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La Diferencia Entre Un Expatriado Y Un Inmigrante

5 minutos de lectura

La Diferencia Entre Un Expatriado Y Un Inmigrante

Mudarse a un nuevo país en busca de un futuro mejor es una aventura humana eterna. El atractivo de nuevos horizontes y la promesa de oportunidades han empujado a personas de todos los rincones del mundo a tierras extranjeras.

Dentro de este vasto panorama de migración global, a menudo surgen dos términos: “expatriado” e “inmigrante”. Si bien pueden usarse indistintamente o incluso con fines políticos, estos términos conllevan distinciones sutiles pero cruciales que comparten los caminos de quienes se mudan a tierras extranjeras.

En este artículo, descubriremos los matices que distinguen a estos términos y al mismo tiempo señalaremos sus puntos en común. Además, profundizaremos en las motivaciones, desafíos y triunfos que definen sus experiencias únicas.

Entonces, ya sea que estés buscando un mejor régimen fiscal, un nuevo hogar o simplemente una aventura, repasaremos los pormenores de estos dos términos para aquellos que buscan nuevas oportunidades fuera de su país de origen.


Kuldiga, Latvia

Kuldiga, Latvia


At a glance, being an expat might sound like an elite status for those who live a life of glamour and jet-setting adventures. But let’s break it down.

An expat, short for “expatriate,” literally means “outside their homeland.” In Latin, “ex” means “outside” and “Patria” means “native country,” thus the definition. In reality, this is a very reductionist view of the lives of expats, as they often involve more than just living somewhere other than their place of birth.

For example, expats go abroad for better work opportunities, the allure of new experiences, or even a simple wish to break away from the familiar routine. Picture the software engineer sent to South Korea for a project, a digital nomad exploring Argentina, or simply a retiree enjoying his golden years in Mexico.

Essentially, expats embrace the global stage and often hop between countries like scenes in a play.


DEFINición de inmigrante 

Por otro lado, ser inmigrante puede parecer como si las familias empacaran sus vidas en maletas y se embarcaran en viajes hacia lo desconocido. Pero este concepto se extiende más allá de eso.

La palabra “inmigrante” se refiere a alguien que llega a un país extranjero para establecer raíces allí. En latín, "in" significa "hacia" y "migrar" significa "moverse de un país o región a otro". Al igual que "expatriado", esta definición es incompleta ya que a menudo pasa por alto los motivos para mudarse al extranjero.

En ocasiones, este término tiene connotaciones negativas, especialmente después de las últimas décadas de inmigración ilegal en las naciones desarrolladas. Es evidente que algunos inmigrantes están motivados por el bienestar, pero otros siguen los procedimientos adecuados y sólo quieren escapar de guerras, dictaduras y otras circunstancias desafortunadas.

Por ejemplo, los inmigrantes pueden buscar establecer una residencia permanente en un país extranjero. Este viaje está impulsado por la búsqueda de estabilidad, oportunidades y el deseo de crear un nuevo hogar. Imagínese a la pareja china que abre una tienda en San Francisco, a la familia india que abre un restaurante en Londres o a una joven pareja latinoamericana que quiere formar una familia en Florida.

Esencialmente, los inmigrantes son como arquitectos que sientan las bases de su futuro en nuevas tierras, generalmente para ellos y sus familias.


Peñol Stone in Guatape in Colombia

Peñol Stone in Guatape in Colombia


As you can tell, expats and immigrants embark on these journeys with distinct motivations and intentions.

Expats, often driven by the prospect of professional advancement and personal growth, view their time abroad as a trampoline to enrich their skill sets and broaden their horizons. They might be seeking the excitement of change, the experience of new cultures, or the allure of uncharted territories.

Immigrants, on the other hand, are focused on a different kind of journey. Their motivations are rooted in the desire for a better life, not just for themselves but often for their families and future generations. They see their decision to relocate as an opportunity to forge connections, create strong communities and immerse themselves in the culture of the new home.

Note that an expat and an immigrant might go abroad for the same reasons. For instance, an expat might want to escape his homeland in search of more safety, and an immigrant might move to a different country to earn a better salary. In this context, the reasons for moving abroad are endless.


Related content: Top 8 Locations Expats Can Build A Real Life Abroad



One of the most notable distinctions between expats and immigrants lies in the length of their stay and the level of integration within their host countries. 

Expats are typically on a shorter timeline, with their stays spanning a few years at most. They might find themselves hopping from one assignment to another, enjoying the novelty of each new location and embracing the novelty of each new location. Their main focus is their work and personal development.

In contrast, immigrants adopt a long-term perspective from the outset. Their goal is not just to reside in a foreign country but to become an integral part of that country’s social fabric. Immigrants must invest time and effort into understanding the nuances of their host culture, learning the local language and forming deep connections with both locals and fellow immigrants.


