British expats are urged to sign up to vote in the forthcoming UK referendum on whether the nation should stay in the European Union.
The Electoral Commission wants as many expats as possible to sign up for the vote.
The vote will particularly affect expats living in other EU states as if Britain comes out they will lose their rights such as freedom of movement given under European laws.
Prime Minister David Cameron has spent months renegotiating clauses of treaties with the EU that deal with delaying further integration with the EU, giving more powers to veto EU laws by MPs at Westminster and denying in-work benefits to migrants from EU nations.
The agreement goes for discussion and ratification with European heads of state later this month.
Who can vote?
Cameron has pencilled in a referendum date sometime in June – widely thought to be June 23.
This is the first such vote on EU membership in a generation.
Any British expat who has lived overseas for less than 15 years is eligible to vote in the referendum providing they have registered.
Expats must have had right of residence or have registered to vote in the UK before they left the country.
They are allowed to take part in UK and European Parliament elections but not in UK regional assembly, local or mayoral elections or those for the Mayor of London or London Assembly.
Expats can register online or download a form to return by post.
Registering to vote
The form must be signed by the voter and returned to the electoral registration officer for the council district where the expat last lived in the UK.
Voting is by post or proxy – which is asking another person to cast your vote on your behalf.
“Registering to vote in the referendum should be easier for expats because we have learned from problems in the last general elections,” said a spokesman for the Electoral Commission.
“Many voters missed out before because the time limits were too tight and they have been extended for this vote.”