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Overseas Registration & Absent Voting

From 16 January 2024, the 15 year limit on voting rights for British citizens living overseas will be removed in accordance with changes implemented by the Elections Act 2022. 

Any British citizen living abroad who has previously lived in, or been registered to vote in the UK, will be entitled to register and have the right to vote at UK Parliamentary elections. These voters will be registered at the constituency where they were last registered to vote, or where they lived if they were not registered to vote before.

British citizens living abroad will also no longer have to register as an overseas voter every year. Instead, registrations will be valid for three years (counted by three 1 Novembers).

New applicants will need to use the government portal to complete their application to register to vote.

Existing overseas electors will be transitioned to the new three-year rule after their next declaration renewal (following commencement of the changes on 16 January 2024).

Please note that existing overseas electors cannot renew their declaration using the government portal, and any new applications received for existing electors will be rejected.

Overseas electors and absent voting

New and existing overseas electors are strongly encouraged to apply for an absent vote – you can now apply online for a postal vote or apply online for a proxy vote.

We would strongly recommend that new and existing overseas electors apply for a proxy vote over a postal vote wherever possible, as we cannot guarantee that a postal vote will reach you and be returned to us in time for your vote to be counted.

However, if you need a postal vote then please apply now and do not wait until an election is called. Our postal vote despatch dates are not changeable as our timeframes are defined by statutory election deadlines and external printer capacity, so it is important to register as a postal voter as soon as you can – this enables us to issue your postal pack as early as possible.

Changes for existing electors

EXISTING overseas elector that applied for a PROXY vote prior to 31 October 2023

Please note that you need to re-apply to vote by proxy before 31 January 2024 or your absent vote entitlement will expire. From 16 January 2024, you will also be required to refresh your proxy vote signature when you are next due to renew your overseas declaration.

EXISTING overseas elector that applied for a POSTAL vote prior to 16 January 2024

Please note that your postal vote entitlement will expire along with your overseas declaration if not renewed. You will need to re-apply for a postal vote online after renewing your declaration if you wish to continue voting by post.

Contact us - Electoral services

01235 422528
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

South Oxfordshire District Council
Abbey House
Abbey Close
OX14 3JE