When the UK goes to the voting booths on Thursday June 23rd 2016, it won’t be to pick a new Prime Minister but to decide whether we stay in or leave the European Union.

If you’re one of the five million Brits who live abroad, you could be eligible to vote. Initially, if you haven’t already you’ll need to register to vote. There are certain restrictions around registration.

British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years are not eligible to register to vote in UK elections. To work out whether you fit into this category, the 15-year-old rule begins from the last day that you were on the electoral register in the UK. You’ll need to contact the last local authority you were registered with in the UK. You can find their contact details here.

Those that were too young to vote before they left the UK can also register. There are also rules around British Citizenship within families. See here for more information.

If you want to register to vote in England, Scotland or Wales as an overseas voter for the EU referendum, register here.  To vote in Northern Ireland, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland Website and download the correct form.

The deadline for registration in the EU Referendum is by Monday 16th May.

If you are eligible to vote and are already registered, living miles from the UK will mean you won’t be able to visit the actual voting booths. Overseas voters have two options when casting their votes:

– Voting by Post: In England, Scotland and Wales, individual voters will be entitled to apply by post to vote. First check with your local electoral registration office that you are correctly registered. Once registered you’ll need to fill in an application form, print the replies, sign and date and send back to the registration office. There are strict deadlines for registration and if you apply too late, you won’t be allowed to vote. Check here for deadlines.

Postal ballot papers will be sent to all eligible overseas voters that are registered to vote by post in time for the first dispatch; between 23 and 27 May. Those that apply to register at a later date will be sent ballot papers after their registration is confirmed.

Your ballot paper must arrive back by 10pm on 23 June 2016 to be counted in the EU referendum.

If you live abroad it’s worth considering the time delay in getting the ballot papers back to make them count. If it looks like you’re likely to miss the 10pm deadline on the day of – voting, it may be worth thinking about the following:

– Voting by Proxy: This means that you can nominate someone to vote on your behalf. The rules around this changed last year so make sure you have the most up-to-date details. You will also need to fill in a proxy vote application form.  You can nominate anyone who is individually registered to vote on your behalf, however you will be required to give a reason for the nomination.

– One of the eligible routes is that you are a citizen living abroad.

There is a deadline for voting by proxy, which is normally 5pm, 6 working days before an election, but check these details closer to the time.

Visit the AboutMyVote.co.uk for all the essential details.

If you are thinking about moving abroad, PSS International Removals can help. For more information about PSS International Removals and our services contact us now at https://www.pssremovals.com

PSS International Removals is a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receive a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 33 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance in ensuring that our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.