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Overseas Voter Registration - FAQ

Overseas Voter Registration

Overseas Voter Registration

Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. Embassy - Beirut


1. Can I vote absentee?

You can vote absentee in any election for Federal office if you are a U.S. citizen 18 years or older who is residing outside the United States.  While requirements vary from state to state, most states require that you be registered before you can vote absentee.  Voter registration and absentee ballot requests can be done at the same time by submitting the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).

2. Where do I send my Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot Request?

The request form can be found at and must be completed and mailed directly to your local election official.  The contact information for your local election office can also be found at  Some states allow your request to be faxed or emailed to the local election office.  Please check the FVAP website for your state’s rules.

3. If I do not maintain a legal residence in the U.S., what is my "legal state of residence"?

Your "legal state of residence" for voting purposes is the state or territory where you last resided immediately prior to your departure from the United States.  This applies to overseas citizens even though you may not have property or other ties in your last state of residence and your intent to return to that state may be uncertain.

When completing block five of the FPCA be sure to enter the entire mailing address of your last residence.  That address determines your proper voting jurisdiction.

Some states allow children of U.S. citizens residing overseas who are U.S. citizens but who have never resided in the U.S. to claim one of their parent's legal states of residence as their own. Check out the list of states allowing this at

4. Can I register or vote in-person at the embassy or consulate?

U.S. embassy and consular officials can assist U.S. citizens in completing the Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot Request form. You may mail election materials from U.S. embassies and consulates.  Remember to make sure that all election material is postmarked.  Elections materials mailed from U.S. embassies and consulates take 3-4 business days to enter the U.S. Postal Service system and receive a stamp.

5. When mailing election materials to my state or territory, do I have to pay postage?

When mailed from any U.S. post office, U.S. embassy or consulate, or APO/FPO mail facility, the hardcopy voter registration/absentee ballot form is postage-paid.  You must pay postage if the materials are mailed from a non-U.S. postal facility.

 6. Must I submit a separate application for each election?

You do not need to submit a separate application for each election.  To ensure that you receive absentee ballots for all elections in which you are eligible to vote, FVAP recommends submitting a new FPCA in January of each year or whenever you have a new mailing address.

7. What happens if I do not receive a ballot from my local election office?

States and territories are required to mail ballots at least 45 days before an election.  You may contact your local election office to inquire about the status of your registration and absentee ballot request.  The contact information for your local election office can be found at

If you requested an absentee ballot but have not received one four weeks before Election Day, you can still vote by using the back-up Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).

In order to be eligible to use this back-up ballot, you must:

  • Be absent from your voting residence;
  • Have applied for a regular ballot early enough so the request is received by the appropriate local election official not later than the state deadline; or the date that is 30 days before the general election; AND
  • Have not received the requested regular absentee ballot from the state.

 The back-up Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) can be found at  Hardcopies are available through Voting Assistance Officers at U.S. embassies and consulates.  You may visit the American Citizen Services section at the American Embassy in Beirut to pick up and mail voter registration forms Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 11 AM without an appointment.  Please note that you would not be able to obtain other consular services at the time if you have not scheduled an appointment to do so.   

 Additional information about absentee voting, voter registration and the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot can also be found at