How do I Register to Vote?
If you want to vote in elections and referendums, you must be registered to vote.
You only need to register once – you do not need to register separately for every election, but you must register again if you’ve changed address, name or nationality.
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales you can register to vote if you are 17 years old (and in some cases if you are 16). However, you can only vote when you become 18. In Scotland and Wales you can register to vote if you are 14 years old. You can vote in local elections and elections to the Scottish Parliament when you are 16 and elections to the UK and European Parliaments when you are 18.
You qualify to register to vote if you are:
- a UK or Irish citizen
- a qualifying Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK
- an EU citizen resident in the UK
- A qualifying Commonwealth citizen is someone who has leave to enter or remain in the UK, or does not require such leave. The definition of a ‘Commonwealth’ citizen includes citizens of British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.
Source: Your Vote Matters
What you’ll need:
- Your basic details (name, address, date of birth)
- Your national insurance number
- An internet connection, and five minutes of your time
Registering to Vote - Frequently Asked Questions:
You can usually find this on documents you submit to employers or universities, it might be on your payslip from work, it’s 9 digits long and starts with two letters, followed by six numbers and one letter e.g. AB123456C.
Otherwise, you can request a letter reminding you via the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/lost-national-insurance-number
This is because in Scottish Local Elections you are able to vote when you are 16, in General Elections however Scottish people have to wait until they are 18. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland you can only vote in elections of all types when you are 18.
Voting by post is a way of voting that you can use if you are unable to get to the polling station. So, this method of voting means that you can cast your vote in your home constituency while living away at university.
If you think you’ll be away on election day, do opt in for a postal vote. If you’re not sure, you’ll usually have time to request one later if you don’t at this stage.
Yes, if you live between two addresses (i.e. because your parents are separated, or you go to university away from the family home), you can register to vote at both addresses.
It is up to you if you’d like to not have your details on the open register, the open register is like a publicly available copy of the electoral register, which can be used by companies and charities to confirm your address.
From 4 May 2023, voters in England will need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections.
This will apply to:
- Local elections
- Police and Crime Commissioner elections
- UK parliamentary by-elections
- Recall petitions
From October 2023 it will also apply to UK General elections.
If you don’t have accepted photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate.
Find out more about accepted forms of photo ID, how to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, and what to expect on polling day.