H&C Applications – Humanitarian and Compassionate Canada

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds ApplicationAmani is a citizen of the Republic of South Sudan. He was an international student in Canada when South Sudan gained its independence in 2011. Amani was a successful student and completed his Master’s degree in Canada. He started working in Canada on a Post-Graduate Work Permit. Unfortunately, doctors diagnosed Amani with a rare disease six months ago. Since the condition is a substantial financial burden for the Canadian immigration system, Amani will face inadmissibility on health grounds. However, South Sudan won’t be able to offer Amani the treatments he needs. On the other hand, Amani has established himself in Canada in the past few years. Therefore, he wonders if he could immigrate to Canada under Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds (H&C).  If yes, how does IRCC process H&C applications?

Table of contents


The Canadian immigration system offers many opportunities for immigration. However, this system is full of limitations. One of the rules is inadmissibility to Canada. If a person is inadmissible to Canada, they may not immigrate, even if they meet all the requirements. There are nine main reasons for inadmissibility, namely:

  1. Security;
  2. Human or international rights violations;
  3. Serious criminality;
  4. Criminality;
  5. Organized criminality;
  6. Health grounds;
  7. Financial reasons;
  8. Misrepresentation; and
  9. Non-compliance with the Immigration Act (IRPA).

Sometimes the applicant is admissible, but they do not fully meet the immigration option requirements. In both situations, (i.e. inadmissibility or not meeting the criteria), a person could immigrate to Canada under the Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds (H&C). Of course, you must meet the requirements.

What is an H&C application?

Suppose you want to immigrate to Canada, but you do not meet the requirements of an application or are inadmissible to Canada. In this situation, if you have enough humanitarian reasons, the officer may issue your permanent residence.  However,

  • H&C applications are for Canadian permanent residence;
  • They highly depend on the judgement of a trained officer. The refusal rate for these applications is very high;
  • Your humanitarian reasons need to overcome any inadmissibility or other issues; and
  • H&C is not available for inadmissibility due to security, human rights violations or organized criminality.

H&C application factors

When you submit an H&C application, the officer considers the following factors before deciding.

  • What are the best interests of the minor children who are affected by the decision?
  • Can the country of the applicant provide the healthcare services they need?
  • What are the ties of the applicant to Canada, and how established are they in our country?
  • Will they face family violence if they go back to their home country?
  • What is the potential hardship they face if they go back to their home country?
  • Are there any negative consequences for the relatives due to their separation?
  • How difficult is it for them to leave Canada?
  • Are they able to establish their lives in Canada?
  • Is there any specific factor that justifies the issuance of permanent residence?

Of course, this list is only a guideline. An officer may look into many other factors to decide. The officers heavily rely on the documents you provide. However, they may also conduct their research.

Remember, if you present issues that show you are a refugee, then the officer may refuse your H&C request. Consult with a professional to make sure you are not a refugee.

Two different types of H&C applications

There are two different ways to submit a Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Application.

  1. You may submit a regular application package to the immigration authorities, but you include all H&C documents in the box. Make sure to mention you are requesting an exemption under the H&C grounds.
  2. If you are already in Canada, then you may prepare a standalone H&C application and then submit it to the local processing centre responsible for these applications. The current processing centre responsible for H&C cases is in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Due to the complexities of H&C cases, you need to consult with an immigration professional. Please do not do it yourself!

Two stages of an in-Canada H&C application

If you submit your application in Canada, the officer reviews the application and then either refuse your request or approves the H&C elements of it. If they accept the H&C aspects, you may request the following:

The second stage of the processing includes medical examinations and background checks for potential inadmissibility. Of course, the background check does not include those elements that the officer ignores because of H&C grounds. For example, if someone is inadmissible because of criminality, the officer ignores crime in the background check. However, they consider the other eight grounds of inadmissibility.

H&C for other situations

Sometimes permanent residents of Canada lose their permanent residence because they did not stay in Canada enough. In these situations, they may request to keep their permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

While H&C does not apply to temporary applications such as TRV, eTA, work permit, or study permit, you may include those elements in your application. The officers have no mandate to accept H&C for temporary applications, though.

Alternatives to H&C applications

Depending on the specifics of your application, you sometimes may try alternative options such as,

Let us help!

If you face immigration issues or would like to file an H&C application, fill out the following form. However, you may alternatively book an appointment with me.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.