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Humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) application

The humanitarian and compassionate application, or H&C application, is an application to permanent residence in Canada based on humanitarian grounds.

It is NOT a regular permanent immigration program because the application is:


Only people who meet the requirements will be accepted.


The immigration officer must be convinced by the evidence and arguments in the case to approve it.

➔ is often used last.

When all other pathways to immigrate permanently to Canada have been exhausted or when it is the only option available.

➔ is generally intended for people who already live in Canada

The H&C application:

What are humanitarian grounds?

Qu'est-ce qu'une considération humanitaire ?

In the H&C application, you must be able to answer the following questions, among others:

Why are you in Canada?

Why is it necessary for you to stay in Canada permanently?

What is preventing you from returning to your country of origin?

Each humanitarian ground (reason/argument) you bring up must be supported by evidence.

What is the evidence?

Exemples de motifs et de preuves

Here are some examples of arguments and evidence you can present:

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Father and Son Playing Outside

Examples of reasons:

You are the biological or adoptive parent of a child (regardless of his/her place of residence and nationality) who will suffer the negative consequences of your return to the country of origin.

Examples of evidence:

Birth certificate, letters from the child and his friends, drawings and photographs, letters from adults about the child, money transfers, letters from teachers, school reports, expert reports (psychologist, social worker).

Well-being and best interests of any child affected by your case

Disabled Woman on Wheelchair

Examples of reasons:

Your child, your spouse and/or yourself suffer from a serious physical or mental illness which requires medication and/or treatment that is not accessible in your country of origin, either because they do not offer it or because you cannot afford it.

Examples of evidence:

Medical reports and records, letters from health professionals, evidence of lack of accessible care in the country of origin.

Serious impact on your health or the health of a family member included in your application

Young Woman Looking Down with Sad Look

Examples of reasons:

You may not have access to employment and/or housing in your home country, you may face poverty, discrimination, persecution, and/or violence from a family member, a spouse, your community etc.

Examples of evidence:

Documents relating to the situation in the country, letters or other documents from family, neighbors, etc. in your country of origin on local impacts, national documentation binders of the IRB, human rights reports (ex. Amnesty International, U.S Department of State), NGO publications, articles from peer-reviewed journals, media articles, medical reports as well as any element allowing to make the connection between this factual evidence and your particular individual situation.

Your fears for the future and the risks you run in the event of a return

Women Coworkers Chatting Outside Over Coffee

Examples of reasons:

You have lived in Canada for several years and you can demonstrate your integration into society (professional activity, volunteering, studies, mastery of one or more official languages, French or English language course etc.)

Examples of evidence:

Support letters from employers, clients and/or co-workers, bank statements, property documents, insurance policies, rent receipts, recommendation letter from landlord, pay stubs, financial documents, income statements, training certificates, attendance sheets, support letters from teachers and/or other students, support letters from volunteer coordinator and/or other volunteers.

Your establishment in Canada

Pregnant Woman Hugging Husband and Young Son

Examples of reasons:

Members of your family or circle of friends live in Canada, your children were born and/or raised in Canada, you have built a social or support network (friends, colleagues, neighbors, acquaintances) in Canada.

Examples of evidence:

Support letters from anyone within your social or support network, proof of family status and ties, birth certificates from family members who are permanent residents or Canadian citizens.

Your links to Canada

What are the situations where I cannot be eligible?

Dans quels cas puis-je ne pas être admissible ?

In order to submit an H&C application, you CANNOT:

Have an asylum application in progress or for which the final negative decision (RPD, RAD or Federal Court) was given less than 12 months ago.

➔ Two exceptions: in the event of serious health issues or for a child’s best interests, you don’t have to wait that 12 month period.

Be inadmissible to Canada for reasons of national security, human rights violation or organized crime.

➔ Exemptions can apply if you are inadmissible for reasons of criminality, serious criminality, health or for financial reasons.

How can I submit my H&C application?


Download and complete the forms using the 5291 Instruction Guide.


Collect all evidence to support your application.


Write up your arguments.


Pay the fees.


Mail your application.


