Register to vote

Everyone is responsible for registering themselves to vote.

You only need to register to vote once, unless you change your address, name, or nationality. You do not need to re-register every time an election or referendum is held.

Make sure that you are registered to vote by the election or referendum deadline given on our official notices, poll cards or web pages.

The deadline is usually 12 working days before polling day.

Who can register

To register to vote, you must be:

  • aged 16 years or over (but you cannot vote until you turn 18).
  • a UK or Irish citizen.
  • a qualifying Commonwealth citizen living in the UK.
  • an EU citizen living in the UK.

You should contact your local elections office if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • You are a British Citizen living overseas.
  • You have no fixed address.
  • You are in the Armed Forces (or are the spouse or civil partner of someone who is).
  • You need to register to vote anonymously for safety reasons.

Registering to vote anonymously means your name and address will not appear on the public electoral register, but you can still vote. In order to register to vote anonymously, you need to complete the Electoral registration form for registering anonymously explaining why your safety (or that of someone in your household) would be at risk if your details were displayed on the Electoral Register and submit evidence to support your application.

Register

The easiest way to register is to visit the Government website on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The application takes roughly 5 minutes and will ask for your name, date of birth, nationality, national insurance number and a few other details.

If you cannot apply online, contact your local elections office by phone or email to request a paper application form or apply over the phone. Please ensure you have all the necessary details as listed above.

Change your details

You can also use the Register to Vote Service to:

  • update your name, address, or nationality on the electoral register
  • get on or off the open register. This is the version of the register available to anyone who wants to buy a copy

To do this, you need to register again with your new details (even if you are already registered to vote). If you cannot apply online, contact your local elections office to apply over the phone or request a paper application form.

Why register

Being on the electoral register can have a significant impact on your credit score as it is used in confirming your identity. It is strongly advisable that you re-register to vote every time you move address to ensure that your credit score is not negatively impacted. Being on the register can also aid you with proof of identity.

Not being on the electoral register means you cannot vote or have a say in important issues that could affect you.

Registering to vote is also a legal requirement, and if you do not respond to requests for information from us, you could be at risk of getting fined.

How long

The Electoral Register is published annually, usually on 1 December, then we update it at the beginning of each month (January to August). This is called rolling registration.

After you make an application, you will be notified in writing when your entry in the Electoral Register has been successfully added or updated:

  • it may take several weeks for your credit score to be updated by Credit Reference Agencies that receive Electoral Register data. Once registered, those that need their credit file updated more urgently should make individual enquiries with credit reference agencies using our confirmation letter
  • anyone registering to vote during the annual canvass period (usually between August and November) will be added to the new register which is usually published on 1 December
  • during the election period, in order to be able to vote, your application needs to be received no less than eleven working days before polling day.

Last updated 31 October 2023