you are 16 or over (but you cannot vote until your 18th birthday)
you are a British or Commonwealth citizen
you are a citizen of the Irish Republic or another European Union (EU) country
You can also vote if you:
are a lodger or person staying at an address and have no other home
normally live at the address but are away temporarily
are in hospital, a student, or on holiday or working away for less than 6 months
You are eligible to vote in all elections in the UK if:
you are a British Citizen
a Commonwealth citizen
a citizen of the Irish Republic
Anyone who is not a British, Commonwealth, Irish or EU citizen* is not entitled to vote in any election in this country. Having leave to stay does not give anyone the right to vote, unless they qualify on grounds of nationality.
The Elections Act 2022 has made changes to which EU citizens are eligible to vote. These regulations are expected to go into effect after the May 2023 elections.
EU citizens living in the UK before the end of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Implementation Period (up until 1 January 2021) will keep their right to vote and stand in elections. EU citizens who arrived after 1 January 2021 will retain their rights only if an agreement has been negotiated with their home country, or if they hold Irish, Cypriot, or Maltese citizenship.
Information on British citizens voting abroad
As of January 2023, if you are a British citizen, you can register as an overseas elector for a period of fifteen years after the last year in which your name appeared in the electoral register as living in the UK.
You will then be entitled to vote at UK Parliamentary elections, but not local government elections, for the Mayor of London or to the Greater London Assembly.
Once an application has been approved, it must be renewed every year. The Electoral Services Office will send overseas electors a reminder for this purpose.
Please note that these regulations will soon change. The Elections Act 2022 has made changes to the rights of British citizens living abroad. It has removed the 15-year limit on voting rights for those citizens living abroad. It has also changed the registration period from every year to every 3 years. These changes are expected to go into effect August 2023.
Can British citizens living abroad vote?
British citizens living abroad can vote in UK Parliamentary elections but cannot vote in local elections or elections to devolved bodies such as the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales or Greater London Authority.
British citizens living abroad for more than 15 years are not eligible to register to vote in UK elections, though this is due to change soon.
What methods of voting are available?
If you are registered to vote as an overseas elector, you cannot vote in local elections or elections to devolved bodies (such as the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales or Greater London Authority). Overseas voters can opt to vote by post or proxy at other elections.
Postal votes are only sent out about a week before election day, so you will need to consider whether this gives you enough time to complete and return your form in time. It may be better to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf.