I’m in Canada. How do I apply to stay permanently on H&C grounds?

You make a to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Some people are not eligible to apply.

The general rule is that you must apply for permanent residence from outside Canada. But it’s sometimes possible to ask IRCC to make an exception to this rule.

When you make an H&C application, you’re asking IRCC to allow you to apply for permanent residence from inside Canada for humanitarian and compassionate reasons.

H&C factors in other applications

You can also ask IRCC to consider  in other applications. For example, you might do this if a or partner wants to sponsor you for permanent residence but you’re because of crimes you’ve committed.

Two stages of approval for H&C applications

When you apply for permanent residence on H&C grounds, IRCC decides your H&C application in 2 stages. For it to be successful, IRCC must decide to:

  1. let you apply for permanent residence in Canada for humanitarian and compassionate reasons, and
  2. approve you for status in Canada.

How H&C applications are decided

The decision on an H&C application is “discretionary”. This means that immigration officers have a lot of freedom when they decide about these applications.

But they must decide based on the . And they must consider all of the evidence as a whole when deciding whether the application is strong enough. This means that they don’t decide by looking at each piece of evidence on its own, but by looking at all of them together.

Because you won’t have a hearing and they usually don’t interview you, it’s important to:

  • explain all of the reasons why they should let you stay in Canada, and
  • send the best possible evidence to support your application.

If you make mistakes in your application or don’t include evidence that’s strong enough, IRCC may refuse your application.

Basis for an H&C application

Almost anything that makes others feel compassion and want to help can be the basis for a successful H&C application. For example, IRCC can consider how long you’ve been in Canada, any medical conditions you may have, and hardships you may face if removed. IRCC cannot consider risks in the same way the does when it decides a refugee claim. But the same situation that puts someone at risk may also be a reason for a successful H&C application.

An important factor is whether there’s a child who would be directly affected if you were forced to leave Canada. IRCC must consider what’s in the child’s best interests.

Getting legal advice

Get legal advice before making an H&C application. Step 3 explains why this is important.

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