There are literally hundreds of potential villagers for you to meet while playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons — 393 of them, to be exact. However, you can only have up to 10 villagers living on your island at a time. To help you populate your island with your favorite characters, we’ve included tips for how to get a villager to move to your island and how to keep them happy while they’re there. Of course, if you’re just not having it, we also have tips for how to make a villager move out in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
How to recruit new villagers
In order to invite new villagers to your island, you will need to have gotten far enough in the game to be able to travel to other islands using a Nook Miles Ticket. That means that at a minimum, you must have been playing for more than one day. If you haven’t gotten here yet, don’t expect to find new villagers just yet.
Visit other islands
In order to recruit the first three villagers, you’ll need to have some Nook Miles Tickets. These can be bought for 2,000 Nook Miles each from the kiosk at Resident Services. Then run to the airport and tell Orville, the dodo behind the counter, that you want to explore another island.
While you’re exploring, you might come across a random animal NPC. Talk to them and invite them to live on your island. Then you’ll have to wait until Tom Nook asks you to scout out a plot of land for these newcomers (this happens after you’ve built Nook’s Cranny). One of the new villagers you invited will appear on your island the day after you’ve completed setting up the new housing area.
Things change once your island starts getting a bit more established. For instance, after you finally upgrade Resident Services from a tent to a proper building, you’ll eventually be able to set up a campsite for traveling villagers. Talk to these guests while they’re visiting and you might be able to convince them to stay on the island. Campers might appear of their own volition or you can make one appear using amiibo. A camper that just randomly appears behaves a little differently than one that gets summoned with an amiibo card.
Villagers that just randomly appear in the campsite will want to play games with you. This usually takes the form of a card game of some sort where you need to guess the color or the suite of the card that the villager is holding. You can earn items from them if you win these games. Eventually you can even ask them to move in, however, they’ll only agree to it if you can win their games. You’ll need to talk to them multiple times to get to the point where you can suggest that they move in. However, if you already have 10 villagers, then the camper will decide who they want to boot from your island to make way for themselves.
Dust off your amiibo
All of those adorable Animal Crossing amiibo cards that you either just collected or have had on your shelf for a few years can finally be put to good use.
Once the campsite has been built on your island, run to the Nook Stop kiosk and invite an animal to your campsite. You’ll then need to scan your amiibo by hovering it over the joystick on your right Joy-Con. Shortly thereafter, you’ll discover that a new camper has appeared on your island. Talk to them and convince them to move in. Instead of playing games with them, you will need to convince them by crafting multiple items for them and inviting them back several days in a row. Make sure to talk to them multiple times while they are on your island. If you already have 10 villagers on your island then you’ll get to decide who gets removed to make way for the new resident.
Preparing land for new residents
As your island develops, additional villagers won’t be ok with roughing it and will want a nice place to live. As such, when Resident Services is in a proper building, you’ll be able to influence your island a whole lot more. Tom Nook will enlist you to help him sell land for housing development. This of course means that you will need to ready the land for your new residents. It’ll cost you 10,000 Bells to set up each new plot, but you’ll earn 1,000 Nook Miles for your efforts.
Pay Tom Nook the 10,000 Bells for a house kit and then locate the perfect spot for a new home. Once a housing kit is placed, it will become a proper home the following day.
Adopting villagers from other players’ islands
WARNING: This method was causing some glitching. However, it appears that Nintendo has fixed the issue with the 1.1.2 update.
Whenever a villager is planning on leaving an island, it will take them a full day to pack up their things before they actually leave. If you happen to visit another person’s island while a villager is in this packing state, you can invite said villager to live on your own island. However, you won’t be able to adopt them if you already have 10 villagers.
As mentioned above, many players discovered a glitch with this method. The glitch made it so that a plot of land on your own island wouldn’t get completed. This in turn made it so the invited villager never moved in and worse, made it so you couldn’t place any more houses on your island. However, it seems that Nintendo released a fix for this bug with the 1.1.2 update.
