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7 June 2024

Who can vote in the 2024 UK General Election?

The upcoming election will be the first time many people in the UK will be able to vote. Find out if you are eligible in our blog.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Who can vote at a polling station?

Many people in the UK, both those who were born here, and those who have naturalised or more recently moved here, will now be able to take part in the 2024 General Election. 

There are some people who may not even be sure if they are eligible to vote or not, and so will be wanting to know who can vote. Depending on your situation, such as if you are in the and are from an EU country, have settlement status, are a citizen from a Commonwealth country, or any other situation, you may be unsure if you will be able to vote. 

Luckily, the process to register to vote is quite straightforward, and you can do it on the UK Government’s website. All you need to know is if you are eligible or not. We shall take you through the different types of statuses people may have in the UK, and if those statuses allow you to vote.

People who can vote

It is not just those over the age of 18 and born in the UK who can vote in the UK General Election, other people can vote as well, if they have an eligible status.

Those who can vote in the UK are:

  • UK or Irish citizens
  • EU citizens from qualifying countries
  • Commonwealth citizens from qualifying countries
  • People from British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies

Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories

Whilst people from Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories do not hold the main type of British citizenship, they do have a special status in UK law, and will find it very easy to get British citizenship if they want to.

British Overseas Territories

British Overseas Territories citizens are still resident in sovereign territory of the UK, so even though they do not form a part of the UK itself, they do essentially have British citizenship in a way, and so they can vote.

Also, those born after 21 May 2002 in British Overseas Territories automatically received British citizenship. Anyone who became a British Overseas Territories citizen after this date can apply for British citizenship. This essentially gave people in these territories the same rights as those from the mainland UK.

Full list of British Overseas Territories:

  • Anguilla
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn Island
  • St Helena and dependencies (Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha)
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Sovereign base areas on Cyprus (Akrotiri and Dhekelia)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

Crown Dependencies

All of the Crown Dependencies are islands located in the seas around the UK. This includes the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, and all of the Channel Islands, such as Jersey and Guernsey.

They are not sovereign states, but they are also not a part of the UK, nor are they even classed as overseas territories. Instead, they have their own special status, with them all having a very close relationship with the UK. The UK is also responsible for them, essentially looking after them on the world stage.

People from Crown Dependencies are also freely able to vote in UK elections if they are in the UK. They are classed as Commonwealth citizens for election purposes, but they can also register as overseas electors.

Hong Kong

Whilst it has not been a British territory since 1997, Hong Kongers still have some rules unique to them.

People who used to live in Hong Kong who hold either a British Overseas, British Nationals (Overseas), or British Overseas Territories passport can also register to vote.

Also, if you are in the UK on a British National Overseas (BNO) Visa, then you will be able to register to vote, as you will be classed as a British National (Overseas). 

Qualifying Commonwealth countries

Qualifying Commonwealth citizens are those who have leave to enter or remain in the UK. They can be from any Commonwealth country, as well as from the previously mentioned British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. 

A full list of qualifying Commonwealth countries includes:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • Fiji Islands
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kingdom of Eswatini
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent & The Grenadines
  • The Bahamas
  • The Gambia
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

If you arrived in the UK after 1 January 2021, then you will not be able to vote in UK elections unless an agreement has been put in place between the UK and your home country.

People who cannot vote

There are many situations that make it so people cannot vote in UK General Elections. However, people with certain statuses may still be able to vote in local elections. 

Also, depending on if you are in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, there will be different rules around which local elections you can and cannot vote in. However, UK General Election rules apply to all of the constituent countries of the UK.

As is commonly known, no one under the age of 18 can vote in the UK General Election. 

Those who are from countries that have not been previously listed cannot vote in UK General Elections.

Also, convicted prisoners carrying out their sentence cannot vote. 

Finally, this does not apply to many people in the UK, no one who is in the House of Lords is able to vote in elections.

What about other elections?

As we have previously mentioned, just because someone cannot vote in UK General Elections, it does not mean they cannot vote in other, smaller scale elections that take place in the UK. 

For example, all EU citizens can vote in local elections, such as those for a new police and crime commissioner in your local region. 

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have slightly different rules around who else can vote. For example, Scotland and Wales have the voting age set to 16, and both allow anyone legally resident to vote for the Scottish Parliament and Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament).

The House of Commons has a webpage with plenty of helpful information on who can vote in what types of elections, though it does not mention EU citizens being able to vote in the UK General Election.

How we can help

We cannot help you directly with registering to vote, but we can help with immigration matters that can ultimately lead to you being eligible to register. 

If you are in the UK and are interested in applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or want to naturalise as a British citizen, then we can help you. ILR is a requirement on your path to being able to apply for citizenship, so you should be aware of it.

You can book a free 10-minute assessment with our experienced law team, so they can see how we might be able to help you. If it is decided that we can help, then you can arrange a longer, paid consultation in which you will receive legal advice. You may even be able to go straight to a longer consultation if you enquire using our website form or chatbox to tell us your issue.

Get in touch with us today if you want our expert guidance on ILR or citizenship.

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions, or want to book an appointment with one of our legal experts, contact Woodcock Law today. Call us on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or email

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