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Migration and Home Affairs


National type of protection which is granted in cases where applicants for international protection are found not to be eligible for recognition as refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, but who are nonetheless considered to be in need of protection due to special humanitarian reasons.


Developed by EMN


  • BG: хуманитарен статут
  • CS: humanitární ochrana
  • DE: humanitärer Schutz
  • EL: ανθρωπιστική προστασία
  • EN: humanitarian protection
  • ES: protección humanitaria
  • ET: humanitaarkaitse
  • FI: humanitaarinen suojelu
  • FR: protection humanitaire
  • GA: cosaint dhaonnúil
  • HR: humanitarna zaštita
  • HU: humanitárius védelem
  • IT: protezione umanitaria
  • LT: humanitarinė apsauga
  • LV: humānā aizsardzība
  • MT: Protezzjoni umanitarja
  • NL: bescherming op humanitaire gronden
  • PL: ochrona o charakterze humanitarnym
  • PT: proteção subsidiária
  • RO: protecţie umanitară
  • SK: humanitárna ochrana
  • SL: humanitarna zaščita
  • SV: humanitärt skydd
  • NO: beskyttelse på humanitært grunnlag (b); vern på humanitært grunnlag (n)
  • KA: ჰუმანიტარული დაცვა
  • UK: гуманітарний захист 
  • HY: մարդասիրական պաշտպանություն

Broader Term(s)

Related Term(s)


1. Humanitarian protection is not harmonised at EU level.

2. National protection statuses cater for a wide variety of needs and situations, exceeding the grounds for international protection under the EU acquis. These include collective protection, protection based on general humanitarian grounds, on exceptional circumstances or on serious health conditions, protection for climate change reasons and environmental disasters in the country of origin, protection based on the principle of non-refoulement and protection for minors and unaccompanied minors and for beneficiaries of specific programmes (relocation, resettlement).

3. The grounds for the national protection statuses remain largely undefined in national legislation. This may leave a significant margin of discretion to competent authorities, often to ensure compliance with obligations under international law or to serve national interests. This may potentially create challenges for authorities in assessing applications, as well as for applicants when lodging a claim for national protection.

4. Outside EU, humanitarian protection is granted for comparable protection needs, including but not limited to

  • victims of human rights violations in their country of origin
  • Victims of certain particularly heinous crimes in the country of destination (such as rape, torture, trafficking in human beings, female genital mutilation and others)
  • Victims of hate crimes

Humanitarian visas can also be issued in the event of:

  • natural disasters
  • economic difficulties in the country of origin
  • serious illness and lack of adequate treatment in the country of origin
  • individual need for protection

5. For further information see: European Migration Network: Comparative overview of national protection statuses in the EU and Norway, Study, 2019 and IOM Glossary on Migration, 2019.