How to keep your favorite villagers happy
Now that your villagers are here on the island, they’re going to want to feel appreciated and liked. Keep them happy by talking to them every day, occaisionally writing them letters, and fulfilling errands for them. It also helps to remember their birthdays. Don’t forget to give them presents they’ll enjoy. If you turn your game off for several months or even days, your favorite villagers might pack up and leave, so you’ll need to check in regularly.
Warning: If a villager starts walking around with a cloud around their head, that means something is troubling them. They might even be considering moving out. If that’s the case, make sure you talk to them and convince them to stay. If you’re regularly playing your game every day, you’re more likely to catch a villager when they get like this. Otherwise, they might move out if you haven’t played for awhile.
Can Isabelle help me boot out a villager?
Contrary to what it might seem, talking to Isabelle won’t make villagers leave. If you talk to her at Resident Services, there’s an option to Discuss a resident. If you select this option, you’ll be able to select one of your villagers and tell Isabelle that either the way they talk or the way they dress is upsetting you.
This is mainly there so that you can reset a character’s clothing or catchphrase in the event that someone gave them clothing with something inappropriate on it or taught them a rude phrase. Isabelle ensures that their clothes and catchphrase gets set back to the default option.
How to make villagers move out
As you keep playing, you might decide that you really just don’t care for one of your animal neighbors or that you’re ready for someone new to join your village. If that’s the case, there are three ways that you can boot someone off your island. And no, Smacking them in the head with a net won’t make them leave, it only makes them sad or angry.
Here are the ways that you make a villager leave your island.
Methods for getting a villager to move out
1. The Shunning
It isn’t the fastest option and it might seem cruel, but following these steps is a surefire way to get someone to leave your island.
- Step 1 – Zip your lips: Don’t talk to this particular villager for several days. Just act as if they don’t exist. But don’t forget to talk to the other villagers on your island.
- Step 2 – Personal cloud: Eventually, you’ll see this villager walking around slowly with a cloud over its head. This means that they are considering leaving the island. Approach them and initiate a conversation.
- Step 3 – Tell them to get out of town: The villager will tell you that they’ve been thinking about leaving. When they ask you if you want them to stay, let them know it’s time they moved along.
2. Using the campsite and amiibo cards
If you’ve built the campsite and have Animal Crossing amiibo cards you can invite specific villagers to your island and hopefully convince them to move in. Thing is, if you already have 10 occupied houses on your island, then you’ll have to choose which of your current residents gets the boot to make way for the camper you’ve just invited.
Visiting campers can be really hard to convince, though. You’ll likely need to invite them to your island at least three times and craft souvenirs for them each day they visit. Make sure to check in with them multiple times each day to see if they’re willing to move in permanently. I had to invite Flora three days in a row and craft her some furniture each day, before she became interested in staying. But, then I was able to choose which of my villagers I kicked off of my island to make way for her.
3. Time Traveling
I’m personally not a big fan of time traveling within Animal Crossing games since it feels kind of like cheating and it also has the potential to mess with your game. However, there is a time traveling method that ensures you can get someone to move off of your island. You just don’t get to choose which villager it is. Here’s how to do it.
- Go into the System Settings menu on your Nintendo Switch.
- Scroll down to System.
- Select Date and Time.
- Select Synchronize Clock via Internet to turn it off.
- Change the date to two weeks from now.
- Enter your Animal Crossing game and look for a villager with a thought bubble over its head.
- Talk to this villager. If they tell you that they’ve been thinking about leaving, tell them to hit the road. If you don’t want that particular character to leave. Tell them to stay. If you want to try again, set the date to two additional weeks away and once again look for the character with the thought bubble.
- Change the date to the next day and the enter New Horizons again. The villager should have moved out and now you have a vacancy.
- Now you can get another villager to move in by either using a Nook Miles Ticket to travel to an island and look for a new villager or wait and see who fills that villager’s place. If a house is left empty for a few days, a new villager will automatically move in.
Now that you know how to invite new villagers, maintain relationships with current residents, and kick other villagers off the island you have better control of who your villagers are. I hope you’re able to find all of your favorite villagers and that all of your residents are able to get along well together.