Skip to content

About Minnesota Relay


Minnesota Relay is a free, federally mandated Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) program that allows an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or speech disabled to communicate over the telephone in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of an individual who does not have hearing loss or a speech disability.

A specially trained communications assistant (CA) facilitates the telephone conversation between a person with a hearing or speech disability and other individuals.  Calls can be made to anywhere in the world (standard charges apply for long-distance calls), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  All calls are completely confidential.

Minnesota Relay is administered by the Telecommunications Access Minnesota (TAM) program within the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and is funded through a monthly surcharge on each wired and wireless telephone access line in the state.  Minnesota Relay services are provided to the state under contract with Communication Service for the Deaf.  The Minnesota Relay call center is located in Moorhead, MN.

For more information regarding relay services visit Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) at the Federal Communications Communication or download the Minnesota Relay brochure (.pdf).

7-1-1 Dialing Access for Relay Calls


To make a Minnesota Relay call, just dial 7-1-1.

7-1-1 is a toll-free, nationwide relay access number.  You may dial 7-1-1 from anywhere in the United States and be connected to the relay service in the state you are calling from.  Once connected to the relay service, tell the CA the type of relay call you wish to make (i.e. TTY, HCO, VCO, STS, Spanish, etc.).

The 7-1-1 code is not just for use by persons with disabilities.  Voice users can initiate a relay call from any telephone, anywhere in the United States, without having to remember and dial a ten-digit access number.

7-1-1 dialing access does not work for Video Relay Service (VRS), Internet Protocol (IP) Relay, or Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IPCTS) relay calls, because such calls are initiated through the Internet.  Hearing persons initiating a VRS or IP Relay call may do so by calling a provider’s toll-free number.  IPCTS users just call their party directly, and a Communications Assistant (CA) is automatically connected to the call.

If you call Minnesota Relay and hear something that sounds like fax tones or if the line is silent, remain on the call and wait for a Minnesota Relay communications assistant to answer – this could take a minute or longer. 

Minnesota Relay Direct Access Numbers


While the 7-1-1 access number is easy to remember, dialing the direct toll-free number for a specific type of relay call may result in faster connections because the call does not need to be transferred.

  • TTY, Voice, ASCII, Hearing Carry Over ............ 1-800-627-3529
  • Voice Carry Over ............................................... 1-877-627-3024
  • Two-Line Voice Carry Over ............................... 1-866-855-4611
  • Speech-to-Speech ............................................. 1-877-627-3848
  • Spanish Relay .................................................... 1-877-627-5448
  • 900 Pay-Per-Call ................................................ 1-900-230-3324

To contact a person who uses a single-line CapTel™, dial 1-877-243-2823 and then enter the telephone number of the CapTel user.

For specific instructions on placing or receiving a Minnesota Relay call, please see the instruction sheets provided in the Make or Receive a Relay Call section. 

Dialing 7-1-1 From a Private Branch Exchange


To make a Minnesota Relay call, just dial 7-1-1.

Federal Communications Commission rules require all telephone companies (including wireline, wireless, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol, and payphone providers) that operate private branch exchanges (PBXs) to implement three-digit 7-1-1 dialing for access to relay services.  A PBX is a private telephone system within an organization that switches calls between internal users and allows users to share a certain number of external phone lines.  PBX operators are required to modify their equipment to enable 7-1-1 dialing to ensure that everyone benefits from abbreviated dialing and that consumers have easy access to relay services.

Callers from locations served by PBXs may be required to dial 9 or another prefix before entering the 7-1-1 code or placing an outside call.

If you dial 7-1-1 and your call does not go through, contact your office administrator or local telephone service provider to request the availability of the 7-1-1 service in your office.  You may also contact Sprint Relay Customer Service at 1-800-676-3777 for assistance with this issue.

If the 7-1-1 dialing access is not working from your phone, you can dial 1-800-627-3529 to be connected to Minnesota Relay.

For more information regarding 7-1-1 see the FCC's guide on FCC 711 for Telecommunications Relay Service site.

Long Distance Relay Calls


Billing Options for Long Distance Minnesota Relay Calls 

  • Direct
  • Collect
  • Pre-paid calling card
  • Carrier calling card
  • Third-party billing 

If you do not indicate how you would like your long distance Minnesota Relay call(s) billed, long distance charges will be billed to the number from which you are calling.

Registering Your Long Distance Carrier of Choice – Basic Relay

The long distance carrier you have chosen for your home service is NOT automatically applied to your Minnesota Relay calls.  You must register your long distance carrier to have your long distance relay calls billed through your Carrier of Choice.  If you do not indicate a long distance carrier, your long distance Minnesota Relay calls will be carried and billed by Sprint.

You must currently have a billing relationship established with the carrier that you indicate as your Carrier of Choice.  If you do not have a billing relationship with the carrier you choose, your call may not go through, or you may be billed at a rate that is much higher than you anticipate.

Minnesota Relay available long distance carriers list (.pdf).  Relay users may also contact Sprint’s 24-hour Customer Service at: 1-800-676-3777 (voice/TTY) for a current list of all available long distance carriers.

If your long distance carrier is not listed as an available Carrier of Choice, you are able to file a complaint.  We will contact the carrier and assist them with the steps necessary to become a Carrier of Choice.

To register your long distance Carrier of Choice see the Customer Preference (Profile) Form section.

Registering Your Long Distance Carrier of Choice – CapTel Relay

CapTel relay users who use a single-line CapTel must register their long distance carrier to ensure that their long distance CapTel calls are carried and billed through their existing long distance service or calling plan.

