Under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), the right to vote can be exercised by United States citizens in every corner of the world. Generally, all U.S. citizens 18 years or older who are residing outside the United States during an election period are eligible to vote absentee in any election for Federal office (this includes Presidential elections and the elections of Senators and Representatives).
The official U.S. Government website for overseas absentee voting assistance is the Federal Voting Assistance Program, which offers extensive information about absentee voting, including on line versions of Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot Request form (FPCA) and Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots (FWAB), state-specific instructions, links to state and local officials and much more. This site is continually updated and has the most current information regarding deadlines and voting requirements for each state.
In addition, the Department of State’s website at Absentee Voting for U.S. Citizens Abroad provides updated information on absentee voting for Americans living abroad including:
- Absentee Voting Basics
- Registration/Absentee Ballot Request
- Receiving Your Blank Absentee Ballot
- Voting and Returning Your Ballot
- Using an Emergency Write-In Ballot
If you have any questions please contact our Voting Assistant Officer (VAO) at Votej@state.gov
Frequently Asked Questions about Voting (PDF 181 KB)
Overseas voter assistance is provided by the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
The procedures and deadlines to vote absentee vary from state to state. However, the same document – the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) – is accepted by all states and territories as an application for both registration and for an absentee ballot. The FPCA can be obtained at the Embassy or online at the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
When is the best time to apply for an absentee ballot?
To ensure you continue to receive absentee ballots during your time away from your voting residence, be sure to submit a new FPCA every January and each time you change your address and at least 90 days prior to the election you want to vote in.
Must I submit a separate application for each election?
Under federal law, the FPCA (standard form SF 76) registers you to vote and requests absentee ballots for a minimum of all federal elections in the current calendar year. To ensure you continue to receive absentee ballots during your time away from your voting residence, be sure to submit a new FPCA every January and each time you change your address and at least 90 days prior to the election you want to vote in.