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Last checked: 10/01/2019

Home country elections – Germany

German nationals living abroad are also entitled to vote or stand as a candidate in elections to the German Bundestag and to the European Parliament.

To have a vote, German citizens must normally have been living in Germany (or for elections to the European Parliament, in any EU Member State) for at least three months. In the case of elections to the European Parliament: the period of three months is calculated on the basis of consecutive residence in the said areas. Periods of residence in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the date on which the Treaties cease to apply there as provided for in Article 50(3) TEU shall not be taken into consideration.

However, German citizens living abroad also have the right to vote if they were resident in Germany for at least one uninterrupted three-month period after attaining the age of 14, provided that the period in question was no more than 25 years before the election.

German citizens living abroad who do not meet these conditions may still be entitled to vote if, on other grounds, they have close personal ties to the political landscape in Germany and are affected by it.

Right to vote

In principle, voters may participate in elections to the German Bundestag or to the European Parliament only if they are registered on the electoral roll in the Federal Republic of Germany. Applications to be included in the electoral roll must be made as soon as possible and submitted to the relevant municipal authorities no later than 21 days before the election.

If you are permanently resident outside Germany, you must register to vote in the German municipality in which you were last registered.

If you have never lived in Germany, you must register in the municipality with which you are most closely associated (for elections to the German Bundestag) or in Berlin, Bezirksamt Mitte (for elections to the European Parliament).

Right to stand as a candidate

German nationals eligible to vote who are resident in Germany may obtain their authorisation to stand as a candidate from their municipality of residence.

If you are not permanently resident in Germany, your authorisation will be issued by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. In this case, you should submit your application either to the diplomatic or consular mission of the Federal Republic of Germany responsible for your place of residence, or directly to the Ministry of the Interior.

In all other respects, the procedures for standing as a candidate are the same as those for German nationals residing in Germany.

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