UK citizens resident outside the country may vote in national elections provided they have:
This came as a result of the "The Representation of the People Act 2000" which affects registration procedures for overseas electors.
Note: A British Citizen wishing to apply for registration as an overseas elector has to have been registered on an electoral register at an address in the UK within the 15 years prior to their application. A person too young to have been registered 15 years prior may supply the name of a parent or guardian registered to vote.
Comprehensive information is available from:
An "Application to Register as an Overseas Elector" form must be completed. This can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission website or applied for at the nearest British Consulate General (there may be a small charge). The completed application form must be returned to the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for the area in which the voter was last registered as an elector.
Further information is available from the ERO in the local government office in the constituency of the last place of residence in the United Kingdom, or from the local British Consulate General.
Registered electors can apply to vote by post or by proxy.
The law allows anyone included in a register of electors to apply for a postal vote from in or outside of the UK. The postal vote application form must be completed, signed and returned at least 11 working days before the election.
A ballot paper and "declaration of identity" form will be sent to the home address about one week before the election.
All postal votes must arrive at the Returning Officer before the end of voting on the day of the election. They may be delivered either by post or in person (it can be handed in to the Returning Officer or to a polling station in the electoral area on Election Day).
Note: If the postal vote is to be sent to an overseas address, ensure that the postal services can deliver it and return it to the relevant election office in the UK within five working days. If it's not certain that this can be achieved, it is strongly recommended to appoint a proxy in the UK to vote by post or in person.
A voter unable to vote in person at their polling station may apply to appoint a "proxy" who will vote on their behalf provided they are eligible to vote. A proxy must be at least 18-years-old and not disqualified to vote in their own right. For a General Election the proxy must be a British, Commonwealth or Irish citizen. No person may act as a proxy for more than two people at the same election, unless those two people are closely related.
A voter wishing to use a proxy will need to find someone who is willing to vote for them. The relevant form must be completed, signed and sent to the ERO. The proxy will then be able to vote at the polling station or by post.
If a proxy has been appointed but the voter finds they are able to attend the polling station in person, they may vote providing they (or their proxy) have not been sent a postal ballot paper.
A separate application form should be completed for each member of a household who wishes to arrange a postal or proxy vote.
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