How to vote in the UK general election as an expat

Political parties are unveiling their manifestos this week in a final push to try and convince voters to back them ahead of the general election.

Rishi Sunak detailed the Conservative policies before the media on Tuesday (June 11), following Lib Dem leader Ed Davey doing the same on Monday while Labour is set to do the same on Thursday.

With political debates also coming thick and fast, we are well into election season ahead of the vote to decide the future of the UK on July 4.

As we’ve already laid out, you can vote if you’re 18 or older and a British citizen, a British overseas voter, an Irish citizen, or a resident of a Commonwealth country.

You should soon receive a polling card if you are registered, although the deadline to register is June 18 to go in person and June 19 for a postal vote.

But if you are an expat there are other rules that apply; here is the lowdown.

Can I vote as an expat?

Yes, for the first time, expats who have lived abroad for more than 15 years will be eligible.

There is now no upper limit for how long you have lived abroad after a rule change in January.

Craig Westwood, of the Electoral Commission, said: “If you live abroad and want to have your say in the UK general election, you should register to vote now. It no longer matters how long you have been living outside the UK, if you are eligible, you can register and have your say at the ballot box.

“As an overseas voter you will have to prove your connection to the constituency you were last registered to vote, or where you lived if you have never been registered to vote before.

“We know that there are eligible voters all around the world, so we are calling on anyone with friends and family abroad to help spread the word, and let them know to register before the deadline.”

How can expats take part?

Brits living around the world can vote either by proxy or by post. You will need to apply for a proxy if it is within two weeks of the vote.

To do so, you need to register with your local authority by confirming your identity and your past connection to the area. For the latter, you can present proof of a former address or a property you still own in the UK.

Your registration lasts up to three years and you will be given a reminder when it comes to renewing.

There are no exemptions to this rule depending on where you live overseas.

Applications can be made online on the government website.