News & Politics

DC’s New Area Code Will Go Live in November

771 will become a thing on November 9.

Looks like someone just got a 771. Image via iStock.

DC residents may receive phone numbers with the new area code 771 by November 9, 2021, the District’s Public Service Commission announced Monday.

In preparation for the new code, technically called an overlay because it serves people in 202, an existing area code—you and someone else in your house could have different area codes, for instance—seven-digit dialing will go away on October 9. That may seem like an anachronism, but as the commission points out, some older equipment, like alarm systems and medical-alert devices, may be programmed to dial only a seven-digit number. 911, 211, 311, 511, and 811 won’t change.

Nobody’s phone number will change, the commission says, but it’s not hard to see a future where 202 becomes a status symbol, so if you’re holding on to a phone number from another jurisdiction, you probably want to change it now or forever bask in the shame of 771.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.