World Facts

Countries With The Most Time Zones In The World

Including its overseas territories, France uses 12 different time zones, the most of any country in the world.

Time Zones and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

Time zones are an important concept in gauging time across different regions of the world. A time zone is a term used to describe an area on the globe where uniform standard time is needed to be observed for social, commercial, or legal purposes. The time zone follows the boundary of regions and countries because it is easier for an area close to one another to keep the same time. The local time within a time zone is defined by its difference or offset from world’s standard time called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) expressed as UTC- or UTC+. Most of the time zones are offset from UTC by specific whole hours while others are compensated for by either 30 or 45 minutes (UTC-2, UTC+03:45 or UTC-5:30). Some of the countries with the highest numbers of time zones in the world are looked at below.

France

Different parts of Metropolitan France use either Central European Time (UTC+01:00) or Central European Summer Time (UTC+02:00). Metropolitan France Observes Daylight Saving time from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday of October. The country uses 12 time zones, the highest in the world because it has several overseas territories. Before 1891, all the Metropolitan Cities of France had their times based on the local solar time. However, the times were unified in 1891 due to the railway timetable complications. The times were unified based on Paris solar time. In 1911 France adopted GMT+0 as the official time. In 1940 it switched the time in the northern part of France to GMT+2. However, GMT+1 remains the official time for Metropolitan France. France’s time zones in its global territories range between UTC-10:00 in most parts of French Polynesia and UTC+12:00 in Wallis and Futuna.

United States

The United States and its territories are divided into nine standard time zones by law. However, there are two additional, but unofficial, time zones as well. Most of the United States observes daylight savings time (DST) for most of the fall, spring, and summer months. Time zone boundaries are regulated by Department of Transportation with official timekeeping services provided by National Institute of Standard and Technology and the US Naval Observatory. The federal law establishes when the DST occurs and also determines which region observes which time zone and whether they will observe DST. The nine official U.S. standard time zones include the Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska, Hawaii, Samoa, and Chamorro standard time zones.

Russia

Russia has 11 time zones ranging from UTC+02:00 to UTC+12:00. However, DST is not used in the country. These time zones include Kaliningrad, Moscow, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Yakutsk, Vladivostok, Magadan, and Kamchatka. The borders of these time zones were established in 1992 by the government of the Russian Federation when it was dividing the country into territories following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Work and Travel Across Time Zones

Time zones affect travelers in several ways including jet lag, especially when one's "body clock" is not yet synchronized. The jet lag causes fatigue that may last for days. Travelers will also have to sleep, wake up then sleep again because of the difference in time zones further messing up the body clock. Travelers are sometimes forced to delay their flight or fly during odd hours so that they can get to their destination at a particular time of the day. Employees working for international companies can also reschedule their time of reporting to work to correspond with the time the overseas employees report to work.

Countries With The Highest Number Of Time Zones In The World

RankSovereign StateNo. of Time Zones
1 France12
2 United States11
3 Russia11
4 Antarctica10+
5 United Kingdom9
6 Australia8
7 Canada6
8 Kingdom of Denmark5
9 New Zealand5
10 Brazil4
11 Mexico4
12 Indonesia3

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