Humanitarian and compassionate: processing applications from outside Canada

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

This section explains how to process applications for permanent residence when an applicant who is outside Canada makes a request for consideration under humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Eligibility to submit an application

Assessing the application

Requests for H&C must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Applicants are free to make submissions on any aspect of their personal circumstances that they believe are relevant to their request for H&C consideration.

Initial assessment: the H&C assessment

You must assess the eligibility of the applicant under one of the three immigration classes. If the applicant does not meet the requirements of the class in which the application was made, you may consider the H&C request, except in the case of Ministerial Instructions.

The decision maker assesses H&C grounds and decides, in light of all the circumstances of a case, whether or not to grant the requested exemption(s) from the requirements of IRPA/IRPR, including R70(1). The applicant bears the onus of satisfying the decision maker that the H&C factors of their individual circumstances are sufficient to warrant an exemption. Consider the applicant's submissions in light of all the information known to the Department.

For more information on what to consider in the initial assessment

If you believe that the granting of an exemption is warranted but you are not the delegated decision maker, refer the case to the delegated decision maker.

Final decision: the issuance of a permanent resident visa

If a positive H&C decision is made, the applicant must still satisfy the remaining requirements for a permanent resident visa including medical, criminal records checks and security screening. The applicant must not have an inadmissibility for which no exemption has been granted. If a new inadmissibility is found, the applicant may request an exemption, the decision maker may use the Minister’s initiative, or the application may be refused.  Once all requirements are met, a permanent resident visa may be issued.

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