Changes for EU citizens in some UK elections

There have been changes to which elections you can vote in and stand as a candidate in. This follows the UK’s departure from the European Union and has been introduced as part of the Elections Act.

These changes will apply to the following elections that take place on or after 7 May 2024:

You will only be able to register, vote or stand as a candidate in these elections if:

  • you’re a citizen of Denmark, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain who is resident in the UK, has permission to enter or stay in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, or who does not need permission
  • you’re a citizen of any other EU country who on or before 31 December 2020 was legally resident in the UK, had permission to enter or stay in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, or who did not need permission, and this has continued without a break

EU citizens cannot vote or stand as a candidate in UK Parliament elections .

The changes do not apply to:

  • Scottish Parliament and council elections in Scotland
  • Senedd and local council elections in Wales

All EU citizens are still eligible to vote in these elections.

These changes do not affect the eligibility of citizens of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta. Citizens of these countries living in the UK can register, vote and stand as candidates in all elections held in the UK.

The UK has mutual agreements with Denmark, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain. Citizens of these countries living in the UK can still vote and stand as candidates in UK elections (excluding UK Parliament elections). It also means that any UK citizens living in these countries are able to vote and stand as candidates in elections in that country.

If you are a citizen of one of these countries and you have received a letter asking you to answer a question about your immigration status:

To be able to register to vote in local elections in England, local and Assembly elections in Northern Ireland, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales, citizens of other EU countries need to be:

  • A citizen of any other EU country who on or before 31 December 2020 was legally resident in the UK, had permission to enter or stay in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, or who did not need permission, and this has continued without a break

The ‘other EU countries’ are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • The Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden

If you have citizenship of one of these ‘other EU countries’, but only gained that citizenship after 31 December 2020, that may affect your eligibility to vote in some elections and you might need to re-register to vote.

If you have received a letter asking you to answer a question about your immigration status, but you have dual nationality from one of the ‘other EU countries’ as well as the UK, Ireland, a commonwealth country (including Cyprus or Malta), Denmark, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal or Spain, you need to:

If you’ve received a letter or email about your eligibility to vote

Local councils in England and Wales and the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland are currently reviewing the eligibility of all EU citizens who are registered to vote in their area.

As part of this review, they are contacting all EU citizens to either:

  • let them know they are still eligible to vote in some UK elections
  • tell them they aren’t sure if they are eligible to vote in some UK elections, and ask them to provide information that will be used to confirm whether they are eligible

If you are told you are still eligible to vote by your local council, if you live in England or Wales, or by the Electoral Office if you live in Northern Ireland

There is nothing you need to do.

You will remain eligible and can vote in upcoming elections in your area (excluding UK Parliament elections).

If you are asked to provide information to confirm your eligibility by your local council, if you live in England or Wales, or by the Electoral Office if you live in Northern Ireland

You will be asked if you meet the eligibility criteria. Your answer to this question will only be shared with your Electoral Registration Office.

If you live in England or Wales, you need to either:

  • go to the gov.uk website. Details on how to log in will be included in the letter or email from your local council
  • complete a paper form and return it to your local council. This form will be included in the letter or email from your local council

If you live in Northern Ireland, the Electoral Officer will write to you with a paper form for you to complete and return.

If you confirm you do not meet the eligibility criteria or you do not provide details as requested, you will no longer be eligible to vote in:

If you respond to the request for information and the Electoral Registration Officer tells you that you are no longer eligible to vote in the elections listed above, you have 14 calendar days to request a hearing if you believe this is incorrect. If you do not request a hearing within 14 calendar days, you will not be able to object to the decision.

If you do not respond to the request for information about your eligibility or to any further requests for additional information which may be required, the Electoral Registration Officer will determine that you are no longer eligible. You will have no right of appeal or to a hearing. However, you will not be prevented from re-registering to vote in the future.

If you have received a letter or email but two people in your home have the same name

If you have received a letter or email as part of the review, but there are two people in your home with the same name, you need to contact your local council if you live in England or Wales, or the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland if you live in Northern Ireland, using the contact details provided in the letter or email.

If you’ve gained new citizenship or changed your nationality

If you have gained new citizenship or changed your nationality since you last registered to vote, you should let your local council know if you live in England or Wales, or the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland if you live in Northern Ireland.

The changes to your citizenship or nationality may affect your eligibility to vote in some elections and you might need to re-register to vote.

You can let your local council or the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland know by: