India is in the midst of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections and it goes without saying that the decisions made during this crucial period shall shape the nation’s progress and development for several years to come. 

For decades now, the Indian Diaspora has been a vital pillar of India’s global presence, contributing from afar. However, if we rewind the clock a bit, it was a different scene. The participation of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in India’s democratic process remained limited and restricted! 

The pivotal moment came in 2010 when the Indian Government amended the Representation of the People Act, granting NRIs the right to vote from their particular constituency.
Suddenly, the distance between continents seemed to shrink in significance. Today, leaders in the country are actively encouraging NRI voters to exercise their rights and cast their votes.

The significance of this cannot be overstated. Despite residing abroad, NRIs maintain strong connections to their homeland, with a vested interest in its socio-economic and political scenario. Beyond finances, NRIs possess a wealth of diverse perspectives and experiences that can enrich India’s democratic scenario - something that impacts their families, communities, and the nation at large. 

We’ve put this article together to serve as a comprehensive guide for NRIs looking to navigate the complexities of voting in Indian elections. 

Let’s make your voice heard. 

Source: LinkedIn

Are You Eligible? Understanding the Criteria 

Before we get to the registration process, there’s something that needs addressing! In order to cast their votes in Indian elections, NRIs must meet certain eligibility criteria. 

As per the guidelines, NRIs are eligible to vote ONLY if they are physically present in India at the time of the election, even if the primary residence is overseas. 

The Indian Government has also proposed the inclusion of NRIs in the list of voters eligible to cast their votes through the E-Postal Ballot System (ETPBS). Although this proposal is under consideration, it has not been implemented for the 2024 elections.

Before you book your flights, cross-check that you meet these requirements: 

  • You must be a citizen of India, aged 18 or above, on the qualifying date (January 1st of the year of the elections).
  • You must not hold citizenship of any other country.
  • You must possess a valid Indian passport.
  • You are temporarily absent from India for employment, education, etc.

It's important to note that Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) or holders of a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card are not eligible to vote in Indian elections, even if they reside in India. OCIs, being foreign nationals, do not possess Indian citizenship and thus do not have voting rights.

Completing the Registration Process

Fill Out Form 6A

  1. Obtain Form 6A from the Election Commission's website, accessible at for overseas voters.
  2. Start by entering your full name, age, and gender as stated in your Indian passport.
  3. Provide your passport number, along with the date and place of issue, as well as any relevant visa details.
  4. Include your current overseas residential address in its entirety.
  5. Specify the address in India as per your passport, as this will determine your constituency.
  6. Confirm that you are a citizen of India residing abroad.

Submitting Form 6A

After completing Form 6A, there are two methods for submission:

Online Submission: Access the National Voters' Service Portal (NVSP) and locate Form 6A in the 'Forms' section. Complete the form online and upload scanned copies of your passport and visa.

Offline Submission: Download Form 6A from the ECI website, fill it out, and submit it along with photocopies of pertinent passport pages to the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.

Have These Documents at Hand! 

  1. One recent passport-size colored photograph.
  2. If submitting by mail, include self-attested photocopies of passport pages featuring the photo, applicant details, and valid visa.
  3. Applicants submitting in person to the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) must provide photocopies of relevant passport pages. Additionally, the original passport should be presented for verification by the officer and will be promptly returned.

Verifications & More

Once the above is done, the local ERO in your constituency will verify the details by contacting you or even visiting the address mentioned in your passport. 

And you’re set! Once verified your name will be added to the electoral role, and you should get a timely update on the status. 

There’s also a provision for requesting a correction/change to your details by filling out Form 8

Casting Your Vote

As mentioned earlier, your vote in the Indian election certainly counts but the only caveat is that you must be physically present in India on voting day. 

On the day of, head over to your designated polling booth with an original identification and do the needful. 

And just like that, you’ve made a difference! 

Source: Indifi

Election Phases & Timelines to Note 

When: First Phase on April 19, 2024
Where: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Jammu & Kashmir, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry

When: Second Phase on April 26, 2024
Where: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jammu & Kashmir

When: Third Phase on May 07, 2024
Where: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, and Jammu & Kashmir

When: Fourth Phase on May 13, 2024
Where: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jammu & Kashmir

When: Fifth Phase on 20 May 2024
Where: Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh

When: Sixth Phase on 25 May 2024
Where: Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Delhi

When: Seventh Phase on 01 June 2024
Where: Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal

Your Vote, Your Voice: Why It Matters

Flying all the way to India to cast your vote might not be the most convenient. But at the end of the day, it’s not just about pressing a button or ticking a box - it’s about making a powerful statement of your love for your roots, your heritage, and your country’s future. 

It’s about showing up and being counted when it matters most. 

And the numbers don’t lie! Did you know that over 22,000 NRIs flew in just two days to cast their vote? There’s an unstoppable wave of passion and patriotism sweeping across oceans and continents. Don’t miss out on the chance to be a part of it. 

In today’s global village, the idea of “brain gain” is catching on fast. Talented NRI professionals are returning home to be included in India’s growth story and ‘golden era’. And this is just the beginning.

So, make your voices heard, make a difference, and show the world that no matter where life takes you, India will always be your home and your heartbeat.

See you at the voting booth!