Psychological evaluations for the following types of immigration issues are provided:
–T and U Visas
–Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petitions
–Applications for political asylum in the United States
An evaluation typically includes most, if not all, of the following activities:
- Before an appointment is scheduled for an evaluation, I must have a phone conversation with the referring attorney in order to (1) make sure I am an appropriate provider for the case, (2) discuss whether any records are available that would be helpful for me to review (e.g., medical, mental health, legal documentation, etc.), and (3) obtain specific referral questions the attorney would like addressed by way of the evaluation.
- The evaluation process typically consists of an in-person, in-depth clinical interview and administration of psychological testing. The testing can take a variety of forms depending upon the language(s) spoken by the client. The evaluation may be completed in one long session of 4-8 hours (with periodic rest breaks) or over separate, shorter sessions.
- Through the clinical interview and consultation with the attorney, I will determine whether or not additional interviews should occur with certain individuals with whom the client interacts. If so, those interviews will be set up and conducted.
- After completing the evaluation, I will respond to the referral questions in a detailed, written report.
It is important to understand the following in advance. A psychologist must act as an independent evaluator. This means that I cannot automatically take the side of the client or the government’s side in the case. I must provide an independent opinion. Obtaining an immigration assessment does not guarantee a favorable outcome for any specific case.
FAQS FOR IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS
What is your experience in completing psychological evaluations for immigration purposes?
For 12 years, I served as Director of Psychological Services at the University of St. Thomas Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services. This clinic is multidisciplinary in nature and includes an Immigration Law Clinic, which periodically referred asylum, VAWA, and T/U visa cases to the Psychological Services team for psychological evaluation. I trained student practitioners in completing these evaluations and co-conducted the evaluations with them. In addition, there were both internal and external referrals for immigration-related psychological evaluations which I conducted on my own.
Can I refer a client to you for therapy?
Yes, however, I can only provide therapy to immigration clients who I do not see for a psychological evaluation. If you are planning on referring to me for an evaluation, then the therapy would need to be conducted elsewhere. I have referrals which I can provide to you. I adhere to the American Psychological Association ethics code, which requires that I maintain objectivity in my role as a psychological evaluator. When serving as an evaluator, making sure that I only provide that role allows me to maintain the level of neutrality needed to provide an unbiased report. If you are not planning on referring your client to me for psychological evaluation, then a referral for therapy would be welcomed.
How quickly will I receive the report?
It will depend upon whether or not documentation that I need to review is made readily available to me and whether or not client and collateral source interviews can be conducted within a reasonable time frame. Typically, a report can be provided to you within 2 weeks from the final evaluation meeting with the client and/or collateral sources.
How much do you charge and what forms of payment do you accept?
Immigration evaluations are billed at a rate of $100 per hour prorated for actual time spent (except for the written report which is billed separately). A typical immigration case, without collateral interviews needed, can take a minimum of 4 to 9 hours. The time involved/actual cost depends upon the amount of documentation to review, interviews/testing being more difficult or lengthy due to the need for an interpreter to be involved, number of collateral interviews or phone consults needing to occur and the time involved in completing them.
New evaluation reports are billed at a flat fee of $300. They are detailed and can be as lengthy as 10-12 pages.
Updated assessments are billed at a $100 per hour prorated fee. Total cost will depend on whether or not check-ins with collateral interviewees are needed and the amount of additional documentation to review. At a minimum, they will require a 1-2-hour meeting with the client to assess current level of functioning. Again, reports are billed separately; an updated report is billed at $150.
I’m happy to estimate what the total fee is likely to be once I know specifics about the case and whether or not collateral interviews will be needed. Feel free to contact me for a free phone consultation to discuss these issues.
If testimony at immigration court is required, my fee is $200 per hour and includes: preparation time with the legal team, transportation time to/from court, waiting time ahead of testimony, and actual time spent testifying.
I accept cash, check, or credit card as forms of payment for immigration evaluations.
Do you take pro bono cases?
If I take an immigration evaluation case from an attorney who is handling the case on a pro bono basis, I will also provide the assessment services on a pro bono basis. Unfortunately, I can only take a limited number of pro bono cases each year. Please contact me to discuss availability or to put a client on the pro bono wait list.