Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Voter Registration

Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad

March 2014

How to Vote from Abroad

Voting is a constitutional right that American citizens eighteen years and older can freely exercise. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) covers all active-duty members of the Uniformed Services and their families, members of the merchant marine and their families, and US citizens who reside overseas, and assists them in exercising their right to vote.

Elections are managed individually by all 55 states and territories. This means that there are 55 sets of rules for absentee voting by UOCAVA citizens, but the basic steps are simple:

  1. Citizens register to vote and request an absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), and mailing it to their local election official in the state in which they are eligible to vote.
  2. The election official approves/disapproves the FPCA or requests additional information.
  3. If the FPCA is approved, the election official sends an absentee ballot to the citizen.
  4. The citizen votes and returns their ballot to their election official by their state’s deadline.

To Successfully Vote Absentee, UOCAVA Citizens Should

  • Allow plenty of time to request, receive, and return their ballot.
  • Notify their local election official each time their mailing address changes.
  • Become familiar with their state’s absentee voting laws, procedures, and deadlines to make sure their ballot is properly executed and will be counted.

The website of the Federal Voting Assistance Program provides UOCAVA citizens with the state-specific information they need to register to vote, and request and return their ballot, or to complete an emergency back-up write in ballot. If you wish to perform any of these tasks, go to and choose "Voters Start Here" or "Overseas Citizen Voter."

Voting in General and State 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 or the Overseas Vote Foundation website.  The Overseas Vote Foundation is a non-partisan voter advocacy organization.

Voting for candidates for federal offices does not affect your federal or state tax liability. Voting for candidates for state or local offices could affect your state income tax liability depending on the laws of your state. If you are concerned how your response may affect your state tax status, consult legal counsel, a U.S. tax advisor, or your state tax authorities.

Helpful Voting Tips:

Embassies and consulates are not polling places.  When abroad, you can only vote by absentee ballot.

Need help?  Have Questions?  Please contact the Voting Assistance Officers at the U.S. Consulate General in Marseille by sending an email to:

IMPORTANT NOTE: States are no longer required to automatically send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle.  Citizens who want to vote in U.S. elections from overseas should verify if their jurisdiction will automatically continue to send them absentee ballots or send in a new Federal Post Card Application in January of each year.

Adobe Reader

  • Download Free
    Download Free

    All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format.  To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  You may download a free version by clicking the link above.