You cannot vote in UK elections or referendums, if you are not registered to vote.
You may also experience difficulties when applying for a mortgage or other forms of credit, including opening bank accounts and applying for a mobile phone contract. Credit reference agencies use the electoral register when assessing a person’s credit worthiness. You only need to register if you are not already registered. If you have moved house since you last voted you must register at your new address - paying council tax does not mean you are registered to vote.
The electoral register is published on 1 December each year and is updated every month except for October and November.
You can register to vote at elections up to 12 working days before the polling day.
Who can register to vote?
- you're 18 years old (16 and 17 year olds can only register if they'll be 18 within the lifetime of the electoral register)
- you're a British, Irish, European Union or Commonwealth citizen
You can also use this service to inform us if:
update your name, address or other details on the electoral register
change your voting preferences (for example to vote by post)
change whether you're on the open register
Start the journey
More info about the journey
You’ll need your National Insurance number (if you have one)
If you are worried about your safety, this form contains a link to a separate process allowing you to register anonymously
You will be taken to the GOV.UK site where you can complete your application to vote in elections.
The information you provide will be compared, via a secure system, to the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) records to confirm your details are correct.
If your details match, you will be added on to the electoral register, (the date you will be added will be dependent on when your application is made).
If your details don't match (eg you may have moved house since your DWP records were last updated or may not have been included in the annual canvass) we will send you a letter informing you of this and to explain what you need to do.
You can also Register by post
Public servants posted overseas
There are separate registration services for public servants who are likely to be posted overseas:
- Crown servants (eg diplomatic service, overseas civil service)
- British Council employees
- armed forces
You can still register as a non-service voter if you’re in the armed forces and have a permanent home address in the UK.