Individuals infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) have two possible outcomes of infection, clearance or persistent infection. The focus of this review is the host mechanisms that facilitate clearance. The interaction between HCV viral components and the immune system ultimately determines the balance between the virus and host. Strong evidence points to the aspects of cellular immune response as the key determinants of outcome. The recent discovery of viral evasion strategies targeting innate immunity suggests that the interferon-alpha/beta induction pathways are also critical. A growing body of evidence has implicated polymorphisms in both innate and adaptive immune response genes as determinants of viral clearance in individuals infected with HCV.