Voting is a right for every U.S. citizen, including those overseas. You must request a ballot for every election in which you want to participate. This includes federal and state primaries, local elections, and general elections.
You can register to vote for federal election via the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, www.FVAP.gov. For the state and local deadline and website, click here (PDF 190 KB). This application is accepted by all local election officials for federal election registration, and allows you to request ballots for federal elections throughout the year. The FPCA must be filled out every year in order to vote within that year. The Federal Voting Assistance Program website will guide you in filling out your application. Once completed, applications may be submitted either electronically or by mail. To send by mail, please enclose your application in a stamped, sealed, and addressed envelope and drop it off at the embassy any Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday between the hours of 2:00 and 4:30 p.m., and the State Department will take care of the rest.
State and Local Elections
A list of individual state registration information and instruction pages for overseas citizens of every state is available www.FVAP.gov.
Each state has its own procedures to register and request an absentee ballot. While many states will send you a ballot via email if the request is made at least 45 days before the election, state requirements and procedures vary significantly. While many states allow for electronic submissions, if your state requires or allows you to send the registration by mail, you may enclose your application in a stamped, sealed, and addressed envelope and drop it off at the embassy any Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday between the hours of 2:00 and 4:30 p.m. and the State Department will return it to the United States via diplomatic pouch.
The Consular Section is available to answer any questions you have and to get your ballot back to your home county safely and quickly.
- Register to vote for federal elections via FVAP or federal and local elections via your local election official.
- Request a ballot to vote, preferably two months before the election.
- When you receive your ballot, vote!
- Return your ballot either electronically or by mail. To return it by mail, put it in a stamped, sealed, and addressed envelope and bring it to the consular section on a Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday between 2:00 and 4:30 pm at least ten days before the election because certain states require the ballot arrive at the clerk’s office prior to election day.
- The embassy forwards your ballot through diplomatic pouch to the post office, which delivers it to your county clerk.
Educate yourself about the elections before you vote, and if you have any questions, we are more than happy to help you. Much more detailed information regarding overseas voting can be found at travel.state.gov.