I am planning a trip from England to Croatia in this coming July 2016, one month after the EU referendum will have taken place in the United Kingdom.

How would the possibility of Britain leaving the European Union in June affect these travel plans? Would I have to get visas at short notice or would EU freedom of travel still be a possible?

I have searched low and high on the internet looking for detailed information regarding this topic. I'm looking for an official source (Government/EU source or trusted news article) which confirms definitively whether or not I will require a visa. I will upvote useful input but will not accept answers which are simply opinions stated without sources.

  • 18
    One would think that even if the majority voted for leaving, there would be a fair period of time between the vote and when the exit was legally finalized. No government bureaucracy works that quick ;-) Plus one would think that as a UK citizen, you would still have fairly relaxed entry rules like Americans do in EU (unless the EU gets petty about the exit).
    – user13044
    Feb 19, 2016 at 5:14
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    If there's a Brexit, you will not see anything tangible or different until 2020. And that's if all the members act according to deadlines.
    – Gayot Fow
    Feb 19, 2016 at 5:24
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    At the moment this question is a broadly speculative opinion survey. Close voting accordingly.
    – Gayot Fow
    Feb 19, 2016 at 5:45
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    You wouldn't find anything like a 'trusted news article' making a statement about visas at the moment because it's silly. Pure speculation. Sure, there are working groups out there but their minutes are not publically distributed. Whether UK citizens will need visas or not will be a result of the exit negotiations. Negotiations will not begin until after all the members have responded to the consultation. They will be thorny and drawn out and the first changes will be customs and duty. 2020 at the earliest. Take it or leave it :)
    – Gayot Fow
    Feb 19, 2016 at 6:23
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    Tourists are 99% likely to remain unaffected (all developed countries in the world can visit the EU visa free at this moment). It's those who live abroad for a long time that will suffer, especially the people who didn't bother applying for permanent residence despite living abroad for many years.
    – JonathanReez
    Feb 19, 2016 at 10:27

2 Answers 2


There will be absolutely no change for you. No change in visa requirements. No change in anything.

Firstly, post-referendum the UK government need to work out terms of the exit. Based on prior examples, this could take forever! Then, Article 50 gives a timeline at 2 years from notifying the EU of exit terms.

  1. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

O.m. Is slightly misguided - there is no way to immediately do this.

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    +1, v nice. Also, the Referendum Act 2015 provides that a 'yes' vote merely authorizes the government to INFORM the EU of its intentions. That's all. After that, Lisbon kicks in :)
    – Gayot Fow
    Feb 19, 2016 at 8:14
  • No - very different case :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Feb 19, 2016 at 9:50
  • Nah - it's a minimum after the UK gov come to an agreement. It's not a maximum - even the wording is specific on this. Realistically, after referendum, we will have a year or two while UK gov decide how to do it, then at least 2 years from the agreement.
    – Rory Alsop
    Feb 19, 2016 at 10:01
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    Funnily enough three and a half years later Brexit is still not finalized, so "forever" is indeed the right word
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 7, 2019 at 19:21

Almost certainly there is no immediate effect. Whatever the outcome of the vote, there will be a lengthy transitional period.

However, one cannot categorically exclude the possibility that the UK government declares an immediate exit the day after the vote and that the rest of the EU reacts by accepting immediately.

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    Accepting immediately... Doesn't Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty call for two years?
    – Gayot Fow
    Feb 19, 2016 at 6:53
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    @GayotFow no, that's not how I read it. Article 50 says that the treaties will cease to apply after a withdrawal agreement is made OR 2 years after a state indicates it wishes to leave. I can't see anything that would prohibit a withdrawal agreement being put into place sooner if one were negotiated. Feb 19, 2016 at 10:06
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    @NigelHarper only if the withdrawal agreement (which needs to be signed by every member state) specifies an earlier date: 'The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after ...'
    – abligh
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:02
  • @NigelHarper, the withdrawing member cannot make the withdrawal agreement alone.
    – Gayot Fow
    Feb 19, 2016 at 18:09
  • @GayotFow of course they can't, but so what? Feb 22, 2016 at 12:36

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