Voting Rights for British Citizens Living in Austria

Question: I’m a British Citizen living in Austria, where can I vote?

Answer: There seems to be some confusion as to where British Citizens resident in Austria can vote. The table below provides a summary based on our latest understanding:

WhereYes/NoComments
UK General Elections and by-electionsYesSince 16th January 2024 every British Citizen living overseas has been able to register as an overseas voter (with some restrictions). You will need to have been registered previously in the UK at some point or your parent has.
UK ReferendumsMaybeIt depends on the register being used for the referendum.
UK Local ElectionsNoOverseas voters cannot currently vote in UK local elections
Stormont, the Senedd and Holyrood elections, in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.NoOverseas voters cannot currently vote in elections for the devolved administrations.
Arbeiterkammer ElectionsYesIf you are an employee you can vote in the Austrian Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer) elections. There are nine independent Arbeiterkammern, one in each province and elections are held every 5 years.
Betriebsrat ElectionsYesCompanies with more than 5 wage earning employees should set up a Works Council. Elections are held every 5 years. Members of the works council enjoy special protection against dismissal and redundancy.
Austrian National ElectionsNo 
Austrian Local Elections (Gemeinde)MaybeSome Gemeinde (e.g. Kottingbrunn, Sollenau) have been known to allow British Nationals to vote in Local Elections BUT it is discretionary
European Parliament ElectionsNoAs the UK is no longer an EU Member, British Citizens are not entitled to vote here.
Summary of where Brits in Austria can Vote

Important changes

For those living in Austria before 1st January 2021, there have been two important changes:

  • On 16th January 2024 the 15-year restriction on overseas voters in the UK was removed.
  • On 31st December 2020, the UK officially left the EU and so those British Citizens without dual Citizenship are no longer treated as EU Citizens in terms of voting. Voting rights are NOT covered by the Withdrawal AgreementWithdrawal Agreement The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.   If you are resident in Austria at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Austria.   Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations.   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration  .

Why should I vote in the UK?

Many generations have fought for the right to vote over the years and in some cases this right has been removed (e.g. EU voting). Here are some of the reasons why you should at least consider voting in the UK:

  • You may still have pension rights in the UK.
  • The UK Government determines foreign policy, which may in turn directly affect you (e.g. relationships with Austria, the EU and elsewhere in the World).
  • You have elderly relatives in the UK or other relatives who rely on the NHS & Social Care.
  • You like to visit the UK and swim in the sea, lakes and rivers.
  • Your children might like to study in the UK.
  • You are in a relationship with a non-British National and might want to move back one day (minimum income requirements are increasing).
  • UK government policy can affect you AND your children (e.g. Proposed UK National Service)
  • There may be a future referendum, similar to the Brexit referendum and all votes count!

UK Voting Options

Overseas voters have three voting options:

  • Postal Voting
  • Voting by Proxy
  • Voting in person

Postal Voting

All of the advice we have received indicates that there is insufficient time for postal voting packs to be sent out to overseas voters and returned in time to be counted. These packs cannot be prepared before all nominations have been closed (for the upcoming election that is 7th June 2024).

Proxy Voting

For proxy voting, you have several options:

  • Asking a friend or family member in the constituency where you were last resident to be your Proxy.
  • Approach the local constituency office of the party you want to vote for and ask them to provide a proxy for you. You can also contact the party HQ or their overseas representation.
  • Asking for a combined proxy and postal vote for a friend or family member living in the UK.

Voting in Person

If you vote in person, please remember that you will need to show an approved Photo ID and you may need proof of address (TBC)

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