Update: On July 26, 2016, Department of State (DOS) and DHS announced that the CAM program would expand to include additional eligible family members. Starting November 15, 2016, DOS will accept applications requesting access to the CAM program for these additional eligible family members. For more information, please see the Department of State’s Central American Minors (CAM) program page.
The Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program provides certain qualified children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States.
The CAM program began accepting applications from qualifying parents in the U.S. for their children on December 1, 2014. Only certain parents who are legally present in the U.S. are eligible to be qualifying parents and file for their children. Each qualified child must be unmarried, under the age of 21, and residing in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras. In certain cases, the in-country parent of the qualifying child may also qualify for access if the in-country parent is the legal spouse of the qualifying parent in the U.S. See below for eligibility details.
The qualifying child in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras must be:
• The child (e.g. genetic, step or legally adopted) of the qualifying parent);
• Under the age of 21;
• A national of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras; and
• Residing in his or her country of nationality.
Eligible Family Members
In some cases, other eligible family members may have access, including:
• Unmarried children of the qualifying child or in-country parent who are under the age of 21 can be included as derivatives.
This program is primarily aimed at children under the age of 21, but a parent of the qualifying child may be included if:
• He/she is part of the same household and economic unit as the qualifying child,
• He/she is legally married to the qualifying parent at the time the qualifying parent files the CAM-Affidavit of Relationship (AOR), and
• He/she continues to be legally married to the qualifying parent at the time of admission or parole to the U.S.
The qualifying parent may be any individual who is at least 18 years old and lawfully present in the United States in one of the following categories:
• Permanent Resident Status, or
• Temporary Protected Status, or
• Parolee, or
• Deferred Action
• Deferred Enforced Departure, or
• Withholding of Removal
Parole and Deferred Action
Parolees and persons granted deferred action must have been issued parole or deferred action for a minimum of one year. For all other categories listed above, individuals who are lawfully present and in a valid status at the time of application (this means the date of CAM-Affidavit of Relationship filing) are eligible.
There is currently no filing deadline for this program, but the qualifying parent must be in one of the immigration categories listed above at the time of applying for this program, as well as at the time of admission or parole of the beneficiary of this program.
The qualifying parent in the U.S. files Form DS-7699 Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) for Minors Who Are Nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (CAM-AOR). This form can only be accessed and completed with the assistance of a designated resettlement agency (RA). For additional information and a listing of resettlement agencies where the CAM-AOR may be filed please visit the Department of State, Refugee Processing Center’s website.
There is no fee to participate in this refugee/parole program and it is prohibited for anyone to charge a fee for completion of the form.
DNA relationship testing must occur between the qualifying parent in the U.S. and his/her biological children for whom the parent files. The parent in the U.S. will pay the initial costs of DNA testing and will be reimbursed for testing costs ONLY if ALL claimed and tested biological relationships are confirmed by DNA test results.
Refugee status is a form of protection available to those who meet the definition of refugee and who are of special humanitarian concern to the United States. For a legal definition of refugee, see section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Both the qualifying child and any in-country parent of the qualifying child must each establish independent refugee claims to be granted refugee status.
Eligibility for refugee status is determined on a case-by-case basis through an interview with a specially-trained USCIS officer.
Applicants who gain access to the program, but are found ineligible for refugee status will then be considered on a case-by-case basis for parole into the United States.
For more information about refugees, see the “Refugees” section of our website.
Parole allows individuals who may be otherwise inadmissible to come to the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Parole determinations are made on a case-by-case basis depending on each individual’s unique circumstances. A separate application for this parole process is not required if the individual already has access to the CAM program. Parole is not in itself a lawful immigration status, but it does allow an individual to be lawfully present in the U.S. temporarily and to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
For more information about parole as part of the CAM Program, see the Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program: Information for Conditionally Approved Parole Applicants page of our website.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/15/2016