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 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 or Consulates by mail, as normal security screening may invalidate the item.

Special Elections

In addition to regularly scheduled primary and general elections, states also hold special elections when necessary to fill vacancies in elected positions.  You can visit to periodically to see the calendar of upcoming elections.  You can also follow FVAP’s social media sites on or subscribe to email updates from FVAP.
If You Have Questions About Voting 

Please contact the Voting Assistance Officer at the Embassy or Consulate General closest to you.