Voting if you live overseas

Changes to voting in UK Parliament elections for overseas electors commencing on Tuesday 16 January 2024

Do you have friends or family living abroad who are British citizens? They can now vote in UK Parliament elections, even if they’ve lived outside the UK for more than 15 years.

They will need to have previously lived or been registered to vote in the UK at some point in their life.

They can now also register to vote online, and their overseas declaration is valid for three years, lasting until 1 November in the third year after it takes effect.

These changes apply to:

  • UK Parliament general elections
  • by-elections
  • recall petitions

They do not apply to local elections.

What are the eligibility rules?

British citizens, which includes eligible Irish citizens and citizens of Crown Dependencies, may register as overseas voters if they are now living abroad, providing they:

  • were previously registered to vote in the UK, either before they left the UK or as an overseas voter; or
  • previously lived in the UK.

Overseas British citizens must apply to register as a voter using the address where they were last registered to vote in the UK or, if they have never been registered, the last address where they lived in the UK.

What if voters have been registered at more than one address in the past?

If they have been previously registered at more than one address, they should use the most recent address at which they were registered.

How do voters register?

Overseas voters can apply to register in the same way as any other voter. You can apply online at or by completing a paper form.

Why have the rules changed?

In 2022, the UK Parliament made several changes to the UK’s electoral system. These changes include the removal of the 15-year limit on the rights of eligible British citizens to vote in UK Parliament elections. For more information visit