How to register to vote from abroad

If you are a UK citizen and you are currently in another country it is possible to register to vote from abroad for UK and European elections.

This is particularly important for many expats with the threat of Brexit looming.

This article explains how to register to vote from abroad.

I am temporarily located outside of the UK

If you are outside of the UK for a short period of time which coincides with an election or referendum, you can register to vote in two ways;

To vote from abroad by post

To register to vote by post requires completion of an application form.

The application form must be submitted a minimum of 11 working days prior to voting day. Postal votes can be sent to you either at a UK address of overseas.

The postal vote application form as at September 2019 can be found here.

In Northern Ireland you must return your ballot prior to going abroad.

To vote from abroad by proxy

This means authorising someone to vote on your behalf.

You can chose anyone to act as your proxy as long as the individual is registered to vote themselves.

For voting in England, Scotland & Wales, the application for a proxy vote must be submitted at least 6 working days prior to the election or referendum.

There are various forms depending upon your circumstances, such as;

  • If you will be away
  • If you will be working
  • Attending a course
  • If you are disabled
  • Living overseas
  • Serving overseas in armed forces
  • If you are overseas in diplomatic or civil service

The forms can be found here.

In Northern Ireland you must apply for a proxy vite 14 days prior to the election. The relevant form is here.

I am permanently resident outside the UK

If you have moved out of the UK and now permanently reside in another country, you can register as an overseas voter providing that;

  • You are a British or eligible Irish citizen
  • You were registered to vote in the UK within the past 15 years

You will need to renew your registration each year.

If you previously lived in England, Scotland or Wales, you can register online here.

If you previously lived in Northern Ireland, you must register by post. Further details can be found here.

Registering as an overseas voter will give you the right to vote in UK elections, European elections and referendums.

The registration process will give you the choice of voting via a postal ballot or proxy.

If you are serving in the armed forces

If you are stationed abroad while serving in the armed forces you can registered as a service voter. There is a specific application form for this, which can be found here.

Registration lasts for 5 years, so there is no need for annual renewals.

All information in this article is correct as of 5th September 2019.