Enrol and Vote from Overseas

Just because you are out of the country doesn’t mean you have to miss out on having your say in New Zealand’s elections.

You are eligible to enrol and vote from overseas if you:

  •  are 18 years of age or older,
  • have lived in New Zealand for more than one year continuously at some time in your life,

and are either:

  • a New Zealand citizen who has been in New Zealand at any point in the past three years,or
  • a New Zealand permanent resident who has been in New Zealand at any point in the past 12 months.

Your electorate will be the one in which you last lived for a month or more.

(Notes: There are exceptions to these time limits for certain people and their families, such as members of the New Zealand Defence Force or New Zealand diplomats or trade representatives.)

The Electoral Act states that New Zealand citizens or permanent residents who are overseas may enrol if they choose but this is not required by law.

If you are eligible to enrol, you can enrol or update your details, by:

  • updating or enrolling online
  • picking up an enrolment form from any New Zealand diplomatic post
  • within New Zealand phoning 0800 36 76 56 or from overseas +64 9 909 4182 asking to be sent an enrolment form
  • asking a member of your family or a friend to complete an enrolment form for you.

You can get someone else to complete the enrolment form for you, but:

  • they must be a registered elector (ie, they must be enrolled themselves), and
  • they must print "Elector Overseas - signed by their direction" on the form next to their signature.
  • or you can have the form completed by someone who holds a Power of Attorney for you. In this case they must print "Elector Overseas - Power of Attorney" next to their signature.

Ready to enrol? Enrol now.

Voting in a general election from overseas

You can vote from overseas if you are enrolled and:

  • you are a New Zealand citizen and have visited New Zealand within the last three years, or
  • you are a permanent resident of New Zealand and have visited New Zealand in the last 12 months.

Voting papers are not automatically sent to voters who are overseas.

Voters who are overseas will be able to obtain their voting papers from two and a half weeks before election day in one of the following ways:

  • Download their voting papers from this website
  • Apply to the Electoral Commission for postal voting papers
  • Vote in person at an overseas post

Voters who are overseas will be able to return their voting papers in one of the following ways:

  • Upload their voting papers at the Electoral Commission's website
  • Fax their voting papers to the Electoral Commission (+64 4 494 2300)
  • Post or courier their voting papers to the Electoral Commission
  • Post, courier or hand deliver their voting papers to their nearest overseas post

Voting papers returned to the Electoral Commission must be received no later than 7.00pm (NZ time) on Election Day.

Voting papers returned to an overseas post must be received before the close of voting at that post usually 4.00pm (local time) the day before election day (subject to local holidays).  Please check with your nearest overseas post for their closing time.

If you have any further questions about enrolling or voting from overseas,

Click here to contact the Electoral Commission
From within New Zealand call 0800 36 76 56.
From outside of New Zealand call +64 9 909 4182 (international calling rates may apply).

Last updated: 01 November 2016

Did you know?

The date on which the first electoral reform referendum was held - 19 September 1992 - was the 99th anniversary of the signing of the women's suffrage legislation into law.