Voting FAQs

U.S. Citizens must register and request an absentee ballot to be able to vote.

You must submit a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) every year.

Use the following online wizard to complete and print the FPCA, which will have to be sent to voting officials in your home state later.

Voting registration deadlines vary by state.  Check your state’s deadline here.

For earliest ballot delivery, request the ballot be sent over email on your FPCA.

First-time voters may need to submit a signed paper Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).

Many states allow registered voters to submit their FPCAs via fax or email.

Check your state regulations here

You can send your FPCA to the U.S. using a postage-paid envelope through our American Citizen Services Section.  Please print it out before coming to the Embassy.

States send out ballots 45 days before Election Day.

Voters who submit their Federal Post Card Applications (FPCA) late or request their ballots by regular mail risk late ballot delivery.

Request email delivery to avoid any delays.

If you have requested an absentee ballot from your State by submitting a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), but have not received it, you can also vote by using the backup Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You may submit the FWAB at any time after you submit your FPCA.

In order to be eligible to use this backup ballot, you must:

  • Be absent from your voting residence;
  • Have applied for a regular ballot early enough so the request is received by the appropriate local election official not later than the State deadline; or the date that is 30 days before the general election; AND
  • Have not received the requested regular absentee ballot from the State.

If you have not received your ballot one month before the election:

  • Go to and see what online ballot delivery tools are available for your state.
  • Use the FWAB assistant available at to complete a backup ballot and submit it to your local election official. If you cannot access, you can obtain a hardcopy of the form from your Voting Assistance Officer at militaryinstallations or at U.S. embassies/consulates.
  • Contact your local election official to determine the status of your ballot. Contact information is available at
  • When you receive your regular absetntee ballot, complete it and return it regardless of when you receive it. Your local election official will ensure that only one of the ballots is counted.

All FWABs must be completed, printed, signed, dated, and submitted to your local election official. Check out your State’s instructions to determine your state specific instructions, witness requirements for voted ballots, deadlines, and mailing addresses.

Check FWAB fact Sheet here.

Your “legal state of residence” for voting purposes is the State or territory where you last resided immediately prior to your departure from the United States. This applies to overseas citizens even though you may not have property or other ties in your last State of residence and your intent to return to that State may be uncertain.

When completing block 7 of the request form, be sure to enter the entire mailing address of your last residence, including rural route and number. That address determines your proper voting jurisdiction.

Some States allow children of U.S. citizens residing overseas who are U.S. citizens but who have never resided in the U.S., to claim one of their parent’s legal State of residence as their own.

You cannot register to vote nor cast your vote with us in the American Citizen Services Unit.

U.S. embassy and consular officials can assist U.S. citizens in completing the Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot Request form or other election materials for their state, witness election materials (if required), and provide other absentee voting information.

You may mail election materials from U.S. embassies and consulates. Remember to make sure that all election material is postmarked.