Why should psychosocial assessment be considered in an immigration case?
There are several instances in which a psychosocial assessment conducted by a licensed professional mental health provider can help you with a case before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
My psychosocial assessment can be helpful to you in cases of:
- Extreme and Exceptional Hardship/Waivers
- Political Asylum
- Spousal Abuse (VAWA)
- Substantiation of Good Faith Marriage
- U Visas
- T Visas
DACA: Certain people who come to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. In some cases, deportation is recommended for a young adult due to a criminal conviction. The psychosocial assessment could help determine if the conviction may have been a result of a mental disorder or domestic violence.
Extreme Hardship: Applicants for extreme hardship may benefit from attaining an Extreme Hardship psychosocial evaluation. The assessment provides a comprehensive evaluation of various aspects of client’s life if a non-citizen visa is denied, thus resulting in separation of the immigrant from their loved one. The assessment helps the immigration court to understand the negative consequences of splitting families such as psychological, health, financial, and educational concerns.
Political Asylum: The purpose of a psychosocial assessment for Political Asylum is to collect information about mistreatment of a non-citizen in their home country such as extreme deprivation, torture and psychological distress. The assessment examines the psychological impact that these circumstances have had on the immigrant and document the presence of psychosocial stressors that may have prevented a person from filing for political asylum within one year, as required by law. The assessment can be presented along with the asylum application as evidence that psychological problems interfered with the filing of a timely political asylum claim.
Spousal Abuse: Applicant, victim of domestic abuse, seeks to establish the presence of domestic abuse in order to file for legal status separately from their U.S. citizen spouse. The assessment determines if abuse is present. Abuse can be physical, verbal, sexual, financial, or psychological. The assessment also evaluates overall psychological impact of the abuse on the victim.
Substantiation of Good Faith Marriage: When filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, a conditional permanent resident must document their good faith marriage. You will need to prove that your marriage was genuine and not created to circumvent immigration laws. The petitioner should submit evidence of mutual intent to establish life together such as marriage certificate, wedding related expenses, photos of the engagement and wedding ceremony, birth certificates of any children born to the marriage, copies of joint property, financial records, insurance, travel records, affidavits from friends, social media, and other relevant documents to demonstrate that you are living together.
U Visa: Is a nonimmigrant visa set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Examples of qualifying criminal activity: abduction, abusive sexual content, blackmail, extortion, false imprisonment, fraud and foreign labor contracting, hostage, incest, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, obstruction of justice, prostitution, rape, sexual assault/exploitation, stalking, torture, and witness tampering.
T Visa: Is set aside for those who are or have been victims of human trafficking. The assessment can be extremely helpful in highlighting the hardship pertaining to the case.
What I need to know about psychosocial assessment?
The evaluation process can take 3 to 5 hours and is usually completed during one visit. The assessor will consult with your attorney as well as other collateral sources and review pertinent medical, mental health, legal, and academic records. The information gathered by an assessor is compiled into a detailed report which usually requires at least two weeks or more for completion.
Out evaluation is comprehensive and involves a review of personal, family and background information, review of medical/psychiatric conditions and medications, current status, hardship factors, results of mental status examination and scales, DSM-V diagnosis, summary, and recommendations. We also review scientific research findings related to each case such as effects of children being separated from their father or mother.
What do I need to do prior to my assessment?
The following describes the steps and the purposes of the procedures that are involved in this assessment process. The description is being given so that you know what to expect as you decide to have an evaluation done and as you prepare for and go through this evaluation.
- Set up an appointment. It usually lasts between 3 and 5 hours and is usually completed during one visit.
- Sign "Release of Information" forms which will allow the assessor to discuss your situation with anyone that would be of use in establishing your case (attorney, physician, school teacher, etc.). Please bring business card/contact information for anyone with whom you would like the assessor to discuss your case for all family members.
- Fill out the Immigration Questionnaire and assessment forms.
- Write down a list of important dates such as births, engagements, marriages, separation, divorce, U.S. residency, U.S. naturalization.
- Provide medical records for all family members including any medications all family members are currently taking.
- Provide school records for all the children in the family (special education, any testing, behavioral plans, etc.).
- Provide marriage/divorce court records (marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and additional court documents).
- Provide criminal record detailing your criminal history where applicable.
- Provide all immigration documents you have received from USCIS (letters, denial letters, forms).
It is important that you understand in advance that this is an independent evaluation. There is a possibility that an assessor’s impressions may be unfavorable to your position.
In addition to seeing clients in our office, we will make arrangements to interview out of state clients by Skype.
Please contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (708-695-4808) to obtain more information about how an immigration psychosocial evaluation can be helpful in a successful immigration case. Sample reports and references are available upon request.