Voting Abroad / Overseas Voter FAQs

U.S. Vote Foundation's special Overseas Vote initiative is dedicated to serving overseas voters.

As an American citizen, participating in our democracy is a right you carry with you wherever you are in the world. Whether you are on vacation, living, working, or studying abroad, you have the right to vote. And voting while abroad is easier than you think!

Below you will find a small selection of overseas voter FAQs. We invite you to visit our Voter Help Desk to read the full library of FAQs available to you.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, feel free to submit a question! We’ll get back to you!

 

Who can vote?
  • U.S. citizens 18 years or older living outside the country can vote absentee for federal office candidates in primary and general elections.
     
  • Some states allow overseas citizens to vote for state and local office candidates and referendums.  
     
  • In some states, U.S. citizens born abroad are eligible to vote absentee even if they have never lived in the U.S.
     

For more information, about overseas voting, or to submit a question, visit our Voter Help Desk.

 

How do I register and request an overseas absentee ballot?

 

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Click on US Vote's Register to Vote / Ballot Request tab, or choose it from the Voter Services menu.
     
  2. Choose the overseas form option and enter your data through the guided wizard process.
     
  3. Enter your data, then download, print, and sign your form.
     
  4. Send your signed form to the local election office address provided in the instructions that come with the form.

    Or, check your state's Voting Materials Transmission Options to see if you can send your signed scanned form by email. (Notice the toggle to overseas voter options!)

For more information, about overseas voting, or to submit a question, visit our Voter Help Desk.

 

When should I request my overseas absentee ballot? Is there a deadline?
  • We encourage you to submit the overseas Registration/Ballot Request form and request an absentee ballot as soon as possible each year, even as the elections approach. Remember your request needs to be processed and your ballot needs to make a round trip - so, please act early to submit your request.
     
  • Deadlines vary by state. Check the Election Dates & Deadlines for overseas absentee ballot request deadlines in your state.
     
  • One single form (often call the "FPCA") will simultaneously register you to vote and request your overseas absentee ballot. This special form is for overseas and military absentee voters alike and is available to generate on our site.
     
  • Generate your registration/ballot request on the US Vote or Overseas Vote site. Print, sign, and send your form to the election office indicated in the instructions that come with your completed form.

For more information, about overseas voting, or to submit a question, visit our Voter Help Desk.

 

What can I expect after I submit the overseas Registration/Ballot Request form, and when should I receive my ballot?
  • After you complete and submit your overseas Registration/Ballot Request form to your local election office, you will receive a blank absentee ballot online or by mail, per your request.
     
  • If you requested your ballot to be delivered online, it will be available and sent to you as of 45 days prior to the election. You should be prepared to download and print the ballot. Please follow the instructions carefully. 
     
  • If you requested your ballot by postal mail, it will be available and sent by postal mail as of 45 days prior to the election. Be prepared to vote and return your ballot promptly, to allow time for postal delivery.
     
  • Be sure to take your ballot to the post office for correct postage and a postmark to show that you sent it back within the ballot return deadline.
     
  • You can check your ballot through your state's ballot tracking service. Check the US Vote Absentee Ballot Tracking chart for the link to your state's tracking tool.

For more information, about overseas voting, or to submit a question, visit our Voter Help Desk.

 

How do I return my absentee ballot?
  • Your absentee ballot will come with instructions. Please read the instructions closely.
     
  • To see your state's options for returning your overseas absentee ballot, check the Voter Materials Transmission options in US Vote's State Voter Information. Be sure to toggle to overseas voting!
     
  • Act fast. After receiving your blank absentee ballot by mail or electronically, fill it out as early as possible to make sure it arrives before your state’s overseas absentee ballot return deadline.
     
  • US Vote and Overseas Vote highly recommend that you take your ballot to the post office to have it clearly postmarked, and to make sure that the postage is accurate.
     
  • To avoid missing deadlines, make sure to check both primary and general election dates for your state.

For more information, about overseas voting, or to submit a question, visit our Voter Help Desk.

 

What if I registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot but have not yet received it?

If you have not received your requested ballot 30 days prior to an election:

For much more information about the FWAB emergency ballot, or to submit a question, please visit our Voter Help Desk.

 

I have another question. Where can I submit my question and receive a personal response?

The US Vote and Overseas Vote - Voter Help Desk is available to you around the clock and our team of trained professionals is ready to answer your voting questions.

There you can see many more FAQs on subjects that pertain to overseas voting, and you can submit to us your individual questions. We answer every question personally.

Please visit our Voter Help Desk to consult our knowledge base and to submit your voter questions.