6,000 Britons abroad register on first day as 15-year rule ends

All adult British citizens overseas now have ‘votes for life’ if they have ever lived in the UK

The overseas vote could reach record numbers in the next election
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More than 6,000 UK citizens overseas applied to be registered to vote on Tuesday January 16, the day on which the ‘15-year rule’ restriction came to an end.

The long-awaited change means that several million extra British citizens are now able to register in theory, having previously lost the right after being abroad for 15 years or more.

Read more: Historic victory as UK voter registration opens to all Britons abroad

The impressive first-day take-up bodes well for a record number of overseas voters in the next UK general election – expected this autumn – after a previous peak was reached in 2017 when there were 285,000 overseas Britons registered.

Yesterday’s total of 6,337 compares to only 3,231 applications in the rest of January combined, and 441 on January 15 which was itself the highest level seen in recent months (daily applications were mostly in double figures last year).

Up until now only Britons who had been abroad less than 15 years would have been applying to be registered.

Voter registration is online at gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The process can be completed in around ten minutes, and you should have to hand, if possible, your UK National Insurance number, passport and details of the address where you were last registered.

Other steps will be requested if you need to supply alternative ID or proof of having lived in the UK.

Once you have applied to be registered you will also be offered options to request a postal or proxy vote.

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