Abstract: We conceptualize motivations to emigrate as expressions of basic motivations in the context of emigration. We propose three theoretically distinct motivations to emigrate: preservation (physical, social, and psychological security), self-development (personal growth in abilities, knowledge, and skills), and materialism (financial wellbeing, wealth). We validate this typology in a sample of 158 potential Jewish emigrants from Russia with confirmatory factor analysis of reasons to emigrate. Each motivation correlates, as hypothesized, with the basic values theorized to underlie it. The relative importance of the motivations and their associations with preferred destination of immigration, group identifications, subjective wellbeing, and economic situation are also largely consistent with hypotheses. We discuss the generalizability of these motivations for understanding emigration in settings around the world.