Running electoral registration - England

Can a Commonwealth citizen register to vote?

Can a Commonwealth citizen register to vote? 

Qualifying Commonwealth citizens are entitled to register as Parliamentary and as local government electors provided that on the relevant date they also fulfil the age and residence requirements for registration and are not subject to any other legal incapacity.1  

Citizens of Commonwealth countries other than the United Kingdom are not eligible to register as overseas electors.2  

Meaning of ‘qualifying Commonwealth citizen’3  

A person is a qualifying Commonwealth citizen if they do not require leave to enter or remain in the UK, or they do require leave to enter or remain in the UK but have been granted such leave, or are treated as having been granted such leave.

Any type of leave to enter or remain is acceptable, whether indefinite, time limited or conditional.

Commonwealth citizens temporarily in the UK and pending removal

The Home Office have advised that Commonwealth citizens who are temporarily in the UK pending removal, are not in the UK legally whilst arrangements for their removal are being made. As these citizens do not have leave to enter or remain they are not eligible to register to vote.

List of Commonwealth countries
Antigua and Barbuda Kenya Saint Lucia
Australia Kingdom of Eswatini Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The Bahamas Kiribati Samoa
Bangladesh Lesotho Seychelles
Barbados Malawi Sierra Leone
Belize Malaysia Singapore
Botswana Maldives** Solomon Islands
Brunei Darussalam Malta* South Africa
Cameroon Mauritius Sri Lanka
Canada Mozambique Tonga
Cyprus* Namibia Trinidad and Tobago
Dominica Nauru Tuvalu
Fiji New Zealand Uganda
Ghana Nigeria United Kingdom
The Gambia Pakistan United Republic of Tanzania
Grenada Papua New Guinea Vanuatu
Guyana Rwanda Zambia
India Saint Kitts and Nevis Zimbabwe
Jamaica    

*Although also EU member states, citizens of Cyprus and Malta are eligible to be registered to vote in respect of all elections held in the UK.
**The British Nationality (Maldives) Order 2021 came into force on 2nd June amending the British Nationality Act 1981, adding Maldives as a Commonwealth country. 

Citizens of Commonwealth countries that have been suspended from the Commonwealth retain their voting rights. Their voting rights would only be affected if their country was also deleted from the list of Commonwealth countries in the British Nationality Act 1981 through an Act of the UK Parliament.

Last updated: 2 August 2021