U.S. citizens abroad can vote absentee. Make a difference. Vote!

Make a difference. Vote!

A quick guide: Voting for U.S. citizens abroad

  1. When you're overseas — even temporarily — federal law gives you special rights to ensure you're able to vote absentee.
  2. To be sure you always receive ballots for every election, you must file an absentee ballot request — called a "Federal Post Card Application" (FPCA) — every year. The FPCA also serves as a voter registration application.
  3. You always vote using your U.S. voting residence address — your last address in the U.S. before you left the country. It doesn't matter if you no longer have any ties to that place. Citizens who've never lived in the U.S. use their American parent's address for voting purposes.
  4. Your "U.S. voting residence address" determines where your ballot is counted. The election bureau there is your official contact for registration and voting.
  5. If you don't receive your ballot before an election, you can vote with the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). This is a special back-up ballot that's available to expatriate voters at all times. The Union always has ballots on hand for you!
  6. All U.S. citizens who'll be at least 18 on election day can register to vote and request ballots — even if you live overseas permanently, or have never voted or lived in the U.S. before.
  7. The Union of Overseas Voters offers voter registration and assistance, face-to-face, for every federal election. You can also get a registration application and ballot request online from the Federal Voting Assistance Program. You'll need to download, print, sign and send your form directly to your U.S. election bureau.
  8. The Union also provides voter registration and speakers for community groups, schools and businesses to inform you about voting procedures and your rights, as well as civics courses to help you understand the U.S. government. Know of a group or organization that might be interested? Please contact us.
  9. The Union of Overseas Voters is strictly non-partisan and is governed by U.S. citizens living abroad. Help promote civic engagement. Contact us to get involved!

Got a question about voter registration procedures from overseas? Not sure of your voting rights? Wonder about voting and U.S. taxes? Confused about determining your "voting residence address" in the United States? The voting assistants at the Union of Overseas Voters have over 40 years experience helping American expatriates vote. Let the Union help!