The article compares how secessionist elites in Scotland and Catalonia discursely and legally constituted the people that is the subject of their claim of self-determination in relation to immigrant and emigrant populations during their recent bid for independence (2012-2017). The results point to important similarities between the two cases, which privileged the territorial inclusion of immigrants over the ethnocultural inclusion of emigrants and embraced the principle of multiple nationality. The outcome is interpreted as a sub-set of a broader ‘independence lite’ strategy, serving the aim of reducing the prospective cost of independence in the eye of the population they seek support from, and of the international community of states they seek recognition from.