Emigrate vs. Immigrate: Differences in Meaning and Usage

Get a clear understanding of the difference between emigrate vs. immigrate. See how both words are used through several sentence examples. Learn how to keep emigration vs. immigration straight through a simple memory trick.

emigrate from India versus immigrate to USA emigrate from India versus immigrate to USA

What’s the Difference Between Emigrate and Immigrate?

The key difference between emigrate and immigrate is whether you are coming or going. The term "to emigrate" means you're leaving your old country to come to a new country. On the other hand, when you immigrate, you’re coming to a new country from the country you were born in. Confused? Check out each term with examples to see the whole picture of the difference between emigration vs. immigration.

The Meaning of Emigrate

It’s time to dive into emigrate. When it comes to emigrating, you are talking about when someone is leaving their home country or the country they were born in to settle in a new place. When someone emigrates, there are two important things to remember:

  1. This is a permanent move.
  2. You’re only talking about people.

For example, “Tyler’s family emigrated from Switzerland a few years ago.” That means Tyler’s family left their home country of Switzerland to come to a new land to live.

Emigrate in a Sentence

If you’re still a bit fuzzy on what emigrate means, it can help look at it through a few example sentences.

  • My parents emigrated from India about 10 years ago.
  • I heard that her family emigrated from Pakistan.
  • We are emigrating from Honduras.
  • The emigration of the family was needed for their survival.
  • We are going to emigrate from Russia to be closer to our family in Brazil.
  • Because my husband is from Canada, it was easy for me to emigrate from Brazil.
  • My grandma emigrated from Japan.

The Meaning of Immigrate

With emigrate firmly solidified in your brain, it’s time to look at immigrate. Immigrate is all about where you are going, not where you left. Therefore, when you immigrate, you’re entering a new country and leaving the past behind. Just like with emigrate, when you immigrate, it’s a permanent move made by people. For example, “Tyler’s family immigrated to the United States a few years ago.” This means that Tyler’s family permanently moved to the United States from an undisclosed home country.


Immigrate in a Sentence

Examples can speak louder than words, so check out how immigrate is used in a sentence to truly see this meaning in action.

  • My grandpa immigrated to Brazil in 2000.
  • My family immigrated to China.
  • He immigrated into the United States.
  • Immigration handles all the foreigners coming in from other countries.
  • The whole family immigrated to Belize.
  • To be closer to his family, he immigrated to Canada.
  • Many Chinese and Italians immigrated to the United States to escape their home countries.
  • We are thinking of immigrating to England because of our son.
  • Our whole family immigrated to Japan for my mother’s job opportunity.

What About Migration?

When you are talking about emigration vs. immigration, migration typically also falls into the mix. There are two distinct differences when it comes to emigration vs. immigration vs. migration.

1. Migrate can talk about more than just people. For example, birds migrate south every year.

2. Migration is a temporary move. For example, my grandma migrates to Florida every winter.

Tips for Remembering the Difference Between Emigration vs. Immigration

Since the words emigrate and immigrate are so similar, it can be easy to get them confused. However, there is one sure-fire way to keep them straight by remembering the phrase:

Emigrates are exiting, but immigrants are coming in.

Emigrate and exit both start with "e" and are talking about leaving or exiting. Immigrant and in both start with "i" and are talking about coming in or entering someplace. So, if you can remember that phrase, you’re set to know the difference between these two tricky words.


Emigrate vs. Immigrate: A Tricky Difference

When talking about emigrate vs. immigrate, it’s all about where you are going. But both are permanent moves of a person. Now that you know this tricky word combination, you can dissect affect vs. effect.