“How do you know which word to use?” I’m asked occasionally. I have to admit that I looked it up every time until I had it figured out: you’re an emigrant in relationship to the country you (or your relatives or characters) come from, and you’re an immigrant in the country you choose to settle in.
Sounds easy, right? But there were still those times I’d get confused again. Eventually I created a simple mnemonic using the word “IN”. In your New country, you’re an Immigrant.
My father’s family immigrated to the US from Ireland, and rumor has it that his uncle escaped the Black and Tans by the skin of his teeth.
Now, if you want to know why emigrant has one “m” and immigrant has two, I’m afraid I just can’t help you there …