On Monday 10 June 2024, the Electoral Commission, the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK, has announced that British national residents living overseas are eligible to vote in the UK general election on 4 July 2024.

They must, however, be registered to vote by the deadline of midnight Tuesday 18 June 2024.

The Electoral Commission is calling on voters to register now and apply for an absent vote if they will not be in the UK on polling day.

For the first time, British citizens living abroad are eligible to vote regardless of how long they have been living outside the UK. Applications can be made online at gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Since 16 January 2024, when the fifteen-year rule was abolished, there have been over 100,000 applications to register to vote by UK citizens living overseas.

Applicants will need to provide details of the address and time they were last registered or resident in the UK, the Electoral Commission noted. Electoral Registration Officers, who are responsible for the electoral roll in their area, must be able to verify an applicant’s identity and past connection to the area. 

Craig Westwood, Director of Communications, said: “If you live abroad and want to have your say in the UK general election on 4 July, 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,” he concluded.

Many overseas voters may also wish to apply for an absent vote if they will not be in the country on 4 July. Applications to vote by post or proxy in Great Britain can now also be made online. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is on Wednesday 19 June at 17:00 and to apply for a proxy vote is on 26 June at 17:00. Proxy voting - when someone you trust votes on your behalf - may be a preferred option for anyone living further afield who is concerned about how long it might take to receive and return a postal vote.

To find out if they are eligible to vote, British nationals abroad can call the local authority where they were last registered to vote, or where they last lived in the UK, to check. Details of local authority can be found on the Electoral Commission website by entering the postcode of the last place they lived in the UK, the Electoral Commission concluded.