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Emigrate vs. Immigrate–What’s the Difference?

  • Emigrate means to leave one location, such as one’s native country or region, to live in another.
  • Immigrate means to move into a non-native country or region to live.
  • Associate the I of immigrate with “in” to remember that the word means moving into a new country.

Is emigrate an alternative spelling of immigrate? If not, what’s the difference between immigrate and emigrate?

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The Meaning of Emigrate

Emigrate is not an alternative spelling of immigrate. Emigrate means to leave a place, such as a country of origin, to settle in another location. Here are some examples. To best understand them, remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria.

Arnold Schwarzenegger emigrated from Austria to the United States.

Emigrate vs. Immigrate–What's the Difference image

The Meaning of Immigrate

To immigrate is to settle in a country where you were not born. Here is an example of the verb immigrate using actress Natalie Portman, who was born in Israel.

Natalie Portman immigrated to the United States at a young age.

How to Remember the Difference Between Immigrate and Emigrate

Immigrate begins with the letter I. If you associate I with “in,” you can easily remember that immigrate means to move into a different country. Emigrate begins with an E, so if you associate it with exit, you’ll remember that it means to leave your home country.


“Canadians who marry someone from abroad shouldn’t have to wait for years to have them immigrate or be left with uncertainty in terms of their ability to stay,” says John McCallum, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

Former Deal or No Deal star, Noel Edmonds is planning to leave Bristol and emigrate, according to reports.

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