Epitaxial lift-off (ELO) is a post-growth process that allows an epitaxial layer to be removed from its original substrate and transferred to a new one. ELO has previously been successfully demonstrated for III-V materials and also ZnSe based II-VI semiconductors using a MgS sacrificial layer. Following the recent successful growth of epitaxial MgS layers on GaP and InP substrates, in this paper we compare ELO of II-VI epilayers grown on GaP, GaAs, and InP substrates using MgS sacrificial layers in the range of 7-15 nm thick. Good quality lifted layers are obtained rapidly from InP and GaAs substrates. For GaP substrates, ELO is much slower and good quality lifts have only been achieved with ZnSe epilayers. Photoluminescence spectra obtained from epitaxial layers before and after ELO show changes in peak positions, which are compatible with changes of strain in the layer. The layers produced by ELO are flat and free of cracks, suggesting that this is an efficient and convenient method for the transfer of II-VI epitaxial layers to other substrates. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.