Proposal: Expatriates


  1. Visas — all expats, unless they become naturalized, anyway obey visa requirements. Those requirements may be different (e.g. between tourist/guest vs. marriage/work/student visas), but still they are are governed by the same laws and regulations;
  2. Health and accommodation issues are essentially the same, except slight varieties between short- and long-term healthcare and property rent contracts;
  3. There are many communities (usually, country-specific) where tourists and expats co-exist well. And often these communities still lack traffic. :) On the other hand, I have never seen a pure expat forum.
  4. Out of 28 sample Q's so far, 10 apply very well to both tourists and expats.
  5. Out of 100 recent Q's on Travel I've counted 19 that are also important for expats.

So separating Travel and Expats simply exposes a risk for both projects for being closed due to lack of traffic.

4 Answers 4


The mod team decided that immigration and expatriation questions are off-topic for Travel.SE.

Also, Travel.SE is not in danger of being closed; in fact quite the opposite is true.

I understand where you're coming from, but both topics have areas that are exclusive of each other. It's probably best to keep them separate.

  • SE.Expatriates is for "people living abroad on a long-term basis" but then there is a gap for those people living abroad on a short term basis too. I think there is benefit in having more people visiting a single site to get that critical mass, rather than scatter people through multiple sites Feb 18, 2013 at 19:43

I'm not sure what is lost by keeping expat questions in the Travel SE. It seems to me that expats can offer a lot of good advice to short-term travelers: they went through all the culture-shock recently enough, but as residents they know the country well. On the other hand, pushing expats to another site is throwing away a lot of expert advice. The links sited above reference a thread including this answer on meta, which indicates that the community agrees (currently twice the upvotes of the next two answers).

At ~5 questions a day, I don't think Travel SE is going to get swamped by expat questions. On the other hand, given that immigration was closed, Expatriates could have trouble, meaning that labeling expat questions off-topic will shunt plenty of good information to nowhere.

  • 3
    Good grief no, in addition to it being specifically off topic on the travel.SE site, the SE team (staff, not mods or members) specifically stated that they consider expat questions to be off topic in travel so until that changes, that's a no. This should NOT be the accepted answer.
    – Mark Mayo
    Oct 30, 2012 at 8:46
  • 1
    In addition to? Maybe it's off topic because it was stated as such by the staff, but the cause (staff stated it as off-topic) and the result (it's "specifically" off-topic) should not be confused as two reasons. Either way, this is not a bad answer just because the staff disagrees, they rely on us for feedback.
    – Shep
    Oct 30, 2012 at 22:04
  • Didn't say it was a bad answer; it was considered and thoughtful, I just said it shouldn't be the accepted one. However you linked to a random answer which was provided, rather than the accepted one, from SE staff. And I gave two reasons because it's off topic as a result of the travel community saying so (it's in their faq, edited by community members) and over and above that, has the staff veto. Nothing wrong with giving feedback and opinions, yours or mine, but accepted answer? No. In addition travel.se has been confirmed for graduation, so is not in danger of closing as the OP suggests.
    – Mark Mayo
    Oct 31, 2012 at 1:58
  • I don't understand the emphasis on accepted answers: I linked to a popular answer which wasn't the accepted one, but I made no attempt to disguise it as anything more. We see votes and a check mark next to answers because they provide complementary information. Votes are one measure of community consensus. The accepted answer is the asker's choice, nothing more. There's no need for the two to agree, and frankly insisting that accepted answers should reflect the "official" line smells of censorship, which is bad for SE in general.
    – Shep
    Oct 31, 2012 at 12:42

I agree with todofixthis, but want to stress again, that living in a place is something completely different from traveling.

The personal goals are different, how it affects your life is incomparable, and the actual realization ends in different results.

Some different issues:

  • lodging vs. renting
  • getting vaccines vs. actually going to a doctor regularly
  • keeping your kids from getting bored vs. building a new life for them(friends, school, hobbies, ...)
  • travel permit vs. work permit
  • risk awareness vs. everyday safety
  • habits you can do without vs. parts of a life you have to let go of
  • ...

Being an expatriate is a huge topic, and I'd be more worried about it growing too opinionated with much burrowing in niches, instead of appealing to a broad audience. There are though already other broad topics with successful stackexchange sites (programming, parenting), so I think this should be given a go - and separately from travelling, as the issues is completely different.


There is certainly going to be overlap, just as there is overlap between Stack Overflow and Programmers.

There are expats and immigrants who travel and there are expats and immigrants who don't travel. There are travellers who are expats or immigrants and there are travellers who are not.

Just because you are an expat and have a programming question doesn't mean you must ask it on expats.SE and in the same way just because you are an expat and have a travel question doesn't mean you must not ask it on travel.SE

Questions actually about the act and art of travel should be asked on travel.SE even if you were born in a country other than where you now live.

Questions about the processes and paperwork of becoming an expat and about the day to day needs peculiar to expats should be asked on expats.SE even if you intend to travel to your adpoted country.

It's that easy. If you are a travelling expat and you have questions, ask the ones related to the travelling on travel.SE and the ones about being an expat on expats.SE.

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