Humanitarian & Compassionate Grounds Application in Canada

In some cases foreign nationals living in Canada have extraordinary situations and their circumstances can be considered under Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds applications. There are some general factors of eligibility they need to fulfill such as their establishment, family ties in Canada, best interest of the child involved, the difficulties that person/family would go through if they need to go back to their home country.

A person having an ongoing refugee claim cannot apply under Humanitarian and Compassionate(H&C) grounds application. Before applying an H&C application, the refugee claim would have to be withdrawn before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) hearing.

A person may apply under H&C only if their intention is to seek Permanent Residency in Canada, if their case is exceptional, if they have connections and have settled in Canada, and/or if the best interest of the child is involved. Also, another factor considered in the H&C grounds is, if the person or a family would have to return to their home country and those consequences would impact their lives in an unusual, underserved way.

People in search for Temporary Residency in Canada cannot apply under H&C grounds application.

H&C Eligibility and Requirements

To be eligible for an H&C application a person must comply with the basic requirements of showing establishment, ties, and connections to Canada, having the best interest of the child involved and demonstrate the side effects if they were returned to their home country.

There are some other rules that cannot apply to certain situations even if the person covers all general requirements, for example if the person’s IRB decision was negative in the last 12 months a person cannot apply for H&C grounds application, unless:

  • there are children under the age of 18 involved and could be affected if they would have to leave Canada.
  • a person or any of their dependents have a life-threatening medical issue which cannot be treated in their home country.

H&C application will not be assessed for risk factors as follows: 

  • Persecution
  • Endanger to life
  • Cruel and unusual treatment or punishment

The applicant applying for the H&C application must explicitly show they are eligible to be considered for the Permanent Residency in Canada under humanitarian and compassionate grounds and support their case with evidence and documents.

There can only be one H&C application in process at the same time.

H&C Process

H&C applications are specific, and scenario based which usually takes more time to process. According to the IRCC website the processing time for an H&C application takes between 22 to 36 months.

If compared to the other applications, H&C procedure of assessing the applications is conducted in stages. For the applicant to meet the H&C grounds or be granted an exemption, they receive a Stage 1 approval.
It usually takes the IRCC to process the first stage in approx. 12 months depending on the extensiveness of the specific case. The second stage is the applicants background checks for police clearance and medical examination. After all stages are completed and the applicant meets the eligibility and requirements, the final decision on the H&C application is made.

If Stage 1 is approved the applicant may be eligible to work in Canada and follow the next steps in H&C assessment. However, if the Stage 1 is refused, the applicant must leave Canada if they no longer have valid immigration status in Canada.

After the applicant submits an H&C application their first confirmation from the IRCC is the issuance of the file number which takes approx. one month. The next requirement for the applicant is the biometrics request and after biometrics are completed, they need to wait for the Stage 1 assessment to be completed. If Stage 1 is approved, the assessment will be made further to Stage 2 which is the background check of the applicant and their dependents. If they comply and submit the requested documents and make the payments for the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) their file is going to the final stage of assessment and the decision is made.

H&C grounds applications are paper based. If for some reason the applicant decides to withdraw their application, they must write a letter and send it by mail to confirm their request for withdrawal.

H&C Supporting Documents

When submitting an H&C application it is suggested to follow the instruction guide and compile all supporting documents as per the document checklist. H&C applications are considered as special case applications so, there is an option for the applicant to support their statements with additional evidence and documents.

If additional documents need to be submitted after the H&C application has already been sent, the applicant can make an update and upload the documents on the IRCC web form site as a case specific inquiry.

To make an H&C application the applicant needs to explain all the reasons for making this application and why their application should be granted. With a chronological and detailed explanation with all supporting documents attached, the applicant should be truthful and honest when filling all the forms and presenting their specific case.

All supporting documents must be in English or French language only. If the document is in a different language, then requested, it must be translated and certified by the interpreter. The original copy must be submitted.

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