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Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad

Almost all U.S. citizens 18 years or older who reside outside the United States are eligible to vote absentee for candidates for federal offices in U.S. primary and general elections. Some states allow overseas citizens to vote for candidates for state and local offices, as well as for state and local referendums. For information regarding your specific state, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Voting Assistance Guide.

Get in the Habit of Registering in January

States are no longer required to automatically send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle. Everyone who wants to vote in U.S. elections from overseas should send in a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to their county election office in January of each year.  

We recommend overseas U.S. citizens get in the habit of completing FPCAs every year. You should include your email address on the form so it’s easier for your election officials to reach you if there is a problem. If you request electronic delivery and include your email address or fax number, you’ll receive your blank ballot 45 days before general and mid-term elections and generally 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices. Most states now have voter registration verification websites, and many offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot.

Options for Returning Your Ballot Requests and Ballots

Many states now allow electronic ballot requests as well as electronic ballot return.  If you prefer to use the mail or are required by your state, you may drop off your ballot/ballot request at the Embassy or Consulate for delivery to your local U.S. election officials. Generally, you should do so at least one month before the receipt deadline (see FVAP.gov) to ensure timely delivery.  Please follow the instructions provided by your local U.S. elections official and enclose all items in an envelope addressed to your local elections official and with the postage prepaid markings.  Do not send any voting materials to the Embassy by mail, as normal security screening may invalidate the item.

Questions About Voting

You can get online or phone assistance from our Embassy and Consulate Voting Assistance Officers:

For in-person services, you may ask for American Citizen Services at the Embassy. An appointment is not necessary. Contact Consulates in Marseilles and Strasbourg for an appointment for assistance.

You can also contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program directly by emailing Vote@FVAP.gov or 0800-917-304 (phone)/ 0800-916-557 (fax).

Embassies and consulates are not polling places. Same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States.