How to vote in three easy steps!
1. Register or re-register to vote & request a ballot
Go to FVAP.gov to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) which allows you to register to vote and request your absentee ballot at the same time.
- You will need access to a printer as you must print, sign and date the FPCA.
- The quickest way to receive your ballot is to choose an electronic option. Depending on the state, this may be by email, fax, or online download.
- Include your email address so that election officials can contact you quickly if needed.
- If your state delivers ballots electronically by fax only, make sure you include your fax number.
The FVAP website has information to help you determine your state of voting residence, including information for U.S. citizens that have never lived in the United States.
The FPCA will allow you to request absentee ballots for all federal elections in the calendar year, including any special elections. States no longer have to send ballots for an entire election cycle, so we strongly recommend that you get into the habit of completing a new FPCA every January.
How to fill out FPCA video: https://youtu.be/YqqB5pp6uvM
2. Receive and complete your ballot
All U.S. citizens can now choose to receive a ballot electronically. Depending on which state you are eligible to vote in, you might get your ballot electronically by email, fax, or online download.
With electronic delivery selected, ballots are typically sent 45 days ahead of federal and midterm elections, and 30 days before primary, special and run-off elections for federal offices.
Most states allow you to confirm ballot delivery online.
If you haven’t received your ballot by early October, you can request a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You can use the FWAB to vote if you don’t think you will receive ballot in time. If you ballot does subsequently arrive, you can submit it too. Only one vote will be counted.
3. Return your ballot
If you have received your ballot, follow the instructions to submit it as soon as you can. If your state allows you to cast your ballot electronically, we recommend that you do so ASAP.
- If you cannot cast your ballot electronically, the fastest method is to mail your completed, signed, and dated ballot directly to the local election officials in your state using the Indian postal system. Your local post office will be able to advise you about the quickest postage option.
- You can choose to use a private courier service, but this will cost more.
- You can drop off your ballot at your local embassy or consulate. This is a free service. However, it is important for you to understand that this will take longer. Mail sent using the diplomatic pouch must go to a U.S. sorting office before it can be sent on to the relevant election officials using the U.S. postal system. You would need to place your ballot in either a postage paid envelope or an envelope addressed to your state’s election officials with U.S. stamps sufficient for delivery once your ballot arrives in the United States. The estimated time from dropping off the ballot to it arriving at your election office is four weeks.
- All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as they are valid and reach local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline, which is after the election date in some states.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I haven't lived in the U.S. for some time. Which state should I register with/which address should I give?
I am a U.S. citizen but I have never lived in the United States. Can I register to vote?
It may be possible for you to register to vote in the state in which you parent or legal guardian – or, in some cases, your spouse or civil union partner – current lives or lived when they last resided in the United States. Visit the FVAP website for state-by-state information and then contact the state’s election officer if you need more information.
My ballot hasn't arrived. What should I do?
If you haven’t received your ballot by early October, you can request a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You can use the FWAB to vote if you don’t think you will receive your ballot in time.
If your ballot does subsequently arrive, you can submit it too. Only one vote will be counted.
Is there still time for me to vote?
If you haven’t registered to vote, it may not be too late – deadlines vary state by state. You can check the Federal Election deadlines by clicking on your state of voting residence on the FVAP website.
- Some states require that voters re-register annually.
- Congressional elections take place every two years.
- Special elections may occur at any time.
Therefore, no matter the date, it’s a good idea to register to vote for the first time or check your registration now. Visit FVAP.gov to get started!
If you’ve received your ballot, follow the instructions to submit it as soon as you can.
If your state doesn’t allow you to cast your ballot electronically, you can submit your ballot through the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulates. Your local post office will be able to advise you of the quickest postage option.
All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as they are valid and reach local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline, which is after the election date in some states.
Can I vote at the Embassy?
No, U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places.
The fastest way to return a postal ballot is to mail the completed, signed, and dated ballot directly to your state’s election officials using the Indian postal system.
