This scoping paper outlines the context of and background to the development of Humanitarian Admission Programmes (HAPs) in Europe. As the characteristics of existing and previously implemented programmes sometimes vary as well as overlap, an overview of these is provided. Such programmes are also be situated in relation to other complementary pathways of admission for those in need of international protection such as private/community-based sponsorship. There is a particular focus on the two largest humanitarian admission programmes to date for Syrian refugees in Austria and Germany, while attention is also given to programme in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland. The paper conclused with an exploration of the challenges that lie ahead for this pathway of refugee admission, and some of the main principles that can be drawn from programmes and experiences thus far.