Elections Act 2022

EU Citizens' Voting and Candidacy Rights (EUVCR)

The EUVCR provisions come into force in November 2023 but will only take effect after the scheduled elections in May 2024.

Voting Rights

In England the general right of European Union citizens to register, vote, and stand in UK elections which use the local election franchise will be removed.

Two groups of EU citizens will retain their voting and candidacy rights:

  • 'Qualifying EU citizens' - citizens of EU countries which have a reciprocal agreement with the UK Government, currently Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
  • 'EU citizens with retained rights' - EU citizens from any other EU country who were already legally resident in the UK before 31 December 2020.

This change will not affect the rights of citizens from Ireland, Malta or Cyprus.

We are required to identify EU citizens who should have their eligibility reviewed as part of an Eligibility Confirmation and Review (ECR) process. We will write to electors who are 'Qualifying EU citizens' and 'EU citizens with retained rights', to inform them that they are eligible to remain registered and that they do not need to take any action.  Any EU citizen who does not meet the new eligibility criteria, will be removed from the electoral register.

There will also be a change to the application process in order to determine applications under the new eligibility criteria.

Candidacy Rights

The changes to candidacy rights for EU citizens are due to come into force from 7 May 2024; transitional arrangements will enable EU citizens elected to office before this date to remain in office for their full term.

After 7 May 2024, EU citizens standing as candidates will need to have been legally resident in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 (have leave to enter or remain in the UK, or do not require such leave) or be a citizen from an EU4 country (Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain) in order to be eligible to stand as a candidate.