Can I attend an election night party?
There are currently no plans for public parties or screenings of election news footage at U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India.
I have more voting questions. Who can I contact?
Register and Request Your Absentee Ballot Now for these Upcoming Elections:
The following states have elections for federal office in the next 90 days:
January 11, 2022: Florida Special General Election in U.S. Congressional District 20
The State of Florida will conduct a special general election on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, to fill a vacancy for the 20th Congressional District, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Service members, eligible family members, and overseas citizens can register to vote up until December 13, 2021. Voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote, request a ballot, and update any contact information by using the completion tool available at fvap.gov/FPCA or by using the fillable PDF version (PDF 185 KB). After completing the FPCA, voters must print it, sign it, and send it to their election office in Florida. If using the FPCA to register for the first time, voters must mail the FPCA to their election office.
Florida voters in the 20th Congressional District who are already registered and want to receive a mailed ballot must send in the FPCA as a ballot request by January 1, 2022. Registered voters who prefer to receive their ballot by email or fax can request their ballot up until Election Day. Registered voters can send their completed, signed FPCA directly to their election office by email, mail, or fax.
Florida voters in the 20th Congressional District must return their voted absentee ballot by MAIL or FAX (fax only allowed if located overseas) and postmarked by January 11, 2022. Detailed instructions and county contact information are available at fvap.gov/florida. Voters can verify the status of their voting materials by contacting their election office (PDF 185 KB) directly.
March 1, 2022: Texas Primary Election
The State of Texas will conduct a primary election for U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Service members, eligible family members, and overseas citizens can register to vote between January 1 and February 9, 2022. Voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote, request a ballot, and update any contact information by using the completion tool available at fvap.gov/FPCA or by using the fillable PDF version (PDF 185 KB).
Texas voters who are already registered and want to receive a ballot must send in the FPCA as a ballot request between January 1 and February 18, 2022.
After completing the FPCA, voters must sign and send it to their county early voting clerk in Texas, by mail, email, or fax. If submitting the FPCA by fax, the faxed FPCA must be followed with a hardcopy mailed FPCA that must be received by the early voting clerk by the fourth business day after the fax. Emailed FPCAs do not require a follow-up mailed hardcopy FPCA, but must include the “Transmission Cover Sheet”.
Voters must return their voted absentee ballot by mail or fax (fax only if you are located in a hostile fire area). For Uniformed Service members or eligible family members, the ballot must be mailed by March 1, 2022. For overseas citizens the ballot must be postmarked by March 1, 2022.
COVID-19 Election Update
FVAP is working closely with state election offices, the Military Postal Service Agency and other federal agencies to bring you up-to-date information on possible mailing delays. Please visit FVAP.gov/COVID-19 for the latest information on any international postal disruptions or contact your installation military post office.
Register and request your ballot by your state’s deadline. You can use FVAP’s easy online assistant at www.fvap.gov/FPCA to walk you through each section of the form. After you finish filling out the FPCA, print it, sign it, and send it to your election office. Most states accept the FPCA by email or fax while some require it by mail. Check your state-specific guidelines at FVAP.gov.
Once you receive your requested absentee ballot, vote and return it as soon as you get it. Remember to carefully follow the instructions, especially if a “security envelope” is required, and sign the package as indicated when returning it.
To save time, send voted 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.
If a requested ballot has not arrived, use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) immediately at www.fvap.gov/FWAB. It works like a backup ballot. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, complete and send in the official ballot, too. Only one will be counted.
Make sure the voted ballot is received by your state. Go to FVAP.gov/Guide, click on your state and then the “check the status of your voted ballot” button.
To find your state’s election website for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information, and links to your local election offices, visit our contact page. You can also reach out directly to your election office for status updates on your registration and absentee ballot.
Additional Information for non-UOCAVA voters: Uniformed service members, their families, and Department of Defense civilians who are currently stationed in the same location as their voting address may visit vote.gov to register to vote and request information from their local election office to vote locally.