Britons in France can vote in July 4 UK election - here is how

Registrations surge after election date announced

People walk to polling station in residential area in UK
Thousands of Britons abroad registered to vote after the announcement of the July 4 General Election
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The next UK General Election will take place on July 4, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced yesterday (May 22), prompting more than 7,000 British citizens abroad to register to vote on that day. We look at who is eligible for this and how to do it.

All British citizens abroad who have lived in the UK at some point in their lives now have the right to register to vote in general elections and referendums. 

There are estimated to be 3.5 million Bri­tons abroad – comparable numerically to 50 UK constituencies - who are eligible to vote. For the 2019 General Election, a total of 233,000 registered to vote, which declined to 105,000 in December 2021 due to registrations expiring.

However, since January, thousands of Britons abroad - who were previously ineligible to vote, have registered in droves.

This follows a change to an unpopular rule whereby Britons lost the right to be registered after 15 years overseas. The change, known as ‘votes for life’, has been effective since January 16, 2024.

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

It was hoped that this change would give British citizens abroad ample time to register to vote in the General Election, which was widely expected to come in autumn 2024.

However Mr Sunak has announced that the election will be on July 4 - leaving only six weeks to register and to vote.

Registrations skyrocketed following the announcement with 7,066 British citizens abroad registering to vote on May 22 compared to 169 on May 21.

Read more: What progress on overseas constituencies for Britons abroad? 

How can Britons overseas vote in the General Election?

To be able to vote, first you must be registered to vote.

If you have registered to vote within the past three years, you are still eligible. However, if you have not registered within three years, or have never registered you must apply.

You can do this online here on the official UK government website, which advises that the process “usually takes about 5 minutes”. However, this depends on having all of the necessary documents to hand.

You will need your UK National Insurance number (if you have lost this click here) or other ID, such as a scan of a current or expired UK passport.

There is a fallback option of an ‘attestation’ from a UK-regis­tered voter that you are who you say you are.

You also need to prove that you have formerly been registered to vote in a UK constituency, or have had a UK address at some point.

The Electoral Commission told The Connexion that for the children of British citizens abroad who have never lived long-term in the UK, a temporary address would be acceptable.

No minimum duration is required for this, however, the Electoral Commision said the burden of proof would ultimately be on the individual who might have to satisfy queries from the local authorities. 

If you were registered up to around 2009, it might still be easy for electoral registration officers to identify you. An old electoral roll document may suffice if not.

Otherwise, show a document with a UK address, date and your name. It is also possible to use an ‘attestor’ for this. For a full list of eligible documents see page 14 of the new legislation.

Read more: 3.5m Britons abroad urged to register to vote in UK elections 

Apply to vote once you are registered

Once you have registered you must apply for a vote at least 11 working days before the election. 

You can apply to vote:

What if I have no supporting documents?

If you have UK citizenship but have never been registered to vote in the UK and had no fixed or permanent address on the date you left the UK, you can apply via this form, which lets you explain why you do not have a National Insurance number, for instance.

Have your say on subjects that affect you

Aside from Brexit, many UK issues profoundly affect citizens living abroad, including the UK income threshold for British-French families, life certificates for UK pensions and cooperation with France and the EU over making visas and residence permits more accessible.

Do you plan to vote - if so tell us why it matters to you even now you live abroad? Also have your voting inclinations changed post Brexit or since moving abroad? Tell us about it via