If you have never had to send an international fax, then the process may seem like a bit of a mystery. It’s not like sending an email where you can simply input the email address, regardless of where you or the recipient may live. The good news is that the process isn’t as challenging or time-consuming as you may expect. Long-distance faxing is a very common method of communicating around the world and, once you know the process, you’ll be faxing internationally like a pro.
But why would you need to send an international fax in the first place? Why not just use email or Skype to communicate, since borders are no longer a concern then?
The fact is that faxing is still a very popular form of communication and, in some parts of the world with spotty Internet access, fax may actually be the preferred type of communication for many businesses.
If your business deals with others around the world, then fax may be the best way to reach your customers or suppliers. In addition, faxes are considered legally binding documents, unlike emails. If you need to ensure that your contract will stand up in court should a dispute arise, then you need to be sending documents via fax.
There is also the security aspect of faxing. This is critically important when sending communications around the world, and especially if you’re faxing sensitive documents. If you are, you need to be sure that the documents are secure and protected from hackers. Traditional fax lines form a direct connection between the sender and recipient, which means that the file isn’t bouncing around servers on its way to the recipient like less secure online communication methods, including email.
Online fax is actually a very secure method of communication. In fact, many online fax providers offer encryption, which means that even if hackers were to intercept the communication, it’s virtually impossible for them to read what’s contained in the documents without the encryption key. Even an advanced hacker with a room full of supercomputers would be unable to breach the most advanced encryption methods. This is one reason why online fax has been growing in popularity, despite the common and misleading belief that fax is becoming an outdated and antiquated form of communication.
Another advantage of using online fax services for international faxes is that you have the advantage of mobility. Imagine that you’re traveling and you need to send a fax internationally. What do you do in this situation? If you’re nowhere near your office, then stopping by the office to use the fax machine is out of the question. If you’re not near a small town or city with a store that offers fax services, then you’re also out of luck.
If you have Internet fax capabilities, however, you can send the fax right from your laptop or smartphone. That’s all there is to it. Best of all, since you’re using your Internet fax provider, you have a consistent fax number that others can reply to. This is in contrast to using a store that offers fax services where the return number wouldn’t point directly to you but, rather, to the store’s fax number.
There are countless situations where being able to send an international fax is needed. But how exactly do you do it? What are the steps to ensuring that you can-do long-distance faxing?
Step by Step: How to Send an International Fax
For this example, we will outline how to send an international fax assuming that you’re using an online fax service.
Sign up for Online Fax Service
This may seem like a bit of an obvious step, but it’s important to research whether the service you’re signing up for offers international faxing capabilities. Some services may include this in their plans, while others may charge extra for an international fax plan. Some don’t offer this type of functionality at all. Be sure that the service you select will meet your needs, as well as the volume you will be sending and/or receiving.
Upload Document to Online Fax Portal
The first step is to prepare your document for faxing. If you have the document saved to your computer, then all you need to do is log in to your online fax service portal or user panel and then upload the document. Most online fax services support a range of popular documents including PDF’s and Word documents. As long as you are using a common document type, it should be quick and easy to send an international fax.
This is also when you will want to upload a cover sheet if you’re using one. Some Internet fax providers don’t charge extra for cover sheets, and the presence of a cover sheet helps make your fax easier to organize. In addition, using a cover sheet makes your fax look more professional. Creating a cover sheet is easy and simply need to include the important details like your name, your fax number, and your phone number, as well as the same information for the recipient. Most cover sheets have a section for comments where you can note if the fax is intended for a specific person or if the fax contains sensitive information that needs to be handled carefully.
Many online fax services offer cloud storage of faxes, as well as the ability to integrate with popular cloud storage services like Dropbox. If you’re on-the-go a lot, then it may be in your best interest to find a fax provider with this level of integration so that you can simply send faxes directly from your cloud storage using a compatible device, as opposed to downloading the files and then uploading them to your fax service’s web portal or mobile app interface.
Find the International Prefix for Your Recipient
There are two different numbers you need for sending a fax internationally. First, there is the international prefix that denotes the specific country or area where you’re sending a fax. This is different from a country code and area code so it’s important not to get confused. The prefix may also include an “X” which denotes a space for the carrier that will be handling the fax in the area. There may be multiple options for selecting a carrier.
While searching online for the international prefix can help, unfortunately, this may not provide all of the information you’ll need. In some cases, like with those that require a specific number for a carrier, you may need to ask the recipient which carrier they’re using in order to identify the correct prefix to use. This is especially important in countries and/or regions that share international prefix numbers, like the United States and Canada.
Find the Country Code for the Fax You’re Sending
Since you’re planning to send a fax internationally, you need to find the correct country code for the place you are planning to send the fax. Many people are familiar with the country code used in the United States which is simply “1.” Without the correct country code, your international fax will not be delivered.
An online search can quickly reveal the country code for the recipient you are sending to. Of course, this means you’ll need to know where the recipient is located. For sake of convenience, we’ve also provided a list of county codes at the end of the article to help you in your search. Remember, the country code always follows the international prefix, and you will need both numbers to send your fax.
Dial the Fax Number You Wish to Send To
This is where the process is much like sending a domestic fax using a traditional fax machine, with some minor but important differences. Once you have identified the international prefix and country code for the country you are sending to, you can then enter the recipient’s fax number. When using an online fax service, you’ll simply enter the number you are faxing to. Depending on the provider’s specific fax portal, you may have the option to select an international prefix and country code from a drop-down menu. Others may require you to enter the international prefix manually in one field, the country code in another field, and the recipient’s fax number in a third field.
