On the 16 January 2024, the Government introduced new legislation that allows British Citizens living overseas to register to vote with no restriction on the timeframe to when an applicant was last registered to vote. Historically, overseas applicants must have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years.
Voting rights for British Citizens living overseas
The legislation has removed the 15 year rule and now also permits overseas applicants who were previously resident in the UK. Overseas electors are entitled to vote at UK Parliamentary elections only.
To be eligible to register as an overseas elector an individual must meet either the previously registered or previously resident eligibility conditions and pass identity verification checks.
The previously registered condition applies to a person who was previously registered to vote in the UK, either before they left the UK or as an overseas elector and the previously resident condition applies to a person who was previously resident in the UK (including those who left the UK before they were old enough to register to vote).
Register to vote
You can use this service to register to vote if you're a British citizen.
How to register to vote
Fill in the form on the gov.uk website.
Clock Applying usually takes around 5 minutes.
Paperclip To complete the application you will need your passport if you are a British citizen living abroadApply to register
After you've applied
You may be asked to provide extra evidence.
Who can register
British citizens (which includes eligible Irish citizens and citizens of the Crown Dependencies) may register as overseas electors if they are now living abroad, providing they are:
- a person who was previously registered to vote in the UK, either before they left the UK or as an overseas elector â€“ known as the previously registered condition
- a person who was previously resident in the UK (including those who left the UK before they were old enough to register to vote) â€“ known as the previously resident condition
Applicants must apply to register as an overseas elector in respect of the address where they were last registered to vote in the UK or, if they have never been registered, the last address at which they were resident in the UK.
Previously registered condition
An applicant must use the previously registered condition if they have at any point been previously registered to vote in the UK.
If an applicant has been previously registered at more than one address, they should apply in respect of the one they were most recently registered at.
If an applicant was previously registered in respect of more than one address simultaneously then the elector must choose which one of those addresses to register in connection with.
Examples of individuals who may be eligible to register under this condition include:
- a person who, before they left the UK, was registered to vote as an ordinary elector
- a person who has previously been registered as an overseas elector and whose declaration has expired
- a person last registered on the basis of a declaration of local connection, as a merchant seaman or as a service voter
Previously resident condition
To be eligible under the previously resident condition an applicant must have been previously resident4 in the UK but never been registered to vote. This includes:
- a person who was resident in the UK but not registered
- a person who was too young to register when they left the UK
- a person who was of no fixed abode when they left the UK and who would have been eligible to make a declaration of local connection or who left the UK before 2001 (when declaration of local connection provisions were not in force)
For more information or help and support: Contact Electoral Services