Voting from abroad: An easy guide for American expats to vote from abroad

U.S. citizens over 18 have the right to vote in U.S elections no matter where in the world they are. Studying abroad? Backpacking through Europe? Moving overseas for work or love? You can vote via absentee ballot!

The Center for U.S. Voters Abroad, an independent nonprofit, is here to help!

Let’s get started.

How to Vote from Abroad

Step 1: Register to vote by filling out the FPCA

To vote in US elections, you must first register. For voters abroad, this means filling out a form called the FPCA. It takes about 5-7 minutes and the Center for U.S. Voters Abroad will help you.

Depending on your state, you may be able to do this online or by fax. Other states require that you print and mail in your physical registration form. For voters abroad, we recommend registering as early as possible in the calendar year, and by August 1st at the latest.


Step 2: Receive your ballot and vote!

Once your registration form is approved by a local election official, they are required by law to send you a ballot 45 days before the next federal election, either by email or mail. If you’re eligible to vote in any state or local elections, you’ll receive your ballot 45 days before those elections too.

For the next general election on November 5, 2024, your ballot should arrive in early October. This ballot will include choices for president, vice president, Senate, and the House of Representatives.


The federal government recommends overseas Americans vote by October 24.  However, we recommend voting and returning your ballot as soon as you receive it, just in case there are any issues.

Questions? Reach out to our help desk and we can walk you through the steps!

Already registered to vote from abroad?

The Center for U.S. Voters Abroad also offers a program where we’ll pay you to talk to your friends, family, and coworkers about voting from abroad.

David Tompkins
Author: David Tompkins