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Changes to Voting Rights for British Citizens Overseas

The 15 year limit on voting rights for British citizens living overseas has been removed as of the 16th January of this year allowing to register to vote in the UK, as overseas voters, no matter how long ago they left or were last registered to vote in the UK.

Any British citizen living abroad who has previously lived in, or been registered to vote in the UK, will 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. 

The registration period to vote will be extended from one year to three, meaning that overseas voters will only need to register to vote every three years, lasting until the 1st November in the third year after it takes effect (for example, if the declaration takes effect on the 1st March 2024, it will expire on the 1st November 2026). 

If you had previously lost the right to be registered due to the rule that cut off people after 15 years overseas you can re-register in an apparently quick online process. Applications must be verified, and electoral registration officers can ask for additional documentary evidence to confirm a connection with a previous address.

For full information about the online process, we recommend that you go to the UK Government’s dedicated site by clicking on this link : Voting if you move or live overseas 

This is a key Government policy which changes the franchise for British citizens overseas and is an important part of upholding democracy. This change has been long in coming as campaigns and legal challenges to this voting cut-off have been ongoing since 2009.

It is also a historic first : the UK has never allowed its citizens overseas ‘votes for life’. An estimated 5.5 million British citizens live permanently abroad, with estimates of the number living in France varying from 270,000 to 400,000.

The Association Committee