I'm sure I'm not the first ex-pat to join this site, then be a little surprised to, first, see that 100% of non-closed questions on the front page were legalistic in nature (status, permits, visas, etc), and second, to learn that this is largely by design.

I'm having trouble understanding when I would actually use this site:

  • My actual questions to do with living as an ex-pat will be off-topic here (or at least, they'll turn into tedious close-reopen conflicts). Anything that isn't directly related to my legal status can be interpreted as also affecting locals (particularly incomers from other regions). So, for these, I'll use forums, or, if possible, I'll try to make them on topic at travel.SE or workplace.SE
  • If and when I have questions about legal status issues, I'll ask them at Law.SE, because that's where the lawyers are

Which leaves me puzzled because I'm an expat with expat related questions and knowledge, and I'm an enthusiastic long-standing SE user, but I can't see any situation when I'd use the SE expat site.

Every question I can see on the homepage, I think I'd personally have asked on Law.SE - but maybe there's something I've overlooked? What does this site offer that Law.SE doesn't?

Edit: I just saw the closely related Expatriates sucks because most questions are about Immigration. One of the answers there suggests such questions would be welcome, but this shows that in reality, that's not true and "edge cases" get closed.

  • 1
    I'm not very familiar with Law.SE (or law/lawyers in general). Does that site cover all bureaucratic procedures?
    – Dan Getz
    Dec 1, 2015 at 17:38
  • As I said in the un-linked answer. I think this is something we can, and should, fix. I am not sure how, but we need to work on it. I brought it up in chat.
    – StrongBad
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:32
  • @StrongBad Clarifying the policy, and adding examples "this is okay / this is borderline but still okay / this is where the line gets crossed" would be a good start. Separate thought, has anyone here considered going the opposite way - embracing being the site for migration rule experts, taking the visa questions from Travel.SE where they're currently unpopular with many users, becoming "Visas & Migration" focusing on attracting experts in that field, meanwhile Travel.SE deals with all traveller-life questions regardless of duration of stay? Jul 13, 2016 at 15:44
  • @user568458 excellent points and lots to think about. Will you post that in chat. I think that might be the best place to have the wider discussion.
    – StrongBad
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:46
  • @StrongBad Sorry I'm getting distracted too much today already. Feel free to take it and run with it! Jul 13, 2016 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


There can be overlaps between StackExchange sites, and that's usually not a problem. You are right, that a lot of strictly law related questions are okay on Law.SE, while some workplace related questions are okay on Workplace.SE. For Travel, they have a no-expat policy (hence this site was born), so I wouldn't say that their site covers our though.

While I'm not really active on Law.SE and don't know their definition of 'on-topic', if you check the home page, there are a few questions that are probably not on topic there, or on any of the other SE sites you've mentioned:

And there are some others as well.

Although you do have a good point in pointing it out that we do have some trouble figuring out what "something locals would face as well" mean exactly, especially since a lot of these things might come as a "cultural shock" for someone who just moved from a differnt culture. That's why questions like GEZ / ARD ZDF Germany Radio - can I ask not to pay for it? or Postal Service in France are on-topic, and not closed.

  • Interesting, those two questions at the bottom look quite close to the sort of thing I'd want to ask but would anticipate becoming a tedious battle. Right now the policy seems pretty unclear, it'd be great to see some kind of clear "here is where the line is" with examples of what is just on and what is just off. Nov 30, 2015 at 18:55
  • 1
    @user568458 True, and it would be good to have something like that. As a general note: if you can describe in the question why you think it's more relevant to an expat than to a local, it usually stays open
    – SztupY Mod
    Nov 30, 2015 at 20:57
  • 1
    @user568458 we are still a young/beta site trying to figure out where the line it. It is useful if people ask questions that push our boundries. That is the way we figure out where the line is.
    – StrongBad
    Dec 3, 2015 at 12:41
  • @user568458 if you check even there there is a slight disagreement. You can always open up a meta post if you feel that something was closed unnecessarily
    – SztupY Mod
    Jul 7, 2016 at 11:06

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