Independence: what you need to know

Information about Scotland's future.

International relations

The Scottish Government’s policies for an independent Scotland at a glance

  • an independent Scotland would apply to re-join the European Union (EU)
  • EU membership would provide people in Scotland with free movement across the EU
  • in the EU, Scotland would represent it’s interests directly and contribute to one of the most influential actors on international human rights and equality policies
  • border arrangements that best suit Scotland’s needs
  • a written set of rules, or ‘constitution’, for Scotland would give an opportunity to commit to further international human rights treaties, further protecting the rights of the people of Scotland
  • a simple and straightforward processes for anyone in the world to choose Scotland as their home and become a Scottish citizen


Under an arrangement called the Common Travel Area, people in Scotland would be able to live, work and move freely within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.

All British and Irish citizens would continue to live, work and move freely in Scotland.

An independent Scotland would have the powers to set immigration policies that would welcome and attract talent from around the world. This would provide more flexibility for people and business. 

An independent Scotland would seek to re-join the European Union. As an EU member state, Scotland would protect its place in the single market which requires checks on certain goods from outside the EU – either at the border or elsewhere.

The Scottish Government would prepare measures to help traders adapt to new procedures and requirements.

This Scottish Government would establish safe routes for refugees and displaced people to come to Scotland in a new immigration system in an independent Scotland. You can read more about these in the migration section of these pages, or in the migration paper.

You can read more about EU membership in the European Union section of these pages, or in the Independent Scotland in the European Union paper.


A written constitution – a set of rules which help guide how a country works – would include confirmation that a Scottish armed forces would defend and protect Scotland’s interests. This Government proposes that the interim constitution should also include a duty to begin the process of removing nuclear weapons from Scotland.

This Scottish Government would apply to join the EU as soon as possible and would work in partnership with the EU to deliver defence and security capabilities that keep Scotland safe and uphold international peace and stability.

As an EU member state Scotland would be part of the EU’s work to promote global peace and security, and help deliver:

  • diplomacy
  • humanitarian aid
  • development co-operation
  • climate action
  • human rights
  • economic support and trade policies
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