions of Ft. Chiswell, New Castle, and surrounding communities for over 100 years. Citizens offers symmetrical business Ethernet and Hosted Phone Solutions, as well as Medical Alert. Citizens is located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd, VA currently assisting customers via Drive-thru only due to Covid restrictions. DCJS #11-9804