Atlantic Entrance to Panama Canal, Colon

Atlantic Entrance to Panama Canal, Colon


When it comes to forming social connections, expats and immigrants may have commonalities but also many differences.

Expats frequently find comfort in the company of fellow expats, forming tight-knit communities that share common experiences and challenges. These communities serve as a safety net in the midst of change, offering support during the ups and downs of life overseas. However, the transient nature of expat life can sometimes make these connections feel fleeting as individuals come and go.

For immigrants, the journey toward social integration is multifaceted. They not only seek to connect with their fellow compatriots but also endeavour to build relationships with locals. This dual effort allows them to bridge the gap between their heritage and their new home. Immigrants might find themselves at community gatherings, sharing stories of their roots while also embracing the traditions and customs of their host country. However, the desire to hold on to their roots might make them not fully integrate into their home country’s society.



The question of identity looms large for both expats and immigrants as they have to juggle preserving heritage and adapting to their new surroundings.

Expats often find themselves navigating a complex terrain where their sense of identity is both preserved and challenged. They hold onto the customs and traditions of their home country, often forming small enclaves within their host cities that offer a taste of familiarity.

Immigrants go through a path that requires an ongoing evolution. Literally and figuratively, it’s like learning a new language — there are moments of confusion, breakthrough moments, and a constant effort to find the right words to express themselves.


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Dubai Marina and Dubai Eye Ferris Wheel

Dubai Marina and Dubai Eye Ferris Wheel


When setting foot on unfamiliar soil as an expat or an immigrant, there's a world of adventure and growth awaiting. However, this journey comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities for growth. Here are some invaluable tips that apply to both profiles, helping you make the most of your experience while fostering positive connections and enriching your life abroad:



Whether you're an expat or an immigrant, cultural sensitivity is paramount. Respect the customs, traditions, and way of life of your host nation. Adapting to local customs enriches your experience and demonstrates your commitment to being a respectful guest or an engaged member of your new community.



Creating a network that spans both your native/expat community and the local population can be incredibly rewarding. Engage with fellow expats to share experiences, exchange tips, and offer mutual support. However, don't limit yourself to expat circles. Building relationships with locals can provide deeper insights into your host country's culture, traditions, and way of life. Maintain your identity while becoming part of your new environment.



Respect is a universal currency. Whether you're an expat or an immigrant, treating others with kindness and consideration goes a long way. For expats, this means acknowledging that you're a guest in your host country, contributing positively to the local community, and learning from their way of life. For immigrants, it involves recognizing the value of their host country's culture while preserving their heritage.


Related content: How Do Canadians Legalize Documents For Immigration?


Punta del Este, Uruguay

Punta del Este, Uruguay


The terms "expat" and "immigrant" tell a story of diverse aspirations and shared humanity. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they possess distinct shades of meaning that reflect the journeys individuals undertake to create better lives.

Expats, driven by growth and change, venture across borders like actors on a world stage. Immigrants, architects of their destinies, forge lasting connections and roots in foreign lands. 

Through these lenses, we've uncovered the motivations, challenges, and triumphs that define their unique experiences. Whether pursuing a new adventure, professional growth, or stability, those who journey beyond their homeland offer a testament to the universal desire for a brighter future.


Informe Sobre Protección Offshore



Ayudo a mis clientes a mudarse al extranjero en busca de libertad, privacidad y autonomía, centrándome en los problemas de inmigración, legalidad e impuestos que enfrentarás al convertirte en un expatriado. Si te gustaría trabajar uno a uno conmigo para salir de tu país de origen (o establecer una ubicación de Plan B), entonces lee esta carta importante y rellena un formulario de solicitud para convertirte en un Cliente Privado. Mis honorarios no son baratos; sin embargo, te puedo asegurar que cuando trabajas con una firma profesional como la nuestra, los resultados valdrán la pena.



Si deseas obtener la mejor información del mundo de los expatriados, incluyendo oportunidades lucrativas en el extranjero, estrategias poco conocidas para ahorrar impuestos y conocimientos valiosos sobre inmigración, pasaportes y residencias de Plan B, todo enviado a tu bandeja de entrada cada semana, entonces únete a nuestra correspondencia diaria, EMS Pulse. Actualmente disfrutado por más de 37,000 expatriados y aspirantes a expatriados en todo el mundo. Rellena el formulario a continuación para unirte a nuestro boletín de noticias gratuito:


Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup es el consultor de expatriados más solicitado del mundo. Se enfoca en ayudar a clientes privados con alto patrimonio a mitigar legalmente las obligaciones tributarias, obtener una segunda residencia y ciudadanía, y armar una cartera de inversiones extranjeras que incluye bienes raíces internacionales, plantaciones de madera, tierras agrícolas y otros activos tangibles de dinero duro. Mikkel es el fundador y CEO de Expat Money®, una firma de consultoría privada que comenzó en 2017. Presenta el popular podcast semanal, Expat Money Show, y escribió el libro definitivo #1 en ventas Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money.

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