voting while homeless

You have a right to vote even if you don’t have a permanent address. Here’s our essential guide to voting while you’re experiencing homelessness.


All over-18s in the UK are eligible to vote in elections, no matter where you live. This guide will show you how to make sure you have everything you need to make your voice heard.

your guide to voting while homeless – registration and ID:

Due to new rules, voters will now need to bring photo ID with them in order to vote. This is a new rule and will apply to the following elections from 4th May 2023:

  • Local elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections
  • UK parliamentary by-elections
  • Recall Petitions

It will also apply to general elections from October 2023.

If you’ve never registered to vote before it can be a bit confusing, so we have created this resource to explain the process and to also go through what is accepted as photo ID, and what to do if you don’t have adequate photo ID.

how to register to vote:

first, make sure you are eligible to vote.

You are eligible to vote if you are:

  • You must be 18 or over to vote in UK parliamentary elections and local elections in England and Northern Ireland. But if you live in Wales or Scotland, 16+ people can vote in local elections and devolved parliamentary elections.
  • A British or Irish Citizen living in the UK.
  • A Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission.
  • A citizen of another country living in Scotland or Wales who has permission to enter or to stay in the UK, or who does not need permission.

You can register to vote online. It will take around 5 minutes and you will need your National Insurance number.

You can also register to vote via a paper form, which you can print out and send to your Local Electoral Registration Office.

If you are concerned about your name and address appearing on the electoral register for safety reason, you can also register to vote anonymously.

can i register to vote if i don’t have a fixed address?:


If you have no fixed address either because:

  • You’re homeless
  • You’ve been remanded in custody but not yet convicted of any offence
  • You’re receiving in-patient mental health care in a hospital

You will need to complete and return a form to your your Local Electoral Registration Office. Download the form here or request a paper copy at the electoral office.

If you need help completing the form you should speak to your akt caseworker or a support worker if you have one. You can also speak to your local homeless day centre or your local Citizens Advice to ask them to help you.

England (749.01 KB)
Wales (942.52 KB)
Wales (Welsh language)
Wales (Welsh language) (848.70 KB)


If you need more information or can’t download these files, use this link to the website to get more info.

what ID is accepted to vote under the new rules?:

You can use any of the following documents as a form of ID at a polling station:

Please note – the photo on your ID must look like you in order to be accepted. Expired IDs can still be used if the photo still looks like you.

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • Driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (this includes a provisional driving licence)
  • A blue badge
  • Disabled Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
  • Freedom Pass
  • Scottish National Entitlement Card
  • Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
  • Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Biometric immigration document
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • National identity card issued by an EEA state
  • Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland
  • Voter Authority Certificate
  • Anonymous Elector’s Document

The Electoral Commission have produced a series of videos explaining the process of registering to vote and getting the right ID. These videos include closed captions and BSL.

what if the name on my ID doesn’t match the electoral register?:

If the name on your ID does not match the name on the electoral register because you have changed your name since you last registered to vote, or your ID isn’t up to date with your correct name, then you will need to do one of the following:

  • Register to vote again with your new name that is on your ID
  • Register for a Voter Authority Certificate (more on this below)
  • If you have changed your name on the electoral register but haven’t yet got photo ID with your correct name you will need to take a document with you that proves you have changed your name (such as a deed poll)

Small differences in the name on your ID and on the electoral register won’t matter however (e.g. if your ID reads ‘Tom’ instead of ‘Thomas’ etc.)

voting faqs:


Yes! There are still ways for you to get photo ID while homeless or without the necessary documents. Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.


That depends on where in the UK you live. If you live in England or Northern Ireland, you must be over 18 to vote on any election. If you live in Scotland or Wales, you can vote on elections that are specific to your country (Devolved Parliamentary Elections) or region (Local Elections), but not on anything that affects England or the UK as a whole, such as a General Election where the prime minister is elected.


Yes! If you’re worried about having your name or address on the electoral register, you can register to vote and keep your personal details private.