Let me say this: there is no correct way for a Humanitarian and Compassionate application. But there are things that should be done on every H&C application - regardless of whether you're doing it by yourself, with a lawyer, or with a paralegal/immigration consultant. An H&C application for some is one of their only options to remain in Canada legally and it should not be submitted in haste. I routinely spend over 40 hours working on the application before I am comfortable in sending it off.
So, over the next few days I'll post some tips on writing your H&C application, and some common pitfalls to avoid.
Let's start with the most obvious: the forms.
Type, don't write. Not only does typing your forms and working on a computer makes it immensely easier for you to put the required amount of time into the application, it also makes your application a lot more readable for the officer on the other side. If you don't have a computer to work on the forms, go to the library with a USB stick (memory stick). You can save your completed forms on the USB stick and come back to it on another day (ask a librarian for help if you do not know how to do this). USB sticks can be purchased cheaply for under $10 at Walmart or sometimes even the dollar store. You do not need a large capacity for the USB stick, anything over 1 GB will do.
Secondly, make sure your application is complete and true. Triple check it for its accuracy: it is very important to get all the details right to avoid the possibility of being accused of misrepresentation down the road. For some dates, it may be impossible to remember, and your best bet is to approximate down to the month or day that you do remember. (I get it: it gets very frustrating to find all the details of the past few years of your life and to put it all down on paper. But take a break and come back to it; it's so important to get it right.) The most important part is to get your dependant's information correct, as that may affect their ability to immigrate to Canada if your application is granted.
Before you submit your H&C application, make sure that there have not been updated forms. CIC routinely updates its forms on the website and can return your application to you if your forms are not up to date.
As of this post, make sure your forms have the correct dates:
- Document Checklist [IMM 5280] (PDF, 166 KB) August 2013
- Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] (PDF, 487 KB) June 2014
- Additional Dependants/Declaration [IMM 0008DEP] (PDF, 471 KB) August 2014
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration [IMM 5669] (PDF, 246 KB) December 2012
- Additional Family Information [IMM 5406] (PDF, 570 KB) September 2013
- Supplementary Information [IMM 5283] (PDF, 1.3 MB) August 2013
- Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual [IMM 5475] (PDF, 1.8 MB)December 2004
- Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] (PDF, 597 KB) March 2014
- Instruction Guide [IMM 5291]
Lastly, one of the worst things to do is submit only the application forms and nothing else. While the application forms has some space to describe your situation in IMM 5283 - Supplementary Information, the space they provide is hardly enough to accurately describe your situation. You can always write "please refer to separate page" to expand on your situation. Not only does this give you more space, it can let you write a bit more naturally and convincingly. Use the IMM5283 boxes as a guide to ensure that you cover all the topics they mention.
But don't only include the forms - you need supporting documents to back up your claim. I will be going over what kinds of evidence and supporting documents to go with your H&C application in part 2 of my post. In part 3, I will talk about the law of H&C and what criteria your decision maker is looking for in deciding your application.