Britons living in France who have lost their right to vote due to being out of the UK for more than 15 years should start to think about how they will reclaim it.
Draft regulations about how they can re-register are expected to be laid before Parliament this autumn.
A spokesman for the government department responsible, Levelling Up, said this will give “sufficient time for Parliament to scrutinise them before they are made and come into force in January”.
Over three million voters eligible for next general election
A record 285,000 overseas voters were registered at the 2017 election, estimated then to be a fifth of those abroad who were eligible to vote.
It is thought those eligible will more than double to three million-plus for the general election in 2024 (or, at latest, January 2025).
How to prove eligibility
Overseas voters have until now fallen off registers if they failed to make an annual confirmation but this is rising to three years.
Formerly, people who were not registered when they left could not register from abroad but now anyone with evidence of having lived in a UK constituency will be able to register.
The regulations will confirm how the latter can be proved, but this should be simple for many people who maintained registration as overseas voters for 15 years.
They are likely to be still recorded in registers in council archives, which are typically kept for 15 years, unless they have been abroad for several decades.
In the latter case, as well as for people never registered in the UK, a 2022 policy paper says acceptable proof is likely to include a bank or credit card statement, a bank passbook showing a UK address, or, if you have nothing, a written attestation from another registered UK elector who is not a family member.
A 2016 paper gave examples including utility or council tax bills, an old driving licence, or correspondence with a government agency.
Overseas voters will also need to prove their identity, either with a UK National Insurance number or a document such as a UK passport.