UAE: A Guide for Indian Expats on Registering to Vote in Elections

Asma Ahmed - | UAE

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections have been announced by the Election Commission of India, slated to run from April 19 to June 1. Indian expatriates residing in the UAE now have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process by registering as voters.

Previously, non-resident Indians (NRIs) were unable to exercise their voting rights in Indian elections. However, an amendment to the Representation of People (Amendment) Act in 2010 extended this privilege to NRIs.

To be eligible for voting rights, NRIs must hold a valid Indian passport and be at least 18 years old as of January 1 in the year the electoral roll is published for their respective constituency in India.

Online registration for overseas voters involves several steps:

  1. Visit the Election Commission of India or the designated voter portal service website.
  2. Select the appropriate state or union territory and access the state election commission section.
  3. Download and complete Form 6A, available online or through Indian Missions abroad.
  4. Upload the filled-out form along with scanned copies of the required documents, including passport pages, address proof in India, and visa endorsements.
  5. Create a login on the ECI website and submit the scanned documents.

Following form submission, the application undergoes scrutiny by the electoral registration officer. A booth-level officer conducts field verification at the provided home address in India. If necessary, verification may also be sought from the Indian Mission in the applicant's country of residence.

The final decision regarding registration is communicated via post to the specified address abroad and, optionally, through SMS. NRIs' names are listed under a distinct section for "Overseas Electors" on the ECI website.

Unlike resident voters, NRIs are not issued an Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and must vote in person at the designated polling station, presenting their original passport as identification.

Alternatively, offline registration entails visiting the electoral registration office in the constituency of residence, completing Form 6A, and submitting the requisite documents, including a recent photograph and passport copies, for verification.

Indian expatriates in the UAE can now actively participate in Indian elections by registering as voters through either online or offline channels, thereby exercising their democratic right to vote from overseas.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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