What is an H&C application?
An H&C is a special kind of application to become a “permanent resident” of Canada. It asks the government to let you apply for permanent residence from inside Canada because of “Humanitarian and Compassionate” reasons. This is an option for people who are not eligible to apply for permanent residence through another pathway. This means that you might want to stay in Canada because:
• You have made your life here, you have many friends in Canada and you are part of the community
• It would be very hard for you to return to the country that you came from for many different possible reasons
• It is in “your best interest” as a child to stay in Canada. If you are no longer a child, it might be in the “best interest” of another child that you stay in Canada. A child is a person who is younger than 18 years old.
I do not have status in Canada. Can I apply for an H&C?
Yes. If you are living in Canada without status, you can make an H&C application any time. You should get legal advice to see if it is a good option for you. If you do not have a lawyer, contact the Centre for Refugee Children and we can help you to get legal advice
I am a refugee claimant in Canada. Can I apply for an H&C?
Not right away. You cannot apply for an H&C if you are in the refugee claim process. Talk to your lawyer to decide if it might be a good idea for you to stop your refugee claim and apply for an H&C instead. Make sure to get good legal advice before you make this decision. If you stop or “withdraw” your refugee claim, you can never make another one.
I got a negative decision on my refugee claim. Can I apply for an H&C?
Yes. If you are under 18, you can apply for an H&C right away. If you are over 18, you might have to wait for 12 months after the date of your negative decision. Talk to your lawyer to see if you need to wait or if you can apply now.
Who can help me apply for an H&C?
It is a good idea to apply with the help of a lawyer. You might be able to get help from Legal Aid Ontario to pay for a lawyer to help you. See the resource on applying for Legal Aid. It is also a good idea to get help from an organization like the Centre for Refugee Children. Contact us to see if we can help or if we can connect you to another organization that can help.
How do I apply for an H&C?
You will need to fill out many immigration forms for this application. You will also need to send in evidence to show that you have made a life in Canada, that it will be hard for you to return, and that it is in your best interest as a child to stay in Canada. See this website for some examples of evidence that you can collect to send in a strong application.
How long does it take to get a decision?
This time is different for everyone. Some people wait 6 months for a decision and some people wait 3 years for a decision. While you are waiting, you can send in more evidence or updates to make your application stronger.
Read more about the H&C on this website.