Registering to vote

Frequently asked questions on registering to vote in the UK.

On this page you can find the answers to frequently asked questions about registering to vote in the UK.

If you've changed address and need to update your details on the electoral register, you will need to re-register at your new address.

In England, Scotland and Wales, you can do this online at gov.uk/register-to-vote.

In Northern Ireland, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website for more information.

To check the electoral register, you need to contact your local authority. They will be able to tell you if you are registered.

Find contact details for your local authority

We cannot tell you whether or not you are registered to vote.

It's not currently possible to check your registration status online. We have recommended that the UK government develop an online system that would allow voters to check whether they are already registered.

Some local authorities do provide a telephone registration service. You should contact your local registration office to find out.

Find contact details for your local authority

The only details that appear on the register are your name, address and a marker that determines which elections you can vote in. If you are under 18, the date of your 18th birthday will also be shown.

Registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as: detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service, checking credit applications.

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details.

Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. You can remove your details at any time by contacting your local electoral registration office. To find contact details for your local authority, enter your postcode below.

Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

In Scotland, details of 14 and 15 year olds will not be included in the open register.

Yes, you can register to vote anonymously for safety reasons – such as if you are escaping violence or have a job that puts you at risk from other people.

If you are registered anonymously, instead of your name and address appearing on the electoral register, a code will be added to the register instead.

To  register to vote anonymously you need to provide documentary evidence of a court order or an attestation from an authorised person to support your application.

Download a form to register to vote anonymously from gov.uk

The electoral register is updated each month. You need to contact the electoral registration officer in your area to find out exactly when your details will be added.

Find contact details for your local authority

In England, Scotland and Wales, to change your name on the electoral register you will need to complete a change of name form and return it to your local authority.

These forms are currently only available from your local authority so you will need to contact them to request a form in the post.

Find your local authority

Yes, when you move you need to re-register to your new address. If you have registered since you moved to your new home, you do not need to register again. If you have not, you need register to vote again.

When you register to your new address, your new local authority will make sure you're removed from the register at your old address.

If you want to register to vote in England, Scotland or Wales, you can register online any time at gov.uk/register-to-vote.

To register to vote in Northern Ireland, visit our Register to vote in Northern Ireland page.

If you change address, you will need to make a new application to vote by post or by proxy – your voting preference will not be carried forward to your new address.

If you have been denied credit because your bank or credit reference agency is unable to verify your details on the electoral register, this is because the electoral register is often used for credit referencing purposes to counteract fraud.

In this case, you need to contact your local electoral registration office for confirmation that you are registered.

Find contact details for your local authority.

They will be able to supply you with a letter confirming your details on the electoral register, possibly at a charge. Sometimes the records maintained by credit reference agencies are incorrect – they should be able to supply you with a copy of your record so that you can check the details.

If you have already provided confirmation that you are registered to your bank or credit reference agency, then any further problems will have to be taken up with them.

It is not possible to remove yourself from the electoral register at your address unless you move. When you re-register to your new address, your new local authority will ensure you are removed from the electoral register at your previous address.

You can remove yourself from the open register (the register that is available for general sale) at any time by contacting your local electoral registration office. In Scotland, details of 14 and 15 year olds will not be included in the open register.

Find contact details for your local authority

If you are at risk if your name appears on the electoral register, you may be able to register anonymously.

Students may be entitled to register at both their home address and their university address, but can only vote once to the same elected chamber or position.

If your home and uni addresses are in two different local authority areas, you can vote in local elections in both.

However, even if you are registered in two areas – at home and at uni – you can only vote in one at a general election.

It is a criminal offence to vote twice in a UK general election.

The final decision on a registration rests with the electoral registration officer that you are trying to register with. You should contact your local electoral registration office for further information.

Find contact details for your local authority

You can be registered to vote at two different addresses if you are resident at both addresses and spend an equal amount of time at each.

For example, students can be registered at their home and term time addresses. The final decision as to who is eligible to register at an address rests with the electoral registration officer for that area.

It is an offence to vote twice in the same election, such as at a general election. However, you can vote in elections at two separate local councils.

Finding a lost friend or relative on the electoral register could be difficult because electoral registration is carried out by the local electoral registration office for each area and there is no official centralised electoral register that can be searched.

The length of time local authorities maintain their registers for varies, but once they are released they are sent to the British Library. The General Register Office or the National Archives may also be able to assist you.

To view the electoral register in a particular area you should contact the relevant local authority.

Find your local authority

No, electoral registration is managed locally by the local electoral registration office for each area and there is no official centralised electoral register that can be searched online.

If you are trying to trace a friend or relative, see 'Can I find a lost friend or relative on the electoral register?'. If you would like to check if you are registered, contact your local electoral registration office.

Find contact details for your local electoral registration office