Can expats in Germany vote in the EU elections?

Can expats in Germany vote in the EU elections?

With the European Parliament elections just around the corner on May 26, you may be thinking about exercising your democratic rights. But what are the voting rights of expats in Germany when it comes to the EU elections, and what are you actually voting for? Here is a quick overview.

What is the EU election about?

Voting in the European Union elections enables you to have a say in the direction the bloc will take in the years to come: on all issues, from jobs and business to migration and climate change. By voting, you elect an MEP (Member of the European Parliament) to represent you.

There are currently 751 MEPs representing the EU’s 28 member states, allocated proportionally to countries according to the size of their populations. In the past, Germany’s 96 MEPs have typically come from political parties who adopt a pro-EU position. However, the rise of the Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany (AfD) looks set to shake things up a little.

Are expats eligible to vote in Germany?

If you are an EU citizen aged 18 or over, you are eligible to vote in the EU elections in Germany. In order to be added to the electoral register, you need to make sure you are registered at your local citizens’ office.

If you are a national from outside the EU, you are not eligible to vote in Germany. If you have any doubts about whether you are eligible, or whether you are registered to vote, you should speak to your local office.

Can I vote in my home country rather than Germany?

As a general rule, if you are an EU citizen living in Germany, you have the choice between voting in your home country and voting in the elections here. If you have lived in Germany for some time, be aware that you may no longer be eligible to vote in your home country. Check with your local embassy if you are not sure.

If you wish to vote for the European Parliament in Germany, you need to register to vote with your local electoral office (Wahlamt). Remember that you are only eligible to vote in one country!

How do I register to vote in Germany?

If you have registered and received a registration certificate, you will be added automatically to the electoral register. Your polling card (Wahlbenachrichtigung) will be posted to your home address at least three weeks before the election. If you have not received one, you should contact your local electoral office.

If you are registering to vote for the first time, you need to fill in this form and hand it in to your local electoral office (often housed in the citizens’ office). You can also send it in the post, but bear in mind that for the upcoming elections it must be submitted before May 5.

Are Brits eligible to vote in the EU elections?

The UK has elected to extend the Brexit deadline, meaning that it will officially remain a member of the EU until October 31. Unless a deal is reached in the meantime, the UK will be obliged to hold European elections.

If you are a British national in Germany, and the UK does hold EU elections, you will have the choice between voting in Germany and voting in the UK. If you wish to vote in the UK, you can register to vote online. Note that if you have lived overseas for more than 15 years, you are only eligible to vote in Germany.



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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