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Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad
April 19, 2023

Starting the process

Registering to Vote absentee and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  States are no longer required to automatically send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle.   Start by registering or confirming you are registered with your state to vote.  Some states require absentee voters to register annually so you may need to re-register.  Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.

Overseas U.S. citizens can receive their blank ballots electronically.  Depending on the state in which you are eligible to vote, you may get your ballot by email, fax, or internet download. 

Once you confirm your registration, follow a few simple steps to vote in the U.S. Federal elections:

  • Request Your Ballot:  Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)Include all requested contact information, including your email address on the form so it is easier for your election officials to reach you if there is a problem.  If your state delivers ballots electronically by fax only, be sure to include your fax number.  The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted.  Most states now have voter registration verification websites, and many offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot. 
    • FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory.  FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA. Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available.  This is the fastest way for you to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.


  • Receive and Complete Your Ballot:  States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections.  Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.


For more information and guidance, please refer to www.FVAP.gov.  If you reside in Ireland and require forms or information, you may contact the U.S. Embassy in Dublin by email at votedublin@state.gov. 


Returning your ballot

Options for Returning Your FPCA or your Completed Ballot:  

FPCAs and ballots must be addressed to the appropriate county board of elections in the United States.  Check here to find your elections office: https://www.fvap.gov/search-offices. 

To ensure that your ballot or Federal Post Card Application reaches the United States as soon as possible, we advise you purchase an international stamp from your local post office and mail the ballot to the United States directly.  If you prefer to mail your election materials through the Embassy, it may take two months to arrive to its intended destination in the United States. 

Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot:  Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not.  If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or through the U.S. Embassy Dublin’s diplomatic pouch.

  1. Irish postal system:  This is the most direct method.  Place Irish International postage on your completed, signed, dated and sealed FPCA or voted ballot.  Make sure USA is indicated at the end of the address of your U.S. board of elections, and then just mail it from any Irish post office. 
  2. Fax, E-mail, or Internet:  Some states allow ballots to be submitted electronically.  Check the specific requirements of your state since some require you to still mail in the signed paper ballot. 
  3. Express courier service:  Voters can hire express courier companies such as UPS, DHL, and FedEx to return voted ballots.  Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before Election Day prior to payment and shipment. 
  4. Personal Drop Off at U.S. Embassy Dublin: If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.
    • The diplomatic pouch provides free mail service from embassies and consulates to a U.S. sorting facility.  You will need to place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes, or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities. A common mistake is only dropping off the ballot with the privacy sleeve and not the mailing envelope.
    • If using the diplomatic pouch, ballots can be dropped off to the American Citizens Services unit by mail or hand delivery to U.S. Embassy Dublin, 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.  Please note that all visitors to the Embassy are subject to security screening and you will not be permitted to bring electronic devices, including cell phones, inside the facility.  Please note that it can take up to two months for mail to reach its destination if sent by an embassy or consulate via diplomatic pouch.  All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots accordingly.

The U.S. Embassy staff is not able to provide specific guidance on candidates and political issues.  For information about election dates and deadlines, refer to www.FVAP.gov or subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov).  FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook, and Instagram.


Additional Information

Researching the Candidates and Issues:  Online Resources.  Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to aid your research of candidates and issues.  Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain on-line.  You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov).  FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook(@DODFVAP), Twitter(@FVAP), and Instagram(@fvapgov).

Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov.  If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Dublin’s Voting Assistance Officer at 01 668 877, or at votedublin@state.gov.