Navigating Changes in Family Class Sponsorship Applications

The process of sponsoring a family member for immigration can be complex and nuanced, especially when circumstances change during the application process. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides guidelines for such situations. This blog post aims to clarify these guidelines, helping both sponsors and applicants understand how to proceed when changes occur.

Adding Family Members During Processing:

  • Principal applicants may add dependents, such as newborn children or new partners, during processing.
  • For dependents who are children of the sponsor, re-assessment of the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) is not required as per R133(4).
  • New applicants must undergo medical and background checks and pay applicable fees.
  • If an applicant has a child after receiving a permanent resident visa but before becoming a permanent resident, the child can be added to the sponsorship.

Change in the Principal Applicant:

  • Changes in principal applicants typically occur in sponsorships for parents or grandparents.
  • If the original principal applicant passes away, the surviving spouse or partner can be processed as the new principal applicant, provided they qualify as a family class member.
  • In cases involving step-parents or step-grandparents, humanitarian and compassionate grounds may be considered.
  • No additional fees are required, but updated forms (IMM 1344 and IMM 0008) are necessary.

Switching Categories Among Spouses, Common-Law, and Conjugal Partners:

  • Applicants must specify their relationship category and meet its requirements.
  • Any changes in marital/conjugal status must be reported before finalization of the case.
  • If an applicant is refused and then marries the sponsor, a new application under the appropriate category is required.

Changes in a Sponsor’s Circumstances:

  • Changes in a sponsor’s circumstances can impact their ability to meet sponsorship requirements.
  • Officers may reassess a sponsor’s income and financial status if there are significant changes.
  • A reassessment is requested only when all other applicant requirements are met.


Navigating the intricacies of family class sponsorship applications can be challenging, especially when circumstances change. Understanding IRCC’s policies and procedures ensures that both sponsors and applicants are prepared for any adjustments that may be necessary during the application process. It’s crucial to stay informed and compliant with the latest guidelines to facilitate a smooth sponsorship journey.

At NPZ Law Group, our U.S. and Canadian lawyers seek to assist clients with regard to employment and family immigration issues. If you or your friends or family should have any questions about any aspect of U.S. and Canadian Immigration Law, please feel free to contact us at or you can call our office at 201-670-0006 (ext. 104). We look forward to being able to assist you.