I live overseas, am I able to register to vote?

I live overseas, can I register?

British citizens living abroad can now vote in UK Parliament elections even if they’ve lived outside the UK for more than 15 years.

They will need to have previously lived or been registered to vote in the UK at some point in their life.

You can register as an overseas elector, and your overseas declaration is now valid for three years, lasting the 1 November in the third year after it takes effect. 

These changes apply to UK Parliament general elections, by-elections and recall petitions. They do not apply to local elections.

When applying, you need to provide the last UK address you lived at or were registered to vote at. You also need to provide your National Insurance number and date of birth. These are used to verify your identity.

More details can be found on the Electoral Commission website

Options for voting as an overseas elector

As on overseas elector you will need to make arrangements for absent voting.

The options available are:

  • appoint a proxy in the UK who could either visit your polling station or apply for a postal vote themselves in order to ensure that your vote is counted
  • apply to vote by post – the ballot paper would be sent to the address you request on your application.

It is recommended that you consider appointing a proxy as due to the fact that ballot packs cannot be distributed until after the close of nominations (which is the time candidates can stand) the earliest they are likely to be despatch is -12 days before any election, that is assuming your arrangement is in place before the election is called. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is -11 days before the election so if you made an application by that point your pack is unlikely to be despatched until -6 days before. In view of these timings it is unlikely a pack would manage to make it to an overseas address and be returned by 10pm on polling day.

You can find more information on proxy and postal voting on the Electoral Commission website: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voting-and-elections/ways-vote

Apply to vote by proxy

Apply to vote by post 

I am a service voter, how do I register to vote?

A member of HM Forces and their wife/husband or civil partner can register as an ordinary elector or as a service voter. You can register as a service voter. A service declaration must be completed, which is valid for five years. Each unit of the services has designated one member of staff to be a Unit Registration Officer who will be able to provide further advice.

Electoral Services

Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm (excluding bank holidays)

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street

Telephone: 024 7683 3034