  • Document Checklist IMM 5280E

  • Generic Application Form for Canada IMM 0008 

  • Additional Dependents/Declaration IMM 0008DEP

  • Schedule A - Background/Declaration IMM 5669

  • Additional Family Information IMM 5406

  • Additional Information IMM 5283

  • Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual IMM 5475

  • Use of a Representative IMM 5476


Make sure you complete the latest versions of the forms available on IRCC.

Tips for writing:

  • Put the strongest arguments first

  • Read IRCC's instructions regarding humanitarian and compassionate consideration

  • Summarize the argument at the start of each section

  • Refer to documents/evidence, quote paragraphs from letters and supporting documents

  • End each point with a strong conclusion  

  • Use convincing language   


  • To submit this application, you must pay an IRCC-required processing fee online of CAD $ 550. Include an additional CAD $ 550 if you add your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner to the application, and an additional CAD $ 150 for each dependent child.

  • RPRF of CAD $ 500 apply but you could pay it later (after the first stage of approval). You may also have to pay the biometrics fee of CAD $ 85 per person or CAD $ 170 per family (unless you are under 14 or over 79).


IRCC - Humanitarian Migration Vancouver
#300 - 800 Burrard Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6Z 0B6


This address may change, please check if it is still up to date.

What are the H&C application stages?

In order to obtain permanent residence on humanitarian grounds, you must receive approval at two stages:

1. Approval in principle

➔ Your H&C application has been reviewed and approved because you meet the eligibility requirements and you have provided sufficient evidence of humanitarian grounds to justify being accepted.

2. Finalization of permanent residence

➔ You meet the requirements for permanent resident status (medical exam, criminal record and security check). You will receive instructions for all of these. 

➔ You always have the option of updating your file until a final decision is made.

➔ Dependent family members (spouse or child) who are abroad cannot be included in the application. However, you must declare them and they will then have to go through IRCC's background checks. As soon as you receive permanent residence, you can sponsor them (if they are still considered dependent members of your family).

➔ The information presented on this page does not constitute legal advice. It is important to ask a lawyer or other legal counsel for professional advice before making decisions.

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Immigration and Refugee Board. This independent administrative tribunal is responsible for rendering decisions on asylum claims through the RPD.


Common-law partner:

Person who has lived and maintained a conjugal relationship with another person for at least one year. Common-law partners can be of the opposite sex or of the same sex.

Conjoint de fait

Federal Court:

Canadian court that adjudicates litigation related to immigration, for example.

Cour fédérale


Person united by legal marriage to another person. Spouses can be of the opposite sex or of the same sex.



Right of Permanent Residence Fee in the amount of CAN $ 500. People whose application for permanent residence has been approved cannot become permanent residents until these fees have been paid. Fees will be refunded if they were paid at the same time as the application processing fee and the application is withdrawn or denied. The right of permanent residence fee does not apply for dependent children of the primary applicant, sponsorship of adopted children, orphaned siblings, nephews or grandchildren, protected persons and refugees.



Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This is the department responsible for immigration, settlement, refugee determination in Canada, resettlement of refugees from overseas and citizenship programs and services.


Conjugal partner:

Person living outside Canada who has had a conjugal relationship for at least one year with someone living in Canada, but who cannot join their spouse for reasons beyond their control. Conjugal partners can be of the opposite sex or of the same sex.

Partenaire conjugal

Regular permanent immigration program:

Regular immigration routes to Canadian permanent residence include all frequent applications for permanent residence in Canada known as the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) or the Regular Skilled Worker Program (RSWP), family reunification, sponsorship or Express Entry etc.

Programme d'immigration permanente ordinaire

Permanent residence:

Permanent residence status allows you to legally immigrate to Canada and remain here for an unlimited period of time. Permanent residents receive a permanent residence card which is useful for travel and ID purposes and can be renewed. However, it is not necessary to renew the card in order to maintain permanent residence status. A permanent resident can generally apply for Canadian citizenship after three years in Canada.

Résidence permanente


Refugee Appeal Division. This division of the IRB reviews appeals against RPD decisions.



Refugee Protection Division. This division of the IRB renders decisions on asylum claims.

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