Individuals who place long distance calls to a single-line CapTel relay user must also register their long distance carrier so that their calls are carried and billed through their existing long distance service or calling plan.

CapTel Relay available long distance carriers list (.pdf).

If your long distance carrier is not listed as an available CapTel Carrier of Choice, you are able to file a complaint.  We will contact the carrier and assist them with the steps necessary to become a Carrier of Choice.

CapTel relay users may register their long distance Carrier of Choice online, or they may call CapTel Customer Service at 1-888-269-7477 (voice/CapTel/TTY). 

International Relay Calls


Minnesota Relay allows users to place and receive calls to and from anywhere in the world (using English and Spanish language only).

To place an International relay call from Minnesota dial: 7-1-1 or 1-800-627-3529 (voice, TTY, ASCII).

To place a relay call from outside the U.S., dial: 1-605-244-1837.

Relay Calls Using Public Payphones


Minnesota Relay users can make local relay calls from payphones free of charge.  Long distance relay calls can be charged to a calling card or prepaid card, by calling collect, or billed to a third party.  Coins cannot be used to pay for a long distance relay call from a payphone.

For more information regarding relay calls using payphones visit FCC Payphone Relay Service site.

Directory Assistance


You can use Minnesota Relay to place calls to directory assistance (DA).  When a relay user requests to call DA, the CA will contact the appropriate DA operator.  After obtaining the number, the caller may choose to place the call through Minnesota Relay or to dial the number directly.  (Note: DA is often subject to charges by the caller's local service provider.) 


Calling 9-1-1


TTY Users

TTY callers should dial 9-1-1 or other existing emergency numbers directly in an emergency.  All 9-1-1 centers are equipped to handle TTY calls.  Minnesota Relay can process emergency calls, but doing so may result in a delay in getting your call through.

CapTel Users
Two-line CapTel users should dial 9-1-1 directly, and they will be able to view captions of the call as they normally would.

All single-line CapTel calls placed to 9-1-1 will connect directly to Emergency 9-1-1 services.  9-1-1 calls will not be routed through the captioning service.  This means:
  • There are no delays in accessing emergency personnel, as your call is directly connected to a 9-1-1 call center.
  • Emergency 9-1-1 calls are not captioned in the same manner that regular CapTel calls are because the call is not routed through the CapTel captioning service.
  • Emergency 9-1-1 calls are treated as Voice Carry-Over (VCO) calls during which the 9-1-1 call-taker can hear everything you say, and then types their response that appears on the CapTel display screen.
  • You speak directly into the handset, as you would with any other CapTel call.  The 9-1-1 call-taker will hear everything you say.  You may not be able to hear the call taker, but they can type instructions to you, which will appear on the CapTel display screen.
  • Emergency 9-1-1 services will know the number you called from and be able to locate you and send appropriate help, based on the location from which your CapTel call is placed.
CapTel Users - How to Dial an Emergency 9-1-1 Call Directly
  1. Pick up the CapTel handset.  Dial 9-1-1 on the keypad.
  2. The light above the CAPTION button will go off, and the display will show *CAPTIONS ARE OFF* Dialing 911 Directly.  Watch the display for instructions.
  3. When you hear the 9-1-1 call-taker or see that a connection has been established, talk into the CapTel handset as you normally would.  Be sure to tell the 9-1-1 call-taker the nature of your emergency.

    If you cannot hear and need captions from 9-1-1, press the button next to the message “If you need captions from 9-1-1 press here on the display screen.”

    The CapTel will automatically send a text message to 9-1-1 telling them to type messages to you.  Watch the status bar on the display screen to know when 9-1-1 has established captions.

  4. You can read 9-1-1's typed messages on the CapTel display.  Then respond by talking into the CapTel handset as you normally would.
  5. Watch the display screen for further instructions.
NOTE: The 9-1-1 call-taker will not be able to hear you when he/she is typing messages.  After you hang up, the CapTel will remain in VCO mode in case 9-1-1 calls you back.  To turn off VCO mode, press the CAPTION button.

CapTel Users - Dialing an Emergency 9-1-1 Call Through Relay (Alternative Method)
Relay services are equipped to help provide text captions during 9-1-1 calls, and are very familiar with VCO (combined voice and text) calling.  If you place an emergency call through Minnesota Relay, you will receive text captions of everything that the 9-1-1 call-taker says.  However, you will not be able to hear the 9-1-1 call-taker over the CapTel handset.

NOTE: Dialing 9-1-1 through Minnesota Relay may delay your connection to emergency personnel.
  1. Pick up the CapTel handset. Dial 7-1-1 on the keypad.
  2. The Caption light will go off, and the display will show VCO Mode Dialing 711.  Watch the display for a connection to the relay.
  3. When you see that a connection has been established, ask for VCO.  Tell the CA that the call is an emergency and request 9-1-1.
  4. The CA will place your call to Emergency Services, and transcribe everything the 9-1-1 call-taker says into text, which appears on the CapTel display.
  5. When you see "GA", or "go ahead", talk into the CapTel handset as you normally would.  Be sure to tell the 9-1-1 call-taker your location and the nature of your emergency.  Remember to say "GA" or "go ahead" when you are finished talking so that the 9-1-1 call-taker will know it is their turn to reply.
NOTE: After you hang up, the CapTel will remain in VCO mode in case 9-1-1 calls you back.  Press the CAPTION button to turn off VCO mode when you are done with your 9-1-1 call.