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Voting when living or working overseas


Members of HM Forces

Please see our Service voter registration page for more information.

Overseas Electors

From 16 January 2024, there are changes for British and eligible Irish citizens living overseas. There is no longer a 15 year limit on voting rights. 

Under the Elections Act 2022:

  • British and eligible Irish citizens living overseas can register to vote in the UK no matter how long ago they left or were last registered to vote in the UK.
  • Overseas declarations are now valid for three years, lasting until 1 November in the third year after it takes effect (for example, if the declaration takes effect on 1 March 2024, it will expire on 1 November 2026).
  • British and eligible Irish citizens living overseas can now register to vote online (not available in Northern Ireland).

Any British citizen living abroad who has previously lived in, or been registered to vote in the UK, will have the right to vote at UK Parliamentary elections. These voters will be registered at the constituency where they were last registered to vote, or where they lived if they were not registered to vote before.

If you left the UK before you were 18 years of age, you could register to vote at your parents' former address. You could only do this if they had registered there. 

This will let you vote at UK Parliamentary elections, but not at local elections.

Overseas electors can register to vote online.

If you prefer a paper form, please ask us for a form. Please send your completed application form to Electoral Services at the address on the bottom of this page.

We will reply confirming your registration and the date your registration will expire. A renewal reminder will be sent to you before your expiry date, subject to you informing us if you move address before the reminder is due.

By registering as an overseas elector you can vote in one of three ways: 

  • Vote by post if you want your ballot paper sent to you. Please be aware that your paper will be sent to you about 10 days before the election. You need to consider whether there is enough time to receive your ballot paper, mark your vote and return it before 10pm on polling day. Ballot papers that arrive after this time will not be counted. 
  • Vote by proxy if you want someone else to vote on your behalf. Your proxy must be aged 18 or over, a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen and be living in the UK. Your proxy can either vote at the polling station for the area where you are registered, or they can apply to cast the proxy vote by post. (If the proxy can’t go to your polling station, they can apply to cast the proxy vote by post. We must receive their completed application form by 5pm, 11 working days before the poll if the postal proxy is to be approved for the election.)
  • Vote in person if you are in the UK on polling day. You can only vote at the polling station where you are registered to vote in the UK. You are not able to vote at your local embassy or consulate. You cannot vote in person if you, or your proxy, have applied to vote by post. If you have appointed a proxy, you can still vote in person, provided your proxy has not already voted.

Please go to the Government website to download application forms to vote by post or by proxy.

Please contact us if you need help.

Crown Servants or British Council Employees

If you are working outside the UK as a Crown Servant or as an employee of the British Council, you can still register to vote.

You can also register if you are married to or are the civil partner of a Crown Servant or British Council employee and you are accompanying them during their employment abroad. 

If you are employed by the EU, UN or any other organisation not directly in service of the Crown you cannot register as a Crown Servant.

You can register to vote online.

If you prefer, you can download and complete a Crown Servant or British Council employee application form.

Changes to the Crown Servant registration forms

Crown Servants and British Council employees no longer have to make a declaration and send it via their employer.

Crown Servants and British Council employees are now required to provide a staff/payroll/other identifying number as part of their declaration when they apply to be included on the electoral register.

This means that Crown Servant and British Council employees will be able to register to vote online.

Please go to the Electoral Commission website for more information on voting when living or working overseas.

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