Voting when you’re abroad

How you vote when you’re abroad depends on:

  • where you want to vote
  • whether you’ll be abroad temporarily or living abroad

If you’ll be abroad temporarily

You can vote by post or by proxy if you’ll be abroad temporarily on election day.

Voting in England, Scotland or Wales

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

You must make the arrangements in advance.

Vote by proxy if the election is less than 2 weeks away and you have not made the arrangements yet.

Voting in Northern Ireland

There’s a different process for applying to vote by post or proxy if you live in Northern Ireland and will be abroad temporarily on election day.

You can arrange to:

  • vote by post - you must return your ballot before going abroad
  • vote by proxy

If you’re moving or 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 or eligible Irish 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)

If you want to vote in England, Scotland or Wales, register to vote in the normal way.

If you want to vote in Northern Ireland, you need to register by post.

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