• Transit migration;
  • EU borderlands;
  • trajectory ethnography;
  • mobilities turn;
  • sub-Saharan African migration;
  • borders


In the late 1990s transit migration to the European Union (EU) has emerged as a new field of discussion in both policy arenas and academia. It refers to migrants who are moving to third countries in the hope of reaching the EU after a short waiting period in the ‘transit country’. It is often seen as the missing link between emigration and settlement in the framework of irregular migration to the EU. This paper contributes to the transit migration debate by approaching migrants' transit statuses from a mobilities perspective. Based on empirical data gathered by the means of ethnographic engagements with sub-Saharan African migrants in so-called European transit spaces (Morocco and Turkey), it discusses migrants' experienced immobility and physical immobility on their ways to the EU.