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Registering to vote

You need to register to be able to vote in UK elections. You can do this at any time by visiting GOV.UK and using their online registration service.

The deadline to register to vote is twelve working days before an election. There are however different rules as to who may vote at the different types of election.

Registering will require your:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number

If you are not registered, you may find it difficult to get credit, loans, a mortgage or bank account as the register is used by credit reference agencies.

 Special arrangements apply to:

  • overseas voters
  • HM Forces service voters
  • Crown Servants and British Council employees
  • someone with no fixed or permanent address
  • anonymously registered voters

For more information, see special categories.

The deadline to register to vote is twelve working days before an election. There are however different rules as to who may vote at the different types of election.

Electoral register updates

We update the electoral register monthly between December and September each year. For more information see our Electoral Services monthly alteration dates 2017-18 (PDF).

Useful links

Overseas voters

If you’re a British citizen living outside the United Kingdom for longer than six months of the year, you may be able to register as an overseas voter. To register, you must be a British citizen and meet one of two sets of conditions:

  • your name was previously on the electoral register for an address in the UK
  • there are less than 15 years between the qualification date of that register and the date you apply to register as an overseas elector

or

  • you have reached the age of 18 whilst living abroad
  • you were too young to register before you left the UK or a parent or guardian was on the electoral register for the address where you were living on that date

Registration lasts one year and we will write to you three months before your registration is due to expire. If your overseas address changes, you must email us.

Overseas voters can vote in elections for the UK Parliament and European Parliament but can’t vote in UK local elections, Mayoral elections or the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections.

HM Forces service voters

if you’re a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth or EU citizen and a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, or the spouse or registered civil partner of a member of the Armed Forces, you can register either as a service voter or an ordinary voter.

If you’re based overseas or think you may be in the next few years, you can register as a service voter. This allows you to be registered for five years at a fixed address in the UK even if you move around. We will write to you three months before your registration is due to expire.

Service voters can vote in the Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections in the UK.

Crown servants and British Council employees

If you or your spouse or civil partner are working outside the UK as a Crown Servant (such as in the diplomatic or overseas civil service) or as an employee of the British Council, you can register to vote in the UK. 

To register you need to give the address where you live when you are in the UK, or your last registered UK address. 

British and Irish citizens, and qualifying citizens of Commonwealth countries can vote at all elections. Citizens of other EU countries can vote in local government elections but can’t vote in UK parliamentary elections. 

Registration lasts one year, and we will write to you three months before your registration is due to expire.

Someone with no fixed or permanent address

You can still register to vote if you don’t have a fixed address. This could be because you:

  • are homeless or have no fixed address (including guardian of commercial properties)
  • have been remanded in custody, but not yet convicted of an offence
  • are a patient in a mental health hospital

To register, you need to give the address you would live at if not in your current situation or an address you have lived at in the past. If you are homeless, you can give details of where you spend most of your time.

You can request a form by emailing Electoral Services or calling 020 8379 8588.

Anonymous registration

If you think your personal safety or the safety of someone in your household could be at risk if your details appear on the electoral register, you may be able to register anonymously.

You will need to:

  • explain why you or someone in your household could be at risk if your name and address appeared on the electoral register
  • provide evidence of court order documents or an attestation from a qualifying officer to support your application

You can find information on qualifying officers in the forms at GOV.UK.

If you want us to send you a form, email Electoral services.

How to register

You can register to vote as a special category by visiting GOV.UK. For more information, visit Your Vote Matters.

How to vote

You can apply to vote by post or proxy (someone voting on your behalf). For more information visit our voting page.

To register to vote you must:

  • be resident in the electoral area
  • be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen, or citizen of a European country
  • be aged 18 or over, or turn 18 during the registration period
  • not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote

List of eligible countries

 Commonwealth countries
Antigua and Barbuda
Jamaica 
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Australia
Kenya
Samoa
The Bahamas
Kiribati
Seychelles
Bangladesh
Lesotho
Sierra Leone
Barbados
Malawi
Singapore
Belize
Malaysia
Solomon Islands
Botswana
Malta
South Africa
Brunei Darussalam
Mauritius
Sri Lanka
Cameroon
Mozambique
Swaziland
Canada
Namibia
United Republic of Tanzania
Cyprus
Nauru
Tonga
Dominica
New Zealand
Trinidad and Tobago
Fiji Islands
Nigeria
Tuvalu
The Gambia
Pakistan
Uganda
Ghana
Papua New Guinea
United Kingdom
Grenada
Rwanda
Vanuatu
Guyana
St Kitts and Nevis
Zambia
India
St Lucia
Zimbabwe

Citizens of Fiji and Zimbabwe retain their voting rights despite the countries having been suspended from the Commonwealth. Residents of Republic of Ireland should register as a commonwealth country.

British overseas territories 
 Anguilla
Gibraltar
Bermuda
Montserrat
British Antarctic Territory
Pitcairn Island
British Indian Ocean Territory
St Helena
British Virgin Islands
St Helena dependencies - Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha
Cayman Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Falkland Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands

Hong Kong is no longer a nationality. A person would either be Chinese (not eligible) or have a type of British passport and be eligible for registration.

 European Union member states
Austria
Germany
Poland
Belgium
Greece
Portugal
Bulgaria
Hungary
Romania
Croatia
Republic of Ireland
Slovakia
Cyprus
Italy
Slovenia
Czech Republic
Latvia
Spain
Denmark
Lithuania
Sweden
Estonia
Luxembourg
Sweden
Finland
Malta
United Kingdom
France
The Netherlands

Citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta are eligible to be registered to vote for all elections held in the UK.