Emigrate vs Immigrate What is the Difference

Emigrate vs Immigrate What is the Difference

by / Comments Off / 161 View / Mar 6, 2014

Most people tend to get confused with two or more words that have the same pronunciation and even almost the same spelling. In most cases, they are misused or given the wrong definition which may lead to confusion and misinterpretation. For this reason, it is highly essential to focus on words or terms that are commonly misused or wrongly defined.

Usage Differences

Two of these words are “emigrate” and “immigrate”. They actually got the same meanings but many people are still confused about their proper usage. For this reason, you have to take note of the given information below to use them easily, correctly and confidently when you have to.

The truth is that there are some tricks to remember for you to identify when and when not to use any of these two words. All you have to do is to learn about them. Keep in mind that their distinctions may be subtle, yet are extremely important.




Before proceeding to the distinctions between the words “emigrate” and “immigrate”, you have to consider the word “migrate”. This means moving from one region or country and settling in another. This serves as the umbrella term wherein emigrate and immigrate fall.

When referring to persons, this generally implies permanent move. However, it could mean the temporary relocation. When talking about animals like birds, to migrate means the temporary or seasonal changes in habitat.


To immigrate refers to settle and enter in a certain foreign country, which will leave the past home. It indicates permanent move only for persons. One key feature that will distinguish whether you have to use immigrate or migrate. “Immigrate” refers to the group of persons or individual person that had moved into a foreign new country. On the other hand, “migrate” means no necessity to move into a foreign land. This only implies moving.

Basically, immigrate is typically referring to crossing a certain political boundary (or to move into another country) while migrate is simply moving into another region.




Emigrate means leaving your region or country in order to settle in a new region or country. This term indicates permanent moving and like the world immigrate, this is only applicable to people. The main distinction between emigrate and immigrate is that “emigrating” means the act of leaving one’s country in order to reside in another while “immigrating” refers to the act of going to entering a particular foreign country.


For you to avoid confusion between these words, you should discover about a simple trick. Prefix e- or ex- is usually indicating “from” or “out of”. On the other hand, the im- prefix (or in-) implies “into” or “in”. Thus, to immigrate implies “moving into” while emigrate “moving out of”. To make this trick simpler, you can say to emigrate “from” a place and to immigrate “into a place”.

Knowing such distinctions and similarities between two or more words can be so interesting. Once you are able to discover how to use every term, it will be easier for you to use it during conversations or when certain instances call for.

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