Difference Between Emigrate and Immigrate (With Table)

Emigrate and immigrate are two terms that sound quite similar. However, they have a very subtle difference between them.

Both the words are used in connection with moving from one place to another. Sometimes, due to the confusing nature of the two, people use them interchangeably. But that is not the correct way.

Emigrate vs Immigrate

The difference between emigrate and immigrate is that emigrate refers to the process of leaving one’s homeland in order to reside somewhere else. On the other hand, immigrate refers to the process of moving into a new country, separate from the homeland, in order to occupy a place and dwell there.

The term emigrate is used to define the process of leaving one’s native country in order to live somewhere else. It is similar to the process of relocation. There are many reasons that could influence a person to emigrate. However, there is quite an impact on the economies of the countries involved as well.

The term immigrate is used to define the process of moving into a new country that is not native to the mover. This means that movers must not have the citizenship of the country that they are moving into. Moreover, permanent citizenship for the new residence must be acquired. Or else, a mover must get registered as a naturalized citizen.

Comparison Table Between Emigrate and Immigrate

Parameters of ComparisonEmigrateImmigrate
MeaningTo emigrate means to leave one’s native country in order to move to another country and reside there.To immigrate means to move into a new country and acquiring citizenship to be able to reside there.
FocusThe primary focus here is on leaving the native country.The primary focus here is on moving into a non-native country.
PrefixThe prefix ‘e’ is generally used to denote ‘out of’ or ‘from’.The prefix ‘im’ is generally used to denote ‘in’ or ‘into’.
DerivativesThe derivatives of the word emigrate include emigrant, emigration, emigrating, etc.The derivatives of the word immigrate include immigrant, immigration, immigrating, etc.
ExampleAn example of the term used in a sentence is, ‘My friend was very happy when she emigrated from India to the United States.An example of the term used in a sentence is, ‘My father immigrated to the United States at a very young age.

What is Emigrate?

Emigrate is a term that is used to define the process of leaving one’s native country to find a permanent residence in another. Basically, to emigrate is the same as to relocate. However, it should be kept in mind that the mover must move from a native to a non-native country for it to be termed as emigration.

There are various reasons and factors that lead a person towards deciding to emigrate. Some of them include political issues, social issues, economic issues, family reunification, or even natural disasters. A mover might seek better employment, a higher standard of living, or might simply be looking for better educational opportunities.

However, an important aspect to look at is the economic impact that emigration has on the countries involved. This also includes workforce and consumer expenses. When people emigrate from a country, workforce, and consumer spending lower drastically. This may have a positive impact on relieving unemployment rates.

Interestingly, the number of movers who can emigrate from a particular place is regulated in many countries. A great example of this is the situation in the United States. The number of people who emigrate from the United States is identified and counted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

What is Immigrate?

Immigrate is a term used to refer to the process of moving into a country that is non-native. This is done with the aim of getting citizenship and acquiring permanent residence in the new country. Tourists, travellers, commuters, and others who stay in a non-native country only for a short period do not count as immigrants.

Immigration is beneficial for both the sending and receiving countries when it comes to economic impact. However, whether or not low-skilled immigration has a positive effect on the economy is still arguable. Nonetheless, on average, immigration has always had economically positive benefits for native people. 

Laws and ethics play an important role in the process of immigration. They should be respected by both parties at all times. However, in today’s time, migrant human right is a very debatable topic. Many look at it as a crisis that affects millions.

Host countries, governments, employers as well as the native population must never violate the rights that an immigrant person has. Moreover, an immigrant must make sure that he/she respects the laws and ethics of the new country. When both sides maintain decorum, there is a scope for peace, unity, and positive welfare.

Main Differences Between Emigrate and Immigrate

  1. Emigration refers to leaving one country and settling in a new non-native one while immigration refers to moving into a new non-native country in order to acquire permanent residence.
  2. The primary focus in terms of emigration lies in the process of leaving while in terms of immigration, it lies in moving in.
  3. The prefix of the term ‘emigrate’ denotes ‘out of’ or ‘from’ while the prefix of the term ‘immigrate’ generally denotes ‘in’ or ‘into’.
  4. The derivatives of ‘emigrate’ are emigration, emigrating, emigrant, etc. while the derivatives of ‘immigrate’ include immigration, immigrating, immigrant, etc.
  5. Emigrate is commonly used with the preposition ‘from’ while immigrate is commonly used with the preposition ‘into’.


Emigrate and immigrate are two-term that sound similar and are even spelled quite in the same manner. This obviously causes a lot of confusion while trying to make out their differences.

One of the most major things that distinguish the two is that emigration focuses more on the leaving aspect of the process, while immigration focuses more on the moving in aspect.

Even though both the terms revolve around the concept of moving from a homeland to a non-native land, an easy way to remember the difference is that emigrate deals with the preposition ‘form’ while immigrate deals with the preposition ‘into’.


  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/intlr9&section=23
  2. https://www.nber.org/papers/w16646

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