Voting when you’re abroad

You need to register to vote in elections and referendums.

If you’re going to be abroad temporarily on election day, you can arrange to:

If you’re registered in Northern Ireland and you’re going to be abroad, you can only vote by proxy.

You must make the arrangements in advance.

Vote by proxy if the election is less than 2 weeks away and you haven’t made any arrangements yet. You may not get your ballot paper in time to vote by post.

British citizens living abroad

You can register as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after leaving the UK, as long as:

  • you’re a British citizen
  • you were registered to vote in the UK within the previous 15 years (or, in some cases, if you were too young to have registered when you left the UK)

Just register to vote in the normal way. You’ll need to renew your registration every year.

Serving abroad in the armed forces

Register to vote using the armed forces registration service.

If you’re serving outside the UK, you can register as a ‘service’ voter. This means that you only have to renew your registration every 5 years. You’ll get a reminder when it’s time to renew.

Crown servants and British Council employees

Use the registration service for Crown servants and British Council employees if you’re based outside the UK working as a:

  • Crown servant (for example overseas civil service or diplomatic service)
  • British Council employee