Registering to vote

If you are not already on the electoral register, you can register to vote in local, national and European elections as well as referendums if you are:

  • 16 or older (although you can not vote until you are 18 years old);
  • a British citizen;
  • an Irish, eligible commonwealth or European Union citizen living in the UK.

Please see the guidance below for different types of registration.

You may be able to register anonymously if you are concerned about your name and address appearing on the electoral register because you think that it could affect your personal security.

You will need to:

  • explain why your safety (or the safety of someone in the same household as you) would be at risk if your name and address appeared on the electoral register, and
  • provide documentary evidence of a court order or an attestation from an authorised person to support your application.

How it works

If you’re registered anonymously, your name and address will not appear on the electoral register, and you won’t be included on any registration forms sent to your address.

A code will be added to the end of the section of the register for your polling district and the Electoral Registration Officer will contact you separately and in such a way as to not reveal that you are registered anonymously.

An anonymous registration application is valid for one year (from the date you are added to the electoral register as an anonymous elector). A renewal registration form will be sent to you by, and can be renewed for another 12 month period. Renewals must contain the same level of evidence as the original application.


You can register to vote as an overseas elector if you live permanently (more than six months a year) abroad. You should register with the local authority where you were last registered as an elector in the UK, within the last 15 years.

You may apply for a postal vote to be sent to your address abroad or appoint a proxy. Postal votes are sent out a week to 10 days before election, so please take this into account. The alternative is to appoint a family member or friend to be your proxy, and vote on your behalf. The overseas declarations must be renewed each year.

Crown servant

If you’re working outside the UK as a crown servant or an employee of the British Council, you can still register to vote. You can also register if you’re married to a crown servant or British Council employee, and are accompanying them during their employment abroad.

You may also vote by post or proxy.



If you or your spouse is a member of the forces you can register as a service voter. These declarations are valid for five years, and we’ll write to you at your service address to remind you to renew your application. Alternatively, you can register on the household form which is sent to every property in the district yearly.

The advantage of registering as a service voter is that you can appoint a proxy without having to get your application signed by your employer.



If you’re unable to register at a particular address because you’re either a patient in a mental hospital, a person remanded in custody, or homeless with no fixed residence, then you are entitled to register as an elector by making a declaration of local connection.

Declarations of local connection can be made at any time throughout the year, and must include details of where you would be living if you were not detained or a patient, or a place where you have resided in the past.  If you’re homeless, you must give details of where you commonly spend a substantial part of your time.

If you’re residing in a mental hospital or are in custody, you can only vote by post or proxy.


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