August 9, 2020: Message for U.S. Citizens: Register to Vote in the U.S. Elections; Resumption of Ballot Collection

August 9, 2020

There are only 86 days left until the November 3 General Election!  If you have not already done so, request your ballot by completing a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) today.

The Embassy is now able to accept ballots if your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail.  Please read below for more information on ballot collection.

Step 1: Register and Request an Absentee Ballot

Fill out the FPCA at  Print, sign, and send the form to your local election office as soon as possible.

Every state can accept and send election materials by mail.  Many states allow you to submit your FPCA electronically.  This is the fastest way to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.  Check the ballot return options in your state.  You can find the address and other contact information for your election office at

Step 2: Vote and Return your Ballot

Your ballot should arrive by early October.  Return your completed, signed ballot to your election office by the recommended deadline once you have received it.

We recommend you return your completed ballot electronically if your state allows it.  If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so either via private courier or by dropping it off at the Embassy between Sunday through Wednesday from 1:00pm to 2:30pm.  Please email us at if you are unable to drop off voting materials during this time.  Ballots must be addressed to local election offices and placed in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. domestic postage so they may be delivered to the proper local election authorities.  Please note that it can take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent through the Embassy, so please submit your forms and ballots accordingly.

Important resources for voters:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about absentee voting:

 What is the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)? Overseas voters can use the FPCA to register to vote and request an absentee ballot simultaneously.  They can also use the FPCA to update their contact information.

How should I send my FPCA? All states will accept it by mail, and some allow for email or fax.  Check your guidelines at

Do I have to register to vote? Most states and territories require you to register to vote.  Fill out an FPCA to register and request an absentee ballot at the same time.

When should I request an absentee ballot? You should send in a new FPCA every January and each time you move.  We recommend that you send in an FPCA at least 90 days before the election in which you want to vote.

Can I vote at the Embassy? No.  Elections are run at the state level.  You must communicate directly with your state to register, request a ballot, and vote.

When will I get my ballot? Election offices are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election.  If you requested your ballot by email, then the ballot should arrive right away.  Mailed ballots will take longer to arrive depending on the postal system in the country where you are located.

Can a U.S. citizen who has never lived in the country register to vote and request an absentee ballot? Some states allow citizens who have never resided in the U.S. to use a parent’s voting residence as their own.  A list of these states can be found here.

What is my U.S. voting residence address? Your U.S. voting residence address is used to determine where you are eligible to vote. For military voters, it is usually the last address you lived at in your state of legal residence.  For overseas citizens, it is usually the last place you lived at in the U.S. before moving overseas.  You do not need to have any current ties with this address.

How can I send my form? All states will accept your form by mail, but they vary on email and fax.  Check your state’s requirements/guidelines at

Do I have to pay for postage? You must pay for postage only if you are using a foreign postal service or a commercial courier service.  If you are dropping off your ballot at the Embassy, you can use the postage-paid template available here.

Can I use any envelope to mail my form? Yes.  Print the postage-paid template from onto any available blank envelope.