Military and Overseas Voters (UOCAVA)
What is UOCAVA?
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is the law that extends federal absentee voting rights to Service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens.
Who is covered under UOCAVA?
UOCAVA covers US citizens who are 18 or older AND active duty members of the Uniformed Services, Merchant Marine, or commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; their eligible family members; and US citizens residing outside the United States.
What is the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)?
The FPCA is the form for UOCAVA citizens to simultaneously register to vote and request an absentee ballot. It also updates their contact information.
What is the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)?
The FWAB is an emergency backup ballot for UOCAVA citizens who did not receive an absentee ballot in time to participate in the election.
Do I have to register to vote?
Yes. You have to register to vote in the District of Columbia. Fill out an FPCA to register and request an Absentee Ballot at the same time.
When should I request an Absentee Ballot?
You should send in a new FPCA every January and each time you move. We recommend that you send in an FPCA at least 90 days before the election you want to vote in.
Do I have to send in a separate application for each election?
The FPCA allows you to request an Absentee Ballot for all federal elections in the calendar year. We recommend that you send in a new FPCA every January and each time you move.
Can I vote at the embassy or consulate?
No. You must communicate with the DCBOE to register, request a ballot, and vote. Most embassies and consulates will help you to fill out the FPCA and FWAB, but they are not polling places.
When will I get my ballot?
We are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election. If you asked to receive your ballot by email, it should arrive right away. Mailed ballots will take longer depending on the postal system in the country where you are located.
What if I do not get a ballot?
If you do not receive an Absentee Ballot in time to return it, you can use the FWAB as a backup ballot to vote for federal offices. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot as well. Only one ballot will count.
Do I have to choose a classification on the FPCA and FWAB?
Yes. This is how you tell us that you are eligible to vote absentee under UOCAVA.
What if none of these classifications apply to me?
Military Members: If you are an active duty military member (or family member) stationed within the District of Columbia, you are not covered under UOCAVA and should follow the District of Columbia’s regular voting procedures. You can use either the National Mail Voter Registration Form (NVRF)
or DCBOE’s voter registration form
Non-Military: If you do not reside outside of the United States but want to vote by Absentee Ballot, you must follow the District of Columbia’s absentee voting procedures.
Can my immediate family members vote absentee?
Spouses and children who live away from their voting residence can request an Absentee Ballot using the FPCA. If they currently live where they are registered, they are not covered by UOCAVA and should vote at the polls or request an Absentee Ballot according to District of Columbia guidelines.
Will it affect my citizenship if I select "my return is uncertain"?
Can a US citizen who has never lived in the country register to vote and request an absentee ballot?
A US citizen who has never resided in the US and has a parent or legal guardian that was last domiciled in the District of Columbia is eligible to vote in District of Columbia.
What if I do not have a Social Security Number or a District of Columbia government-issued ID?
In the section of the form that asks for additional information, write that you do not have a social security number or a State-issued ID.
Does voter registration affect my tax status?
You can vote for federal offices without a change to your tax status, but voting for non-federal offices may result in state and local taxation. There may also be tax implications when changing your residence from one state to another. We recommend that you seek legal advice when changing your voting residence.
What is my US voting residence address?
Your US voting residence address is used to determine where you are eligible to vote absentee. For military voters, it is usually your last address in your state of legal residence. For overseas citizens, it is usually the last place you lived before moving overseas. You do not need to have any current ties with this address.
What if someone else lives there now or the house was torn down?
DCBOE only uses your voting residence address to determine if you're eligible to vote in their jurisdiction and which ballot to send you.
What if I do not know my voting residence address?
If you can not remember the address where you last resided, we recommend asking family members and checking old records. DCBOE may also be able to help you further.
Can my voting residence and current address be the same?
No. In order to vote absentee under UOCAVA, you must be living outside of the District of Columbia.
Do I have to give my current address if I am asking for my Absentee Ballot by email or fax?
Yes. DCBOE needs your current address to confirm that you are eligible to vote absentee under UOCAVA. This is especially important for citizens residing outside of the US.
What if I do not know my overseas address or duty station?
If you do not know your overseas address or duty station yet, provide as much information as you can regarding your overseas address or duty station (e.g., country, city, etc.) in Section 3 of the FPCA and the FWAB. Also, use the Additional Information section to explain why you do not have an address yet. Make sure you provide your email and phone number so DCBOE can contact you with any follow-up questions.
Do I have to put my political party?
To vote in District of Columbia primary elections, you must enter the name of the party ballot you want to receive. Political party affiliation is not required if requesting an absentee ballot for general elections.
Do I have to give additional information?
No, but feel free to provide any information that may assist DCBOE with accepting your application.
Can I sign my FPCA or FWAB electronically?
No. You must print and sign your form before sending it to us.
Does it matter what size paper I use?
No. Any paper is acceptable as long the information is legible.
How can I send my form?
You can submit the FPCA by mail, email, or fax.
Do I have to pay for postage?
Only if you are using a foreign postal service or a commercial courier service. If you are using US mail, including APO/FPO and diplomatic pouches, then you can use the postage-paid template available here
. Print the template onto whatever blank envelope you have on hand.
How do I email my form?
After printing and signing your form, scan and attach it to an email addressed to [email protected]
What is the DoD Fax Service?
The DoD Fax Service is for those voters who cannot send their election materials directly to their election officials. To fax your election materials, use the Transmission Cover Sheet found in Chapter 1 or online at FVAP.gov and fax to: (703) 693-5527, DSN 223-5527 or toll-free from the US, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to 1-800-368-8683. If you need to send your election materials to DCBOE by fax but do not have access to a fax machine you can email them to [email protected]
and FVAP will fax your election materials for you. This service is fax only
How do I check the status of my application?
Contact DCBOE by phone at (202) 727-2525 or 1-866-DC-VOTES (866-328-6837), or by email at [email protected]