FAQs: Central American Minor Refugee and Parole Program

Last Updated

October 2, 2023

U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DOS) established the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee and parole program in December 2014 to allow a safe and legal basis for certain unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to join qualifying parents in the United States.1 Under this program, the child is screened first for refugee status. If found eligible for refugee status, the child will be admitted to the United States as a refugee under section 207 of the INA. If the child is found ineligible for refugee status, the child will be considered for parole and may enter the United States pursuant to a grant of section 212(d)(5) parole.

A “qualifying parent or legal guardian” who lives in the United States may initiate a process to allow qualifying children to legally enter the United States as either refugees or parolees. Until granted refugee status or parole, CAM-eligible children must wait outside of the United States.