An official website of the United States government

Returning Ballots or Voter Registration Materials

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is the official U.S. government website for overseas voters. FVAP provides information on registering absentee for U.S. elections, as well as details of upcoming elections, registration dates and deadlines. The Department of State also maintains comprehensive information for U.S. citizens abroad who wish to vote in U.S. elections.

To vote from abroad, you must register to vote with local election officials in your state of voting residence, AND every year you must request to receive absentee ballots. You can begin the registration process at the FVAP website.


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 online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts. FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Upcoming U.S. Elections

Refer to the FAVP website for all upcoming election announcements.


To save time, send ballots electronically if allowed by state law. Voters can check if their state accepts completed absentee ballots by email, fax, or via an online portal at FVAP.gov/guide. FVAP offers an email-to-fax service for overseas citizens who do not have access to a fax machine. Voters can email clear, legible scans of their completed ballot to fax@FVAP.gov before the ballot return deadline. A member of the FVAP team will fax the ballot to the appropriate election office on behalf of the voter.

Dropping off completed ballots

If the state requires a ballot be returned by mail, it is recommended that ballots for be mailed back to the United States at least 30 days prior to the election date. Voters or their representatives can drop off absentee ballots at the Embassy and Consulates for postage-free mailing to the United States.  Ballots must be sealed in addressed and postage-paid mailing envelopes; if your election official did not provide an envelope or a template that can be attached to an envelope, you can find a postage-paid envelope template here. Be sure your sealed envelope is addressed to your local election official; if you don’t know the address, you can find it here.

No appointment is required to drop off a ballot, but please check our list of public holiday closures for each location and our list of restricted items to ensure you will be able to enter the Consulate. Be sure to bring current photo ID to be allowed entry to the Consulate (digital drivers licenses are not accepted). Ballots can be dropped off at any of our Consulates or the Embassy on workdays at the hours indicated below:

Mailing ballots directly to the States

If using Australia Post to return your voting materials to the United States, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery to the local election officials in the state where you vote. We recommend that you speak to an Australia Post official to ensure you place sufficient postage for delivery.

You may also return your ballot to the United States via a commercial express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL. Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm that their ballots/registration can be delivered on or before January 5th prior to payment and shipment.

Last Minute Voting

U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not polling stations – and you cannot attend on election day to cast your vote. We are here to answer your questions about voting from abroad and assist with forwarding your voting materials to your local electoral office in the United States.

If you have registered to vote but not received your ballot 30 days before the election, or you haven’t registered but would still like to vote, please refer to your state-specific instructions and complete a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if appropriate.

Further Questions

If you have specific questions or need further assistance, you can contact FVAP by email, or by telephone at +1-800-438-VOTE (1-800-438-8683). Alternatively, email the U.S. Consulate serving your area:

Remember, your vote counts!