Overseas electors

Register as an overseas voter (UK citizen living abroad)

If you are a British citizen living abroad, you can apply to be an overseas voter.

On Tuesday 16 January 2024, the 15-year limit on British citizens living abroad ended. Rules on eligibility to vote in the UK changed at the same time.

British citizens (including eligible Irish citizens and citizens of Crown Dependencies) can register as overseas voters if they are now living abroad, as long as they were:

  • previously registered to vote in the UK, either before they left the UK or as an overseas voter
  • previously resident in the UK, but not registered or were too young to register when they left the UK
  • last registered on the basis of a declaration of local connection, as a merchant seaman or as a service voter
  • a person of no fixed abode when they left the UK and would have been eligible to make a declaration of local connection or who left the UK before 2001

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 were never registered, the last address at which they were resident in the UK.

Overseas voters need to provide a renewal declaration every three years once registered.

Elections in which overseas voters can vote

Overseas voters, are only eligible to vote in UK Parliamentary Elections and Referendums.

The next UK Parliamentary Election must take place by January 2025.

To find out more about overseas voter registration visit: Electoral Commission - Register as an Overseas voters.

Register to vote online

To register to vote, go to: Register to vote - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Important Information for overseas voters

Overseas voters must apply to vote by post, or to apply by proxy (someone to vote on their behalf) unless they intend to return home to vote in person.

Postal vote

If you apply to vote by post, we will do everything we can to ensure that your vote reaches you in time. This includes prioritising the dispatch of overseas postal packs.

Postal vote packs cannot be sent until the details of the candidates are known. There is a strict legal timescale between the close of candidate nominations and the date of the election. Some overseas electors may not be able to return their completed packs by the deadline. The deadline is at the close of poll, which is 10pm on election day.

The legislative process does not allow us to email postal vote packs. There is no online voting facility for UK elections.

To make sure your vote counts, please consider applying for a postal vote.

To vote by proxy, you nominate someone in the UK who you trust to cast a vote on your behalf. They ideally need to be able to attend the polling location for your claim address. Contact us to find out where your polling station will be, or visit Find your polling station | Where Do I Vote?

If you still wish to vote by post, the application can be made online.

You will need to give your National Insurance Number when you apply. You will also need to upload a photo of your handwritten signature in black ink on plain white paper.

Proxy Vote - Please consider this option due to tight statutory timescales

If you register to vote by proxy, your proxy must be a registered UK voter and eligible to vote in UK general elections. Your proxy would be eligible to vote on your behalf at the polling station connected to your UK claim address.

If your proxy lives in the Wakefield area, but cannot attend your polling station, they can apply to vote by postal proxy. Voting by Postal Proxy means they will receive a postal pack to vote on your behalf.

If they live outside the Wakefield District, we will send them an application to vote by postal proxy.

For more information on how to apply for a proxy vote and to make the application, please visit: Apply for a proxy vote - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Please note, you will need your National Insurance Number to apply. You must seek permission from your nominated proxy before you apply.

Elections registration and absent voting deadlines

There is no confirmed date for the next general election. Please note the statutory deadlines for an election:

  1. Deadline for registering to vote is 12 working days before an election
  2. Deadline for postal and postal proxy vote applications is 11 working days before an election
  3. Deadline for proxy vote applications is 6 days before an election

For more information on overseas registration, please visit: Voting if you move or live abroad - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

No longer live abroad?

If registered as an overseas elector, and you no longer live abroad, you can register as an ordinary UK elector:

Register to vote - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Elections for local councillors and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Mayor take place on Thursday, 2 May 2024. You may be eligible to vote if you have returned to the UK to live.

If you are no longer an overseas elector, please email elections@wakefield.gov.uk and we will remove your details.

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