Since 1979, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has implemented Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programs around the world. These programs have assisted over 1.5 million people.

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration is an indispensable part of a comprehensive approach to migration management aiming at orderly and humane return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host or transit countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin.

The successful implementation of AVRR programmes requires the cooperation and participation of a broad range of actors, including the migrants, civil society and the governments in both host and transit countries and countries of origin.

The Regional Migration Program works to build the capacities of countries in Central America and Mexico, regarding migration governance, including return. Below is a summary of the activities implemented so far:

  • Assisted Voluntary Return Program for members of Caravans (2018-2019)
  • Regional Guide on best practices and available national and regional assisted voluntary return programs (2018)
  • Technical assistance for States in order to improve national procedures for assisted voluntary return (continuous)
  • Direct Assistance and Voluntary Return Program for Vulnerable Migrants in the region (2010-2018)


AVR Program in the Caravans Context


This program supports those who have participated in the migrant caravans in Central America and Mexico and who for various reasons are unable to remain in host or transit countries and wish to return to their countries of origin and/or residence. This program benefits people of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who are stranded in Guatemala or Mexico.

Beneficiaries can receive land transportation to the capital of their country of origin, medical examinations if needed, food and kits during their travels, and assistance communicating with family members, among other forms of assistance.

IOM has developed this program in order to protect migrant populations and offer them a way to return to their homes that is dignified, safe, regular, and humane.


More information on the Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) Program

Assisted Voluntary Return Program Report - Migrant Caravans (November 2018 - July 2019)

IOM's voluntary return programs aim to promote voluntary, orderly and humane return of migrants who can't or don't wish to stay in their countries of transit or destination, and who want to voluntarily return to their countries of origin. Since November 4th, 2018, IOM has assisted 1703 people in the mesoamerican region in returning to their home countries. Among them, 66 were uaccompanied children and adolescents.



Testimony | Ángel reccounts how danger made him turn back

Juan Ángel García, Honduran migrant, tells us about the dangers he faced during his journey, and how he made the decision to go back to his home country. 

Testimony | Dominica was ill

Dominica started her way along the migrant caravan, but during the journey, she decided to go back to Honduras. Here she shares why. 

Testimony| Luis y Teresa change their expectations

What happened during the journey to make them decide go back home, instead of migrating? Luis and Teresa tell us about their experience. 

Testimony| Lilliam shares the prejudice she met against the caravan

Lilliam decided to migrate 8 months ago. In this video, she explains why she has now decided to return to her country. 

Testimony| How Luis and Teresa returned to Tapachula

Luis and Tresa migrated from El Salvador, but during the journey decided to go back to their home country. In this video they explain what happened.

Testimony | IOM's support for the caravans

Mario Carmona works with IOM in Tapachula. He explains the different services that the organization can offer to migrants. 

Testimony | Mario explains why migrants decide to return

Mario Morales works at The House of the Migrant, in Tecún Umán. There he has listened to the stories of many migrants, and he tells us about their motivations to return to their home countries.