We use cookies to provide vital functionality. For more information, please see our cookie policy.

Manage cookie preferences

Last updated: 28 May 2024

This guidance is produced for homelessness services, so they support people without a permanent address to register to vote. A downloadable version is available at the foot of the page.

The General Election has been called for Thursday July 4th, 2024. It will be crucial moment to choose leaders who will prioritise ending homelessness. To take part in the election people must be registered to vote. Registration closes on Tuesday 18th June. But this guidance also applies for all other elections, with different final dates.

Can someone register to vote if they don’t have a fixed or permanent address?

Yes. Anyone eligible can register to vote even if they don't have a fixed or permanent address. This guidance explains how. (Please note, this guidance applies In England only. There are different processes elsewhere in the UK.)

Someone might not have a fixed or permanent address be because they are:

  • homeless or don’t have a fixed address
  • a patient in a mental health hospital
  • a person who has been remanded in custody, but not yet been convicted of an offence.

Who Is allowed to register to vote?

Someone can register to vote if they are resident (usually live) in England and are aged 16 or over (but they will not be able to vote until they are 18).

They must also be one of the following:

  • British citizen
  • Irish citizen
  • Commonwealth citizen (including Maltese and Cypriot) who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, or who does not need permission

Note that the following nationalities are also allowed to register but will not be eligible to vote in the UK General Election:

  • European Union (EU) citizen of Denmark, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, or Spain who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, or who does not need permission (you can vote in local council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and Mayor of London and London Assembly elections only)
  • European Union (EU) citizen of any other EU country who on or before 31 December 2020 had permission to enter or stay in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, or who did not need permission, and this has continued without a break (you can vote in local council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and Mayor of London and London Assembly elections only).

How does someone without a fixed or permanent address register to vote?

To register, they need to give an address where they would be living if it were not for their current situation, or an address where they have lived in the past. If someone is homeless, they can give details of where they spend a substantial part of their time. This could be a shelter, or any place where they sleep or spend a large part of their day.

They need to fill in this form on the Government website.

They will need to give their full name, and ideally their date of birth, nationality and national insurance number – but this isn’t essential

What happens after someone has filled in the form?

They will need to print it off and sign it and deliver or post it to their local electoral registration officer at the council. All the relevant addresses can be found here: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter

Why should someone register to vote?

In the UK everyone is entitled to vote. It is their chance to decide who makes policies which will affect them. Traditionally people who don’t have a permanent place to live are less likely to vote so their views are not reflected by the government.

What can homelessness services do to help with voter registration?

Homeless Link encourages all services to ensure that their clients and residents are registered to vote. Every vote counts, but someone cannot vote if they are not registered. The form has to be accessed through a computer and then printed off. It will need to be sent to the local Registration Office, and services may need to help those they support to do with this. Tuesday 18th June is the deadline for submission of registration forms in order to vote in the July 4th General Election.

What happens next?

Once someone has registered to vote they should be able to vote in the general election. The local election office will send a card to their nominated address telling them where their designated polling station is.

Anyone registered to vote can vote in person on the day (Thursday 4th July) at their designated polling station, between 7am and 10pm. An accepted form of photo ID is required to vote in person. Anyone who doesn’t have valid photo ID will need to apply for a free “Voter Authority Certificate”. The deadline for applying for this in time for the upcoming General Election is Wednesday 26th June. See our separate guide

Alternatively, during the voter registration process the person registering vote can stipulate that they would like to vote by post or proxy, instead of “in person”. Anyone opting to vote by post will be sent a form to complete – or they can complete this online at www.gov.uk/vote-uk-election. The deadline for postal vote applications is June 19. A postal vote pack will be sent to the voter that includes the ballot paper(s), envelopes and a declaration form, which can either be returned by post in time to be counted on election day or handed in to the designated polling station on polling day. There is no need to show ID to vote by post.

Anyone unable to vote in person, due to illness or disability for example, and would like to nominate someone to vote on their behalf, can apply for a proxy vote when registering to vote. Proxy voting can be applied for here and the deadline for applications is 26th June.

Talk To Us


Viv Griffiths

National Practice Development Project Manager