Running electoral registration - England

Can a citizen from the European Union register to vote?

Can a citizen from the European Union register to vote?

Providing they meet with the age and residency requirements and that they are not legally incapable of voting citizens from member countries of the European Union are eligible to register to vote in local government elections if they are either: 

  • a qualifying EU citizen 
  • an EU citizen with retained rights 

Citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta are eligible to be registered to vote in respect of all elections in the UK.

Qualifying EU citizens 

A person is a qualifying EU citizen if they:1

  • are a citizen of a country with which the UK has bilateral Voting and Candidacy Rights (VCR) treaty
  • are resident in the UK with any form of permission  to stay, or do not require such permission  

Permission to enter or stay in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is also known as leave to enter or remain. 

Currently the UK holds bilateral treaties with the following countries:

  • Denmark 
  • Luxembourg 
  • Poland 
  • Portugal 
  • Spain

In this guidance we refer to these countries as the EU5. 

Citizens of EU countries with reciprocal voting treaties that cease to apply retain their voting rights. Their voting rights would only be affected if their country was also deleted from the list of countries in Schedule 6A of the Representation of the People Act 1983, through legislation in the UK Parliament.

EU citizens with retained rights 

A person is an EU citizen with retained rights if they:1

  • are a citizen of a country with which the UK does not have bilateral Voting and Candidacy Rights (VCR) treaty
  • have been legally resident in the UK since before the UK left the EU on 31/12/2020 (the Implementation Period Completion Date – IPCD)

The member states of the European Union which do not currently have a bilateral VCR treaty with the UK and are not also Commonwealth countries (or Ireland) are:
 

Countries
AustriaHungary
BelgiumItaly
BulgariaLatvia
CroatiaLithuania
Czech RepublicThe Netherlands
EstoniaRomania
FinlandSlovakia
FranceSlovenia
GermanySweden
Greece 

In this guidance we refer to these countries as the EU19. 

*Citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta are eligible to be registered to vote in respect of all elections in the UK.


 

Last updated: 5 July 2024