Press release no. 06/17 of 25. Juli 2017

2017 Bundestag Election: Germans living abroad must file an application

WIESBADEN – Germans living abroad will be permitted to vote in the Bundestag election on 24 September 2017 provided that they meet the legal requirements for voters and submit an application for entry in a voters’ register. The Federal Returning Officer also reports that some missions of the Federal Republic of Germany offer a forwarding service for postal ballot documents. German citizens living in a foreign country should contact the relevant German mission abroad to obtain detailed information. Germans who still have a registered place of residence in Germany only have to apply for postal ballot documents. Both kinds of applications can now be filed with the municipal authorities.

1 Germans permanently living abroad

Germans as defined in Article 116 paragraph 1 of the Basic Law who are resident outside the Federal Republic of Germany on the day of election are also eligible to vote if they have reached the age of 18 years on election day and are not disqualified from voting under Section 13 of the Federal Elections Act, provided that, 

  1. after reaching the age of fourteen years (that means from their 14th birthday), they were either resident in the Federal Republic of Germany for an uninterrupted period of at least three months and this stay dates back not more than 25 years
  2. or, for other reasons, they have become familiar, personally and directly, with the political situation in the Federal Republic of Germany and are affected by it.

Germans permanently living abroad who no longer have a place of residence in Germany and wish to vote in the 2017 Bundestag election in Germany must apply in writing to be entered in the voters’ register of their last home municipality in Germany using a specific form. Germans who have never been registered in Germany and who may be entitled to vote pursuant to number 2 are requested to note the relevant information for Germans living abroad on the Federal Returning Officer’s homepage at

The application must have been received by the competent municipal authority by 3 September 2017 at the latest and should therefore be filed as early as possible.

The application form Germans have to fill in to be listed in a voters’ register for the 2017 Bundestag election is available as a PDF on the website of the Federal Returning Officer (application for entry in the voters' register for Germans living abroad and application for a polling card).

A printed form can be obtained

  • from all embassies and consulates of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad,
  • from the Federal Returning Officer at the following address:

Datenerfassung für den Bundeswahlleiter,
Statistisches Bundesamt,
Zweigstelle Bonn,
Postfach 17 03 77,
53029 Bonn,
tel: +49 611 75-8595

  • and from all constituency returning officers in Germany.

Together with their own application forms, applicants may order forms for family members, friends or colleagues. Firms and associations may obtain the number of application forms required by their staff abroad.

German citizens living abroad who have been listed in the register of voters will receive the documents required for postal voting (polling card, ballot paper, ballot paper envelope, official return envelope and instructions) without further request about one month before election day. The completed postal ballot documents must have been returned to the authority indicated on the official return envelope by election day, 24 September 2017, by the end of the voting hours at 6 p.m. at the latest. Ballot letters received later will not be considered.

2 Germans residing in Germany and temporarily staying abroad

Germans who stay abroad temporarily but continue to be registered in Germany will ex officio be entered in the voters’ register of their municipality and may vote by post in the 2017 Bundestag election. They do not have to wait for their voter’s notification to be delivered but may apply now to their municipal authority for a polling card either in writing (also by fax of e-mail) or personally. The following information is required:

  • family name
  • surname(s),
  • date of birth and
  • housing address (street, house number, postal code, town).

It is not possible to apply by telephone. Postal voting may also be applied for by completing the application for a polling card printed on the back of the voter’s notification. Anyone filing the application on behalf of another person must present a written proxy.


For further information:
Office of the Federal Returning Officer
tel: +49 611 75-4863