Expat's Manual

If you are moving away from the UK, you will still be entitled to vote in elections. Provided you have been included on an electoral register within the past 15 years (reduced from a previous 20), you will still be entitled to cast your vote. If you remain away from the UK for any more than the 15 years, you will then automatically lose your right to vote in British elections. More information on this subject can be found through the Electoral Commission’s main website: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/

In recent years, the Electoral Commission has vastly improved the information that is available to UK expatriates. Prior to the recent changes, information was difficult to obtain and only a small minority of expatriates actually realized they were eligible and exercised their right to continue to vote in British elections. The Commission assures us that this lack of clarity has now ended and they make a determined effort to furnish expatriates with all of the information on how they may go about registering to vote in the UK, when living in another country.

With regards European elections, it is important to remember that you will only be permitted to vote in one country. If the member state where you now live has granted you the right to vote in these elections, you will not be entitled to cast a second vote in the UK. Safeguards are in place in an attempt to prevent this from happening.

Your right to vote in the nation that you have moved to will vary considerably from country to country. This will usually be dependent upon when you are considered to be a full citizen within that particular country. It is usually then that this entitlement is granted. Obviously, it will be a matter of verifying the relevant criteria for the applicable country involved.

During the run up to any British elections we regularly publish information related to the election process for expats who are living overseas. See our expat news section for more information.

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Our Expat's Manual is updated regularly so comments about the article may have already been addressed.

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