The current figures look as if Britain will vote to leave the EU:

UK Politics Blog: EU Polling Data

I am a British Citizen and would like to move to Denmark in around a year or so anyway, but if Britain leaving the EU is going to cause additional problems I'll probably go sooner rather than later (also, I really, really don't want to be in the UK if it's out of the European Union -- the country's getting bad enough already).

What additional problems will Brexit cause for people trying to emigrate to EU countries, specifically Denmark?

  • 2
    Can I just mention that the "brexist" tag on this question should be "brexit". Contrary to some of the more alarming claims from both sides, Britain will still exist however it votes in the referendum ;-) Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 19:47
  • @Lostinfrance speaks in Queen's English accent Yoouu mmaayyy. (I'll change it, just a sec). Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 19:49
  • Great Britain, the island, will exist for a very long time. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, quite possibly not.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 19:44
  • This question is much too speculative for any well founded answer, I think. Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 12:43
  • Afaik in most countries it worked so: if you arrived as a british citizen before the secession, you automatically got a permanent resident (or equivalent) status. This was not revoked by the secession.
    – Gray Sheep
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 21:39

3 Answers 3


Currently it's hard to tell. EU membership of the UK won't end the day the referendum goes through. Leaving the EU will be a gradual process and we will have to see which agreements will be replaced by new ones between the UK and the EU to uphold the status quo and which will be revoked.

However, it can be expect that migration and travel rights will get impacted. The right of an European citizen to freely migrate within Europe is derived from the membership in the European Union (and the Schengen Agreement, but the UK isn't a member of it). As an UK citizen you will very likely be treated just like any other non-EU immigrant and will have to apply for a residence and work permit in Denmark.

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Agreement Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 13:10
  • Philipp: I have made plans to permanently leave the UK for an EU country in the near future and so have followed this aspect of the issue quite closely! If I may say, I find your second paragraph overly negative. There are approximately 1.22m British nationals now living in EU countries, compared with 2.9m EU nationals living in the UK, and I suggest that the UK will have a good amount of leverage in negotiating rights of residency if/when Article 50 is invoked, as you indeed suggest in your first paragraph.
    – Daria
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 16:17
  • @Daria I expect that the most likely solution will be that any EU and UK citizens who already live abroad will keep their residency and work rights. The alternative would be a sudden forced mass-relocation of millions of people. That would be a lose-lose situation for everyone. But anyone who wants to migrate from then on will have to go through the normal application process. But that's just my personal estimation.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 9:45
  • One thing to take into account is that one of the UK's goals is to get rid of immigrants, so kicking out a portion of those 2.9m EU nationals is not out of the question. None the less I agree that Philipp's described scenario is more likely, just don't think with the current xenophobic situation in the UK the idea of a mass migration is as impossible as it would've been a year ago. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 1:24
  • 1
    @DavidMulder I think the immigrants most of the UK xenophobes want to get rid of are those from North-Africa and the middle east, not those from the EU.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 2:33

Currently you can move to Denmark under Freedom of Movement rules if you want to work there. From there you have a clear path to citizenship if you want it, and of course learning Danish is easier when living in a Danish speaking country.

After Brexit it is possible you will lose this right, if Freedom of Movement ends. The current government position is that it will end. However, since you want to move in about a year's time, before Brexit hits, you may be able to do it and retain your rights.

  • Note that “in about a year’s time” was about half a year ago (the question is from before the referendum).
    – chirlu
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 15:47
  • Yes, my answer was based on that.
    – user
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 16:52

It is not clear what the post-exit relationship between the UK and the EU will look like but it seems likely there will be at least some restrictions on migration. While it is impossible to be sure I would expect for practical reasons that there will be a cut-off date with people who had already migrated at cutoff getting more favorable treatment than those who have yet to migrate. It is not at all clear what date they would use for said cutoff.

As such if your only citizenship is British and you intend to migrate to another EU country I would say it is prudent to do so ASAP. On the other hand it's probably also wise not to sink too much of your capital into said migration (i.e. consider renting rather than buying) until the dust settles and you know for sure whether you will be allowed to stay or forced to move back to the UK.

It may also be worth checking through your family tree to see if you might have claims on any other citizenships.

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