EU Referendum

On this page you can find information about the upcoming EU Referendum.

The referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union is on Thursday 23 June 2016.


What is the referendum about?

A referendum asks you to vote on a question.

For this referendum the question is:

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?


Can I vote in the EU Referendum?

You can vote in this referendum if you are registered to vote in the UK, are 18 or over on 23 June 2016 and are:

  • A British or Irish citizen living in the UK, or
  • A Commonwealth citizen living in the UK who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK
  • A British citizen living overseas who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years
  • An Irish citizen living overseas who was born in Northern Ireland and who has been registered to vote in Northern Ireland in the last 15 years

Here is a full list of European Union countries, Commonwealth countries, British Overseas Territories and British Crown Dependencies (PDF)


How do I register to vote?

If you want to have your say at the EU Referendum, you must be registered to vote.

In England, Scotland or Wales, you can register to vote online anytime at gov.uk/register-to-vote.

If you are a British citizen living abroad, you can register to vote online in the same way.

In Northern Ireland, visit our Register to vote in Northern Ireland page to download a registration form.

If you are an Irish citizen living abroad who was born in Northern Ireland, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website to download the correct form.

EU Referendum public awareness registration image

Do I need to re-register to vote in the EU Referendum?

Anyone who was already registered to vote (or recently registered) before the 18 April deadline for the elections taking place across the UK on 5 May will also be registered to vote at the EU Referendum and will be able to cast their vote. You do not need to re-register.

If your circumstances change, for example you move home between now and the EU Referendum registration deadline on 7 June, then you will need to re-register at your new property.


How do I check if I'm registered to vote?

Every local authority holds the electoral register for their area. There is no online electoral roll.

If you are not sure whether you are registered to vote, you should contact your local electoral registration office. They will be able to let you know.

To find the contact details for your local electoral registration office, enter your postcode in the 'Your local area' section of our homepage.

If you are a British or Irish citizen (who was born in Northern Ireland) living abroad, you will need to contact the local electoral registration office for the address you were last registered at in the UK.


How do I vote?

Once you are registered to vote, there are three ways you can vote in the EU Referendum.

If you will be overseas on 23 June 2016, you need to apply to vote by post or proxy to have your say. If you don’t have a postal or proxy vote, you won’t be able to vote from overseas.

1. At your polling station in person

You will receive a poll card telling you where your polling station is. You will also be able to check how to find out where your polling station location is in the 'Your local area' section closer to the date of the referendum.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 23 June 2016.

2. By post

To apply to vote by post, you will need to complete a postal vote application form.

Download a postal application form (PDF)

Once you have completed and signed your application form, send it to your local electoral registration office to arrive by 5pm on 8 June 2016. To find the contact details for your local electoral registration office, enter your postcode in the 'Your local area' section of our homepage.

You will receive your ballot paper by post. A ballot paper can be sent overseas, but you need to think about whether you will have time to receive and return it so it arrives back by 10pm on 23 June 2016.

Overseas voters – Please note: There may not now be enough time for ballot papers to be posted out from the UK, completed and posted back again in time for your vote to be counted. If you are an overseas voter, you should consider voting by proxy instead.

Find out more about casting your vote by post

3. By proxy

Voting by proxy means allowing somebody you trust to vote on your behalf.

To apply to vote by proxy, you will need to complete a proxy vote application form.

Click here to find the correct proxy application form for you

Once you have completed and signed your application form, send it to your local electoral registration office to arrive by 5pm on 15 June 2016. To find the contact details for your local electoral registration office, enter your postcode in the 'Your local area' section of our homepage.

When you apply for a proxy vote you will need to state why you cannot vote in person. Your proxy must be registered to vote and eligible to vote in the referendum. Your proxy will vote on your behalf so you will need to tell them how you want to vote.

Find out more about casting your vote by proxy


Northern Ireland

If you are going to vote in person at your polling station on 23 June 2016, don't forget to bring a correct form of photo ID. Without it you won't be able to vote.

Find out what is a correct form of photo ID

To apply to vote by post or proxy, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website to download the correct form.

The deadline to apply for a postal or proxy vote for the EU Referendum is 5pm on 3 June 2016.

If you would like to apply to vote by post or proxy, you must have a reason for doing so.


More information

You can find more information about the EU Referendum and how to have your say on our EU Referendum microsite.