This is based on a discussion about UK student visitor visa refused, Erasmus Mundus scholarship

Our current FAQ states expatriatism starts around long term stays, where long term is defined "at least one year" (at least for visa purposes). Travel.SE's FAQ states that questions about expatriates is off topic, but doesn't really specify what counts as expats or not. They tend to close questions about students going abroad for a whole term/semester (5-6 months) though.

So the question is: should we explicitly allow questions about studying abroad, where the study term is at least one term/semester?

Related: Are all students considered expats?


I personally think such questions should be allowed on both sides and we should also take the OP's choice into account. I find it disrespectful to bounce a question around to satisfy some arcane bureaucratic logic, especially when the person took the trouble to write a detailed, carefully drafted question that is clearly related to the topic of the site.

If we have to decide and can't simply let them be, I see one reason this particular question is closer to many travel questions than to expatriation: 6 months is the threshold for the Standard Visitor visa in the UK. So even if it does not feel as travel-related as a question on package holidays or a week-end city break, much of the same rules will apply to a 5-month stay for work or medical treatment. Consequently, you would expect the same people to be interested in the topic and have relevant expertise, similar questions to have been asked on the travel site before, etc.

(Full time study is not allowed on a Standard Visitor visa so the OP actually applied for a Short-term study visa but we still aren't talking about a long-term Tier 4 (General) student visa)

Incidentally, the relevant threshold for the Schengen area is 3 months, which is another illustration of the danger in arbitrary thresholds set in stone (and one of the reasons I was originally against creating a separate site for expatriation, but that's moot now).

  • I agree with this answer. Especially if the people over at Expats have intimate knowledge of visa systems (which they do). Folks here can help this person, it seems very arbitrary to bounce them somewhere else just because it could also conceivably be answered on another site.Especially when they took the time to actually ask a smart, well-formulated question. +1d to all your points. – la femme cosmique Feb 14 '16 at 10:33

I've changed the relevant part in the FAQ to:

  • Questions about work, residence, student, investor and similar mid and long term visas aimed for staying in the country for more time than a tourist or short term business visa would allow
  • Questions about permanent residence and nationality programs, as they would apply to someone of your nationality living in, or planning to move to a foreign country

I'm pretty sure I voted to close that question in Travel and, if I didn't, I've voted to close plenty of similar ones. And that's because, despite being active-ish on ex-pats, I didn't know about the one year limit. I assume few other people do either.

So, first, it needs to be clear in the 'off-topic' text that ex-pats is for a year+ only. If that's the way you want to go ...

But personally, I've closed questions as off-topic on Travel when they've talked about or implied 'living' somewhere rather than 'visiting'. And I know that's horribly subjective but plenty of other sites in the network deal with that (i.e. StackOverflow and ServerFault or Unix or ... etc, etc). I believe it's better to have overlap rather than a 'grey area'. I'd encourage people to give the benefit of the doubt, particularly on questions that have already been migrated.

And I know Travel is pretty strict about keeping 'on-topic' but honestly the overlap and traffic between these two sites is so much that I considered making a separate answer suggesting they be merged.

BUT I think they can both grow into useful sites in their own right and attract different regulars so I haven't.

However, either it should be clear in the 'off-topic ... migration' box on Travel that ex-pats only takes people who are moving for 1yr+.

OR, my preference, let's change the language to 'visiting' and 'living in' and let the community make the call.

  • 2
    After reading all this twice, I find it difficult to understand what your point is. You vote to close these questions on travel but then you argue it's better to have some overlap and give people the benefit of the doubt, which would seem to suggest that there is no need to close/migrate anything. And if travel is pretty strict about anything, it's a direct result of our votes. It's not very useful to treat this as something that would happen by itself or hope the “community” will make the call when deciding what we should do is precisely the point of this discussion. – Gala Aug 14 '15 at 22:18
  • 1
    @Gala You're right, I didn't make the point well. I voted based on my understanding of the rules at the time, but you're right and I'll vote differently in the future. The larger question is how can we change the rules for both sites such that there's no grey area. I'm not suggesting that this falls to the voting community, I'm asking for a change in the written help for what's on-topic that removes the confusion. – SpaceDog Aug 15 '15 at 1:42

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