Emigrate and Immigrate

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between emigrate and immigrate?
  • Emigrate means to leave one country and settle in another.
  • (Emigrate focuses on the point of departure.)
  • Immigrate means to enter a new country with the purpose of staying there.
  • (Immigrate focuses on the point of arrival.)

Emigrate and Immigrate

To emigrate and to immigrate are similar in meaning, but there is a difference. To emigrate focuses on the point of departure, while to immigrate focuses on the point of arrival. For example:
  • I emigrated to England in the 1990s.
  • ("I left my homeland in the 1990s.")
  • I immigrated to England in the 1990s.
  • ("I've been living in England since the 1990s.")


The verb to emigrate focuses on leaving your home country to move permanently to another.

  • People say there's no quality of life in Russia, and everyone wants to emigrate.
  • Very few inhabitants emigrate from this province, where the birth-rate considerably exceeds the death-rate.
  • It is foolish to claim, as some do, that emigration into space offers a long-term escape from Earth's problems. Nowhere in our solar system offers an environment even as clement as the Antarctic or the top of Everest. (Martin Rees)
  • (Emigration is the noun from the verb to emigrate.)


The verb to immigrate means to move to a new country with the purpose of settling there. Immigrate focuses on entering the new country.

  • New Zealanders who immigrate to Australia raise the IQ of both countries. (Robert Muldoon)
  • Immigration is one of the leading contributors to population growth. (Paul Watson)
  • (Immigration is the noun from the verb to immigrate.)
Interactive Test

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words