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Can I vote?

In the UK you have to be a British citizen or an EU or Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK in order to vote in European parliamentary elections.

If you are a British citizen living abroad you can vote at general elections and European elections for up to 15 years after you have left the country.

As an EU citizen resident in the UK you are allowed to vote at local government, devolved legislature (i.e. Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly) and European parliamentary elections.

If you are a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth (including Malta and Cyprus, which are both Commonwealth countries and EU Member States) you can vote in all elections in the UK, provided of course you are resident in the UK.

If you hold any other nationality you are not eligible to vote in this country, even if you are a UK taxpayer and a long-term resident.

You have the right to vote from the age of 18 but you can register to vote from the age of 16.

The UK is divided into twelve electoral regions with between three and ten MEPs representing each region. The nine English regions elected 59 MEPs (with the West Midlands gaining an extra seat following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2011), Scotland elected six MEPs and Wales four MEPs. In Northern Ireland three MEPs were elected under its own system of proportional representation. Residents in Gibraltar vote in the South West Region.

Electoral regions and MEPs

How do I register to vote?

Most people living in the UK register between September and November every year when the local council sends a registration form to all homes. This is called the annual canvass. If you did not register in this way you can find out how to register at

If you have recently moved house or have just arrived in the UK you can also find out how to register at

The forms are available in many European and non-European languages.

The deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday 7th May.

In Northern Ireland there is no longer an annual canvass. Once you're registered, you need to update your registration details if you move home.

If you are a British citizen living abroad you can also register at  via the Overseas Voters section.

One more thing, if you are an EU citizen

As an EU citizen resident in the UK (except those with British, Irish, Maltese or Cypriot citizenship) wishing to vote in the European elections in the UK you obviously need to register to vote, as explained above.

But once you have done that you also need to fill in an additional form called the European Parliament voter registration form.

The purpose of this form is to get you to declare that you are going to vote in the European elections in the UK only, rather than in your home country. This is because you are not allowed to vote in the European elections in two countries.

Fortunately, if you are already registered to vote local councils should send you this form automatically so you should not need to do anything other than just fill it in when you get it.

If you have not received anything from your local council by the beginning of preceding month of the election you may wish to check that they do plan to send you the form.

Find the information about how to register to vote for EU citizens here: