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Normally, foreign nationals who wish to immigrate to Canada must apply for and obtain a permanent resident visa from abroad. Foreign nationals do not have the right to apply for permanent residence from within Canada if they do not meet the requirements of an in-Canada immigration class, or if they are otherwise inadmissible.

However, section A25(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) allows foreign nationals who are inadmissible or who are ineligible to apply in an immigration class, to apply for permanent residence, or for an exemption from a requirement of the Act, based on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) considerations.

When an H&C  request is made by a foreign national inside Canada, the Canadian immigration system is obligated to consider it. H&C requests can also be made by foreign nationals outside of Canada; however, there is no legal obligation to consider them.  


You may use this application to apply for permanent residence from within Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H&C) if you:

  • are a foreign national currently living in Canada;

  • need an exemption from one or more requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) or Regulations in order to apply for permanent residence within Canada;

  • believe humanitarian and compassionate considerations justify granting the exemption(s) you need; and

  • are not eligible to apply for permanent residence from within Canada in any of these classes:

    • Spouse or Common-Law Partner;

    • Live-in Caregiver;

    • Caregivers: caring for children or people with high medical needs;

    • Protected Person and Convention Refugees; and

    • Temporary Resident Permit Holder.

Your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

If your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, your spouse or common-law partner can sponsor you.

You should apply using the application Applying for Permanent Residence from Within Canada - Spouse or Common-law Partner Class (IMM 5289). Visit the Application for Permanent Residence From Within Canada – Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (IMM 5289) or consult the Help Centre.

If your spouse or common-law partner cannot sponsor you, you may continue using this application.


Humanitarian and compassionate grounds apply to people with exceptional cases. We assess these applications on a case-by-case basis. Factors we look at include:

  • how settled the person is in Canada

  • general family ties to Canada

  • the best interests of any children involved, and

  • what could happen to you if we do not grant the request.

Other rules that apply to humanitarian and compassionate grounds:

  • You may only ask for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if you are applying for permanent resident status in Canada, or for a permanent resident visa abroad. We will not look at H&C requests from temporary resident applicants.

  • You cannot have more than one humanitarian and compassionate grounds application at the same time.

  • We will not assess risk factors such as persecution, risk to life, cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

  • You cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if you have a pending refugee claim. If you want to apply, you must withdraw your refugee claim before your Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) hearing.

  • You cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if you had a negative decision from the IRB within the last 12 months. This is called the “one year bar.” (If the IRB decides your refugee claim is abandoned or withdrawn, that counts as a negative decision.) The bar does not apply if:

    • you have children under 18 who would be adversely affected if you were removed from Canada, or

    • you have proof that you or one of your dependants suffers from a life-threatening medical condition that cannot be treated in your home country.


You may not apply for H&C consideration if you:

  • are a Canadian citizen,

  • a permanent resident,

  • have submitted an H&C application for which a decision has not been made

  • have an outstanding refugee claim,

  • became a designated foreign national within the last 5 years.

Designated Foreign National

The Minister of Public Safety advises individuals when they become a designated foreign national.

If you are a designated foreign national, you may not apply for H&C for at least 5 years after the day of your designation, or if you are a designated foreign national and made a:

  • refugee claim at the Refugee Protection Division, Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB),

  • appeal to your rejected refugee claim (at the IRB’s Refugee Appeal Division), or

  • application for a Pre-removal Risk Assessment,

you may not apply for at least 5 years after the date of the decision on that application or appeal.

In addition you may not apply for H&C consideration if you:

  • had a refugee claim that was rejected (including claims that were abandoned) within the last 12 months by either the Refugee Protection Division or the Refugee Appeal Division of the IRB, or

  • withdrew a refugee claim within the last 12 months, unless the claim was withdrawn before your hearing at the IRB.

Removal orders

If you have an order to leave Canada (this is called a removal order), you may be able to apply to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, unless any of the above restrictions apply to you.

If you apply, this will not prevent or delay your removal from Canada. You must leave on or before the date stated on your removal order. We will still process your application even if you have to leave Canada. We will tell you in writing about the decision on your case.

There is no guarantee that we will approve your application. There is no right to appeal a refused application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. In some cases you can ask the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision.

You can find out more in the application package.


Applying for H&C consideration is an exceptional measure – it is not simply another means of applying for permanent resident status in Canada.


In order to be considered for an exemption from the usual requirements of IRPA, you must:

  • clearly indicate in your application the specific exemption(s) you are requesting.

  • provide all details related to your request including the reasons why you believe an exemption(s) should be granted on H&C grounds.

  • demonstrate that there are sufficient and compelling reasons for you to be granted an exemption allowing you to apply for permanent residence from within Canada.

Your responsibility

You are responsible for making sure that all circumstances and factors that you wish to have considered are provided in your application. This must include any hardship you believe you will suffer if you are not granted the exemption(s) you are requesting. For example, if you are claiming hardship arising from circumstances in your country of origin, your supporting documents should include:

  • the hardship you anticipate,

  • whether the hardship would be faced in all areas of the country of origin or country of habitual residence,

  • whether you ever sought assistance from the authorities, including police or non-governmental organizations, to change or improve your situation in your country, and

  • if you have not sought assistance from within your country, you must provide reasons why you have not done so.

If you are subject to a one year bar on applications for permanent residence (see above “Who may not use this application”), and you are requesting an exception to the bar, you must provide information to support that request. It is also your responsibility to ensure that the information you provide is correct and up-to-date. This means that if your personal situation changes after you have submitted your application, you must notify us immediately in writing. A change in your personal situation can refer to any of the following: marital status, birth of a child, criminal convictions, change of employer, etc.

Best interests of the child

The best interests of any children directly affected by the decision made on your application will be taken into consideration in the assessment of your application.

Factors related to the best interests of the child may include but are not limited to the:

  • age of the child,

  • child’s establishment in Canada,

  • conditions in the country of origin that could impact the child,

  • medical needs of the child,

  • child’s education, or

  • child’s gender.

The best interests of a child do not outweigh all other factors in a case. The best interests of the child are only one of many important factors that will be considered by the decision maker.

Contact Us

Go ahead and book your appointment with us to get in touch with our team of experts.

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