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Voting in the UK from Abroad

This guide explains how to vote in the United Kingdom if you will be abroad temporarily on polling day. The voting process differs if you have already moved overseas long term, or serving in the armed forces.

The procedure for voting from abroad depends on which part of the UK you intend to cast your vote and whether your stay abroad will be temporary or permanent.

Election Votes While Temporarily Abroad

Eligible voters can choose to cast their ballot by postal methods or by proxy if they will be abroad for a brief period that coincides with election day.

To vote in absence England, Scotland, or Wales on polling day while abroad temporarily, you can either:

Note: You must make this type of voting arrangement in advance. Thus, you would need to vote by proxy if the election will take place two (2) weeks before you set up the arrangements.

A different process exists for casting an absent vote from outside of Northern Ireland. If you will be temporarily overseas on election day, and live in Northern Ireland, you should (either):

  • Arrange to cast a proxy vote.
  • Vote by postal methods (by returning the ballot before going overseas).

Note: You should contact the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland (EONI) for further details and information.

Voting after Moving or Living Abroad

As a rule, you would be able to register as an overseas voter if you are moving or living abroad. Registration can take place for up to fifteen (15) years after leaving the United Kingdom, providing:

  • You have British citizenship or you qualify as an Irish citizen.
  • You registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years (or too young to register when leaving the UK).
  • Note: You can apply to register to vote in the usual way in England, Scotland, or in Wales. But, you would need to contact EONI to register by post in Northern Ireland.

Public Servants Posted Overseas

People Serving Abroad in the Armed Forces

The armed forces registration service allows individuals to cast their ballot in the United Kingdom while they are posted overseas.

You should be able to register as a ‘service’ voter, and get a reminder to renew, if you are serving outside of the UK. Doing so, means the registration only needs renewing every five (5) years.

Crown Servants and British Council Employees

The Crown servants and British Council employees registration service is for individuals who are working overseas (based outside the United Kingdom), such as:

  • A British Council employee
  • A Crown servant (e.g. overseas diplomatic or service civil service)

Voting When You are Overseas of the United Kingdom