Area code 856 is a telephone area code in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for the southwestern part of the U.S. state of New Jersey. The numbering plan area (NPA) includes the Camden, Cherry Hill, and Vineland areas, as well as a small part of Willingboro Township, and the western part of Burlington County. 856 is essentially coextensive with the New Jersey side of the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
The entire state of New Jersey was assigned area code 201 in the first configuration of the North American Numbering plan in 1947. In 1958, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) divided the state into two numbering plan areas, restricting the use of 201 to the northern part, while the southern portion of the state received area code 609.
With the increasing demand for telephone numbers by businesses, increased used of fax machines, pagers and cell phones, area code 609 exhausted its numbering capacity. Area code 856 was announced by Bell Atlantic in March 1999, and was approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities shortly thereafter. The new area code came into effect on June 12, 1999. For the following five months, ending November 13, 1999, permissive dialing was allowed, with calls completed even if only seven digits were dialed.
Area code 856 is one of only two area codes in the state, the other being 908 in the northwest, that has yet to be overlaid; until 2021, it was one of the few urbanized area codes in the country where seven-digit dialing was still possible.
Area code 856 has telephone numbers assigned for the central office code 988. 988 has been designated nationwide as a dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which creates a conflict for exchanges that permit seven-digit dialing. This area code is therefore scheduled to transition to ten-digit dialing, mandatory after October 24, 2021.
- Demasters, Karen (March 14, 1999). "IN BRIEF; 609 Divided by 2 Will Equal Area Code 856 - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-08.
- Now you can call, if your calls don't work some business lines aren't set up to all to new area codes. Archived March 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, The Virginian-Pilot, November 1, 1995. Accessed June 8, 2007
- 1951: First Direct-Dial Transcontinental Telephone Call, AT&T, accessed May 12, 2007.
- About Verizon New Jersey: Years 1931 to 1969 Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Verizon Communications, accessed May 12, 2007.
- Breidenbaugh, R.C. Geographic Split of 609 (New Jersey) NPA; addition of 856 NPA. May 1999 NXX updates, NANPA Planning Letter dated May 5, 1999. Accessed July 4, 2007.
- "Transition to 10-digit dialing (for 988 as 3-digit access to National Suicide Prevention Hotline)" (PDF). North American Numbering Plan Administrator. January 8, 2021. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
|North: 215/267/445, 484/610|
|West: 302||856||East: 609/640|
|Delaware area codes: 302|
|Pennsylvania area codes: 215/267/445, 223/717, 272/570, 412, 484/610, 724, 814/582, 878|