Complete the Fax
Once you have ensured the correct document is uploaded, identified the country code, and entered the right number for your recipient, then you’re ready to send your fax. All you need to do is select the button that completes the process via your online fax provider’s user interface, which will then connect your online fax number to the recipient you have noted.
So, How Do Country Codes Work?
At the end of the day, sending an international fax is very similar to sending a domestic fax. The process is largely the same, other than finding and entering the country code for the fax number you are sending to. This is the one step that can confuse some people and trip them up, so let’s take a closer look at what country codes are, as well as why you need to use them.
Since there are billions of people around the world, and just as many phone numbers held by hundreds of different carriers, it can be difficult for a fax provider to understand where to send your fax without the use of a country code. Without the country code, there is no way to know if the number is domestic or international.
There are essentially two parts to a country code: the international prefix and the actual country code. Both are needed if you’re sending a fax internationally. An international prefix is usually 3 numbers that come before the country code. An international prefix often points to a larger region, while the country code helps define things a little more clearly.
Country codes are used to point your fax connection to the correct geographic location. This avoids issues where the number you are sending to may overlap with a number in another country. The country code specifically determines where the fax is going and removes any confusion about similar phone numbers around the world. Plus, some carriers even have their own international fax codes, which immediately lets them know that they’re meant to be handling the fax you’re sending.
Many people mistake fax country codes with area codes which you commonly use when making domestic calls. The two numbers are entirely different things but are actually quite similar in concept. The country code is the top-level code used to connect your fax to the recipient. The area code is the next level that helps identify the recipient. It’s important to note that these two terms are not interchangeable, as they must be used in combination. To send a fax internationally, you will need a country code as well as the full phone number with area code. Without both numbers, the fax will not go through.
International Fax Country Codes
Finding the right country code can be confusing if you aren’t sure where to look. Here’s a list of country codes for fax numbers around the world. Once you know where your recipient is located, you’re ready to send your fax.
|Australian External Territories||672|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||387|
|British Virgin Islands||1-284|
|Cape Verde Islands||238|
|Central African Republic||236|
|Chatham Island (New Zealand)||64|
|Christmas Island||53 (08 from Australia)|
|Congo, Dem. Rep. of(former Zaire)||243|
|Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||225|
|Cuba (Guantanamo Bay)||5399|
|Falkland Islands (Malvinas)||500|
|Macedonia(Former Yugoslav Rep of.)||389|
|Micronesia, (Federal States of)||691|
|Northern Marianas Islands (Saipan, Rota, & Tinian)||1-670|
|Papua New Guinea||675|
|Puerto Rico||1-787 or 1-939|
|St. Pierre & Miquelon||508|
|St. Vincent & Grenadines||1-784|
|São Tomé and Principe||239|
|Serbia and Montenegro||381|
|Somali Democratic Republic||252|
|Trinidad & Tobago||1-868|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||1-649|
|United Arab Emirates||971|
|United States of America||1|
|US Virgin Islands||1-340|
|Vatican City||39 and 379|
|Wallis and Futuna Islands||681|
Does It Cost Extra to Send Faxes Internationally?
Cost is a common concern when it comes to faxing internationally. The cost of sending international faxes will ultimately come down to the Internet fax provider you have chosen. Some providers offer international faxing included with their plans. Some even have free plans with international faxing capabilities. The caveat is that the volume you are able to send each month using these types of plans is often limited. Be sure to properly research the plans you are considering closely to see if the international faxing capabilities meet your needs.
Do You Need an International Fax Number to Send Faxes Internationally?
Some people incorrectly believe that they need to have a separate international fax number in order to send faxes to international numbers. This is not true at all, and exactly why fax country codes are in place. Whether you have a fax number in the United States or elsewhere, it will not affect your ability to fax internationally, assuming that you have the correct country code for your recipient and the Internet fax provider you’re using offers international faxing capability.
Some International Fax Codes Include an X? Why?
You may notice that some international fax codes include an X after a series of numbers. This can be initially confusing, especially if you’ve never seen it before. What the X represents is a carrier number for that specific country. In situations like this, you will have to ask the recipient which carrier they are using so that you can enter the correct carrier code as a part of the overall international fax code.
Can I Receive International Faxes?
Of course, sending a fax internationally is just one part of the equation. You also need to be able to receive faxes from people as well. This is something you will want to look into prior to signing up for an Internet fax service. Most companies give you the ability to receive international faxes too, but there are some that do not. Be sure to thoroughly vet companies so that you know if there will be additional costs associated with both sending and/or receiving international faxes.
Is International Faxing Secure?
If you’re sending documents internationally by fax, then ensuring they’re as secure as if you were sending them domestically is probably a top priority for you. The good news is that faxing works the same way, regardless of where the fax line is located. What this means is that your fax number makes a direct connection with the recipient’s fax line.
If you’re using an online fax service and concerned about security, then you may want to consider using a service provider that offers fax encryption. Some companies include this with all plan levels, while others only offer encryption as an additional feature. Also, keep in mind that many Internet fax companies don’t offer encryption capabilities at all. The bottom line is that if you’re sending sensitive documents, encryption is a must, and you should be prepared to pay a slight premium for it every month.