This page includes the general information on the CAM program and what to expect if you apply. The government is now accepting new applications for the CAM program as of September 14, 2021.
To apply for the CAM program, contact your local resettlement agency. This website lists the resettlement agencies in your area. Click the most up-to-date “R&P Affiliate Directory.”
What is CAM? The Central American Minors (CAM) program is a legal pathway through which children and other family members facing persecution or danger in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras can reunite with parents who are lawfully present in the United States.
Am I eligible to apply for CAM? To apply for your children and family members in Central America, you must be a parent or legal guardian who lives in the United States, is over the age of 18, and has one of the following legal statuses:
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
- Legal Permanent Resident, also known as green card holder
- Parolee (for a minimum of one year)
- Deferred Action Recipient, e.g., DACA (for a minimum of one year)
- Deferred Enforced Departure Recipient
- Withholding of Removal Grantee
- Pending asylum application (filed before May 15, 2021)
- Pending U-visa application (filed before May 15, 2021)
Who can I apply for to enter the United States? This government website has details on who you can include in your application. Family members that you can include on your application include:
- Your children (biological, step, or legally adopted) who are unmarried, under the age of 21, and a national of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras. These children are called qualifying children.
- Other family members so long as you add them on the same application as the qualifying children:
- Your grandchildren: Children of your qualifying children, who are unmarried and under the age of 21.
- Your spouse: Your spouse in Central America if they are part of the same household as your qualifying child; legally married to you at the time of application; and continue to be married to you at time of entering the United States. This spouse can also bring their unmarried children under the age of 21, even if those children are not related to you.
- Your children’s other parent who is not married to you: In-country parent of the qualifying child if they are the biological parent of the child and part of the same household and economic unit. This parent can also bring their unmarried children under the age of 21, even if those children are not related to you.
- Your children’s siblings: Your children who are married and/or 21 years or older. These children can bring their spouses and unmarried children who are under the age of 21.
- Your children’s caregiver: Primary caregiver of the qualifying child who is part of the same household as the qualifying child, and is related to you or the qualifying child.
The CAM program allows these children and family members to enter the United States as either refugees or parolees.
If I apply for CAM , what should I expect? The steps of the application process are:
- Submit application: Qualifying parent with lawful status in the United States applies for CAM with help from a local resettlement agency. This website lists the resettlement agencies in your area. Click the most up-to-date “R&P Affiliate Directory.” There is no fee to apply for the CAM program.
- Pre-screening: Your child and family members in Central America will undergo a pre-screening interview by the International Organization for Migration (“IOM”). IOM is a contractor of the U.S. Department of State.
- DNA test: If you are claiming a biological parent-child relationship, you and your children will take a DNA test to prove your relationship. A DNA test is also required for all family members applying for the CAM program if their relationship to you or your children can be verified through DNA.
- Interview: Your child and family members will be interviewed in the country that they are in by USCIS if CAM processing is available there. CAM processing will be available in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. It may be available in other countries as well.
- CAM Decision: USCIS decides whether your child and family members may enter on refugee status or parole status.
- If USCIS decides that your child and family members can enter as a refugee, it means that USCIS thinks that they are afraid of persecution or have been persecuted in their home country because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Refugee status is permanent permission to live in the United States.
- If USCIS decides that your child and family members can enter on parole status, that means they will have temporary permission to join you in the United States. Parole status will usually last three years.
- Medical Exam: Your children and family members must complete a medical exam. Those traveling on parole status will have to pay for all fees related to the medical exam.
- Travel and Entry to the United States: Your children and family members travel to the United States.
- If they were approved for refugee status, IOM will assist with travel arrangements. The local refugee resettlement agency will provide them with resettlement services when they arrive in the United States.
- If they were approved for parole status, you will be responsible for coordinating travel arrangements with IOM and for all travel fees. At the United States port of entry, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) will make the final decision on whether your children and family members will be given parole and for how long. Read information here on what rights you have in the United States while on parole and how you can stay in the United States for longer than your approved time.