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Elections Act changes

If you are a British or eligible Irish citizen living abroad who has previously lived in the UK or been registered to vote in the UK, you can register to vote in UK Parliamentary elections. 

A number of changes to voting from overseas now apply: 

  • You can register to vote if you previously lived in the UK but were not registered to vote. 
  • You can register to vote in the UK no matter how long ago you left or were last registered to vote.
  • Your overseas declaration is now valid for three years, lasting until 1 November in the third year after it takes effect (for example, if your declaration takes effect on 1 March 2024, it will expire on 1 November 2026).
  • You can now register online (not available in Northern Ireland). 

If you are an overseas voter who registered to vote before 16 January 2024, you need to renew your registration when your declaration expires. If you applied for a proxy vote before 31 October 2023, this will expire on 31 January 2024 and you will need to reapply for a proxy vote. 

If you have a long-term postal vote that you applied for before 31 October 2023, this will now expire on 31 January 2026. The electoral services team at your local council will contact you before your postal vote expires.

Find out more about the changes to voting if you live overseas

Checking you’re registered to vote

Checking you’re registered to vote

If you're not sure if you’re already registered to vote, contact the relevant body to find out. If your last UK address was in: 

Asking a trusted person to vote on your behalf

Asking a trusted person to vote on your behalf

If you won’t be in the UK on polling day, you can ask someone you trust to cast your vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote and the person casting your vote is often referred to as your proxy. 

If your proxy can’t get to the polling station, they can apply to vote on your behalf by post. This is called a postal proxy vote. If they are voting by post, they don’t need to live in the constituency where you last lived or were registered to vote.

Anonymous voters

Anonymous voters

If you think your name and address being on the electoral register could affect your safety, or the safety of someone in your household, you can register to vote anonymously. 

If you live overseas and would like to register to vote anonymously, you cannot apply online through GOV.uk and need to contact the relevant body to request this. 

You need to reapply to be registered anonymously every year, but only need to refresh your registration as an overseas voter every three years. 

Find out how to vote anonymously

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