How many of your friends and family have left the country to live abroad? Do you consider yourself an immigrant or an expat?

Both labels are meant to identify people as living outside of their country of origin. However, immigrants and expats face different hardships and scenarios. These differences can sometimes be hard to understand.

We’re here to make it a little easier. Read below to learn how to tell the difference between an immigrant vs expat.

What Is an Immigrant?

An immigrant is a person who has moved from one place to another. Usually to a new country in order to live and work legally. Immigrants often leave their homeland with hopes and dreams of a better life.

An immigrant must go through a process called naturalization. This includes taking specific tests, showing proficiency in English, and having a sponsor.

Once the person has gone through naturalization, they will receive a citizenship certificate. It allows them to become a legal resident of the new country.

What Is an Expat?

An expat is someone who moves temporarily to a different country for personal or professional reasons. So while immigrants can choose to become citizens of the host country through naturalization, expats remain citizens of their home countries while they are living overseas. An expat often stays for the duration of the job contract and usually returns home with a new skill set or a new perspective on life.

The Different Types of Benefits Available to Immigrants and Expats

There are differences in benefits between an immigrant vs expat.

Immigrants typically have access to a wide range of public services. This includes health care and education, usually subsidized by their host country. They can also access other benefits, such as public housing and employment protections. Depending on the country, citizens may be eligible for different social security programs and pension plans.

On the other hand, expats typically do not have access to the same benefits as immigrants. Generally, they are not eligible for public benefits, such as health care and education.

However, they can often access other types of benefits. Such as assistance with taxes and expatriate assistance programs. Additionally, depending on their country of origin, they may be eligible for some social security and retirement plans.

Comparing Visas and Government Support for Immigrants and Expats

Immigrants and expats need to obtain certain visas and certain government support programs. The two groups differ slightly in their visa options as well as the government support they can receive.

Immigrant visas usually require more extensive paperwork, as they are often coming to stay in the country for a longer period. Furthermore, they may also receive more extensive immigration services. Such as assistance with their visa applications, job placement, and schooling for their children.

In terms of government support, immigrants might be eligible for some programs, such as DREAMers or TPS relief and immigration services.

Expats, on the other hand, could be eligible for government initiatives. This includes internal enterprise immigration, immigration and employment grants, and visas for entrepreneurs.

Ultimately, both immigrants and expats have distinct visa and government support programs available. It is important to evaluate them all before making a choice. Check these immigration legal services that you might need or need soon.

Immigrant vs Expat

Overall, understanding the differences between an immigrant vs expat is essential for anyone considering relocating to a new country. If you are thinking of making a move abroad, don’t hesitate to reach out and make an informed decision.

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