I was born in Country X in 1968 and was immigrated with my mother to Country B in which my father had been for 6 years. I was raised up in Country B by my parents since 1978...

My questions are: 1, Since my father had already moved to Country B and been living in there for years, it was said that he was qualified to apply for something (maybe passports) from the government of Country B before my mother and I were allowed to live in Country B legally, so I used the word "immigrate". Is it correctly used in the given situation?
2, But, when looking it up into an online dictionary, I found out its synonym, "migrate". I am wondering if these two words are interchangeable.

  • 2
    1. Immigration isn't passive, even though your mother brought you, so it should be "I was born in Country X in 1968 and immigrated..." 2. "Immigrate" means for an individual to move to a new country. "Migrate" more often is used to mean a process of moving (e.g. migration of toxins through an aquifer) or for a group (e.g. migration of Celts from Iberia). Feb 3, 2015 at 1:05
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    Something not mentioned yet - you emigrate from the first country & immigrate to the new one. The process is migration. Feb 3, 2015 at 4:36

2 Answers 2


The words "emigrate" and "immigrate" are used of people to mean a permanent move from one country to another. On the other hand, the word migrate can be used of people and birds/animals and the move from one country to another or one location to another within the same country may be temporary or permanent.

These three words (migrate, emigrate, and immigrate) are synonyms in the sense that they show permanent move from one country to another (except migrate that may be used for a temporary move), but their usage is different. When you go to live permanently in another country, you use the "migrate" or "emigrate". When you come to live in another country, you use the "immigrate". In other words, if the move is relative to the point of departure, you use migrate or emigrate and if the move is relative to the point of destination, you use immigrate (The Free Dictionary). Please look at the following sentences:

*He migrated/emigrated with his family to the the U.S.A.

*He immigrated here in the USA in 1975.

As you are already in the country "B" at the time of speaking, you can say I immigrated with my mother to country "B".


Regarding Q1, immigrate specifically involves movement to a new country, and usually if not always by people:

to come into a new country, region, or environment, esp. in order to settle there

It does not define or describe any condition of legal status in a country.
legal immigration, illegal immigration and other terms describe such states.

Regarding Q2, migrate only involves movement from one place to another, and as commonly used, on a seasonal or periodic basis. Technically it could be most anything capable of such movement:

1) to move from one place to another; esp., to leave one's country and settle in another
2) to move from one region to another with the change in seasons, as many birds and some fishes do
3) to move from place to place to harvest seasonal crops

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