Difference Between Emigrate and Immigrate

Here we exam the difference between emigrate and immigrate.

They can be confusing words as both refer to a person who leaves one country/region to move to another, usually permanently or at least for a very a long time. 

Basically, a person is an emigrant when they leave their country or region of origin, and immigrants when they arrive at their destination. It's common to have the preposition 'from' with emigrate  and 'to' with immigrate, though this is not always the case.

The words emigrate and immigrate are sometimes used interchangeably which can add to the confusion some have.


Emigrate is a verb that means to leave one's own country or region to settle in another. So it is used when talking about the country one has moved from.

Examples of Emigrate

  • My grandparents emigrated from China in the 1950s for better opportunities.
  • Many people emigrated from Europe to the United States in the early 20th century.
  • He emigrated from his homeland to escape persecution.
  • She emigrated with her family to Australia.
  • The couple plans to emigrate after they retire.


Immigrate is a verb that means to come to a new country or region to settle and live there permanently. So it is used when talking about the country (or region) that one has moved to.

Examples of Immigrate

  • They immigrated to the United States and became citizens.
  • The city has seen an increase in immigrants in recent years.
  • He immigrated from Mexico and found work in the city. (he's an immigrant as he's in the city now so we use 'immigrate', not 'emigrate')
  • She decided to immigrate to Canada for a better life.
  • They were granted permission to immigrate and start a new life.

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