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Applying for permanent resident status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H&C applications)

In some cases, it is possible to apply for permanent resident status in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Many people call this an ‘H&C application’. This is not the same as applying for refugee protection. An H&C application goes to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, not the Immigration and Refugee Board.

The applicant must convince Citizenship and Immigration Canada that they should be allowed to apply for permanent residence, from within Canada, for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. They must be able to successfully show that:

  • they would face very serious ‘hardship’ if they had to leave Canada or
  • there are other, extremely compelling reasons that justify allowing them to stay here permanently.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada must also consider the best interests of any child who would be directly affected if the applicant had to return to their home country.

An H&C application can be made in English or in French.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2014


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