Last Updated on January 18, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

Canadian citizens and permanent residents who currently have applications to sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada in processing used to face uncertainty if the parent who was the principal applicant on the immigration application passed away.  Would Citizenship and Immigration Canada continue to process the application for the principal applicant’s spouse?  Or would CIC make the spouse re-apply and start over?

Previously, the answer was the latter.  The Citizenship and Immigration Canada manual provided that principal applicants could not be alternated after the processing of an application began.  If applicants wished to have their spouse or common-law partners considered as the principal applicants, then the original application had to be closed, and a new application, with all assorted wait times and fees, was required.

Effective immediately, however, visa officers may replace the principal applicant with the individual’s spouse or common-law partner if they were included in the original application.  While some new forms are required, no additional fees are necessary.  As well, the lock-in date for the age of dependent children will not change.

A very sensible change, and one that should be reassuring to people with sponsorship applications currently processing.  Of course, it is of little relevance to people who want to sponsor their parents / grandparents but have not yet applied.  The program remains closed to new applications.