Humanitarian and compassionate consideration in Canada: Positive Stage 1 assessment (approval in principle)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

If you believe that H&C considerations warrant the grant of the requested exemption(s), and you are the delegated decision maker, then you may make a positive Stage 1 assessment.

When a positive Stage 1 assessment has been made, it is for the purposes of the current application only. This positive assessment (also called approval in principle):

  • exempts the applicant from the in-Canada eligibility criteria based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations in order to facilitate processing the application for permanent residence from within Canada.
  • exempts the applicant from the requirement to meet any criteria or obligations of the Act or Regulations from which they have been granted an exemption by the delegated authority.
  • allows the foreign national to become a permanent resident, subject to certain requirements [R72(1)(b) and (e)], if these requirements were not specifically waived in the Stage 1 assessment.
  • puts into effect a stay of removal (R233) and allows the applicant to apply for a work permit [R207(d)] and/or study permit [R215(g)].  

General procedures following a Positive Stage 1 assessment

Following a positive Stage 1 assessment do the following:

  • send an approval in principle letter informing the applicant that:
    • the exemption has been granted
    • they and their dependants must still meet any admissibility requirements for which they were not granted an exemption. If these requirements are not met, the application for permanent residence may be refused at Stage 2.
  • update the paper file, and GCMS including detailed remarks about the exemption granted, date of exemption and the relevant section of IRPA.  Begin processing the application for permanent residence (Stage 2).

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