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Tuesday, 2 October 2023

Voting from abroad

If you move abroad, you can vote in general elections and European Union elections for up to 15 years, but you need to be registered. However, you can't vote in UK local government elections. You can also vote by post or proxy if you’ll be temporarily abroad on election day.

Registering as an overseas voter

Registering to vote

Follow the link below to find out how to register to vote

If you are a British citizen living abroad who has registered to vote within the past 15 years, you can apply to be an overseas voter.

Applying to be an overseas voter

To apply to be an overseas voter you'll need to download and print a registration form from the About My Vote website. Once you have filled it in, you should send it to the electoral registration office for the area where you were last registered to vote. Or, you can contact the electoral registration office and ask them to send you an overseas voter registration form.

Confirming you are British citizen living abroad

You’ll need to ask someone to sign a witness declaration on your form.

Signing the witness declaration means that someone can confirm that you are a British citizen and you aren’t living in the UK when you apply. The person who signs the witness declaration has to be another British citizen living abroad, but not a close relative. They don’t have to live in the same country as you.

Too young to register before moving abroad - what to do

If you aren’t registered to vote in the UK, you can't vote from abroad - unless you were too young to register when moving overseas. If so, you can register with the electoral registration office where your parent or guardian was last registered. You can only register as long as you left the UK within the past 15 years.

Registering to vote if serving abroad in the Armed Forces

If you are serving abroad with the Armed Forces, or you may be sent abroad at short notice, you can register as a service voter. Husbands, wives or civil partners of members of the Armed Forces can also register as service voters. You must renew your service declaration every three years.

You can register using the UK address where you last lived, or where you would be living if you were still in the UK.

Electoral registration forms for service voters can be downloaded by going to the About My Vote website and following the 'Register to vote' link.

How to vote if you are abroad

All overseas voters can vote by post or by applying for someone to vote for the candidate of their choice (otherwise known as ‘proxy voting’). If you are an overseas voter , a postal vote will be sent to you about a week before the election. If it would be difficult for you to receive and return a postal vote in time, consider voting by proxy.

A proxy vote means you ask someone you know and trust to vote on your behalf. They can go to your polling station, or they can apply to vote for you by post. Find out more about postal and proxy votes in ‘Voting at an election’.

Returning to the UK from abroad

Remember to register if you return to live in the UK, so you don't lose your chance to vote. You can register to vote at your new address by filling in a registration form and sending it to your local electoral registration office. If you are serving in the Armed Forces and return to the UK, you can either:

  • continue to register as a service voter
  • register to vote with your local electoral registration office

Voting if you are abroad on election day

If you live in the UK but you will be away from home on election day, you can apply to vote by post or by proxy. Find out how to apply for postal or proxy voting in ‘Voting at an election’.

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