Voting eligibility expanded for former residents now living overseas

Published: 16 Jan 2024

Overseas Voting Changes

British citizens living abroad are now eligible to register to vote in UK general elections, regardless of how long they’ve been living outside the UK. A new law has removed the previous 15-year time limit.

Supporting the awareness raising campaign of the Electoral Commission, Horsham District Council is calling on residents to spread the word and to tell friends and family living abroad to check if they are eligible.

Those that have previously lived in or been registered to vote in the UK now have the right to vote in UK parliament elections. They can register online at and will need to confirm their personal information every three years.

Chief Executive Jane Eaton, Returning Officer at Horsham District Council said:

“This change means that more British citizens living abroad who previously lived in Horsham District may now be eligible to register to vote and vote in this area. If you know anyone who used to live locally and is now living abroad, please spread the word so they are aware of their rights.”

The government estimates this change may mean three million more British citizens could be eligible to vote.

Applicants will need to provide details of the address and time they were last registered or resident and the local authority must be able to verify an applicant’s identity and past connection to the area.

More information is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with a post code lookup tool that helps voters living overseas find the contact details for their local authority. Many voters living abroad choose to vote by post or proxy. Applications for absent votes can now also be done online.