Immigration Evaluations

Are You or Your Client In Need Of An Immigration Evaluation?

If you’re an immigration attorney seeking a lawful stay for your client, you may require proof of specific psychological circumstances to help your client’s case. Immigration evaluations are essential reports that can determine whether your client meets the requirements to gain U.S. residency and/or citizenship to remain here lawfully. And in many instances, this report is the single most influential component in the outcome of immigration cases. 

Whether your client has suffered violence and abuse or is experiencing severe emotional and physical symptoms as a result of stress, an immigration evaluation is one step closer to securing a safe, healthy life for them in the States. With legal status, your client can receive better healthcare, job opportunities, and relief from the constant fear of being deported. 

As a therapist specializing in immigration evaluations, I am qualified to assess your client’s symptoms and provide a thorough report to help officials understand their unique circumstances. 

Perhaps You’re an Individual Seeking Residency, Asylum, Or Citizenship…

You may have immigrated to the United States out of a need to escape danger, take care of yourself and/or your spouse and family, or to seek a better, safer life in general. This transition is both emotionally and physically demanding as you adjust to a new culture, language, and legal obstacles on the path to citizenship. 

As such, you may be struggling with uncomfortable mental health symptoms. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression are common issues among the immigrant community. It’s normal to experience acute psychological distress following a dangerous or traumatic situation, and it’s likely that separation from loved ones has worsened your symptoms. 

In addition, the challenges you’ve faced since arriving in the U.S.—including a language barrier, lack of employment opportunities, and xenophobia—put you at risk for further obstacles to your mental health. And your anxiety may have worsened as you live in fear of the consequences of seeking asylum from a dangerous government or being discovered as an undocumented immigrant.

An immigration evaluation could be the key to more peace of mind as you establish yourself in this country. By submitting strong evidence for your immigration case, this evaluation can help you achieve legal status. 

How Effective Are Immigration Evaluations?

When submitting an immigration evaluation, it’s essential to work with a highly experienced psychologist. Subjective and objective analyses are paramount to a case’s success so that evaluations can be thorough yet neutral. If USCIS can be shown a compelling argument for how legal status would improve a client’s mental health and functioning, legal status is more likely to be granted.

In fact, it’s been demonstrated that these psychological evaluations strengthen immigration cases across the board. A 2021 study published by Physicians for Human Rights found that of those who submitted forensic evaluations, “81.6% of applicants for various forms of immigration relief were granted relief, as compared to the national asylum grant rate of 42.4%.” 

As a therapist with an extensive background in immigration issues, I am passionate about providing meaningful psychological evaluations for my clients. I am highly versed in immigration legal jargon and aware of USCIS protocol. And I’ve helped clients across the globe—including those from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, North and East Africa, and the Americas, among others—achieve legal status in service of a safer, more fulfilling life in the United States. 

Dr. Gabriella Azzam, Immigration Evaluation Specialist

An attorney can help clarify what kind of immigration relief you qualify for based on your unique circumstances and long-term goals for residency. You are welcome to contact me for an evaluation directly or obtain a referral from your attorney. Expedited services are also available for an additional fee.

Depending on your needs, I will then perform a standardized psychological evaluation based on any of the following issues:

Asylum

Cancellation of removal

Hardship Evaluations

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) / Spousal abuse

Victims of Crime (or U Visa)

Victims of Human Trafficking (or T Visa)

The Evaluation Process

Together (without your lawyer present), we will generally meet for three hours—typically over the span of two appointments—so I can collect relevant information about your medical, familial, social, and occupational history. With an extensive understanding of past and ongoing psychological issues, I can help you normalize and identify what you’re feeling. If a mental health diagnosis is applicable, I can offer insights into symptoms and treatments. In addition, a Mental Status Exam (MSE) or behavioral observation can be performed as needed.

I take highly objective and scientifically valid measures to create a comprehensive, unbiased immigration evaluation, which can ultimately enhance relevant personal details of your immigration case. And I am able to make realistic predictions about how you will benefit from obtaining legal status. 

I am also likely to make professional recommendations in your immigration evaluation. As you learn more about your specific mental health symptoms and stress response, I can offer tailored guidance on a treatment plan. These guidelines will make your immigration evaluation more proactive and deliberate, increasing your ability to thrive and become a healthy, productive citizen.

These evaluations are so crucial to immigration cases that I do not know of anyone whose case has been denied by USCIS when this evidence is present. When you are able to meaningfully resolve the legal barriers preventing you from optimal health and functioning, you can begin to focus on yourself to create the life you want for yourself and/or your family in this country. 

Common Questions About Immigration Evaluations…

What is the difference between subjective and objective testing?

Subjective testing is a self-assessment of one’s symptoms. This can be very valuable on its own, however, the objective testing done by a psychologist will likely strengthen the overall evaluation. Using research-oriented assessment measures based on various norms, an immigration evaluation specialist can make informed diagnoses, recommendations, and detect malingering (i.e., “faking bad”). 

Objective tests essentially tell a judge or attorney how truthful someone is being, which is generally appreciated in the USCIS court system. And only doctoral-level evaluators can complete these tests. 

How long does the evaluation process take?

The average time between the second interview and the report’s completion is about two weeks. All reports are guaranteed to be completed within 21 business days, and expedited options are available for an additional fee.

Do you accept payment plans?

Yes. Most of my clients pay a deposit and then half of the remaining fees during the first appointment. The rest of the cost is typically paid for at the second appointment, but other payment plans can be made by request. 

Improve Your Chances of Obtaining Legal Status 

A psychological evaluation could be the key to winning your immigration case. I offer immigration assessments for clients throughout California and New York. To schedule a free, 15-minute consultation and find out more about how I can help, contact me.

Dr. Azzam’s immigration psychological assessments include:

In-depth interviews spanning an average of 3 hours (generally over two appointments)

Comprehensive personal, familial, and social histories

Comprehensive educational and occupational histories

Comprehensive medical and medication histories

Comprehensive mental health, psychiatric, and/or trauma histories, where applicable

Mental Status Exam (MSE)

Behavioral observations and interpretations

Current mental health struggles and/or symptoms

Assignment of mental health diagnoses, where applicable

Applicable evidence-based psychological research

Tests for malingering (“faking”)

Highly standardized, objective, and valid psychological measures

Professional, realistic predictions based on risk and protective factors

Incorporation of applicable medical records from outside physicians, mental health professionals, etc.

Professional recommendations based on psychological assessment

Other specific factors related to immigration cases (e.g., survivor of violent crimes for U Visa, religious persecution for asylum cases, etc.)

If needed, expedited services are available for an added fee

For clients:

You might find yourself on this page because your attorney recommended you obtain a psychological immigration report from a professional who conducts these evaluations to help strengthen and support your case.

An added benefit through, and after, undergoing these immigration evaluations is that even though these evaluations are not therapy sessions, they can still be opportunities for you to process what you have been through or are currently going through.  They could offer the opportunity for you to begin the process of healing, perhaps even for the first time!

If you choose to continue with therapy services after you complete your evaluations, Dr. Azzam can assist you with therapy referrals thereafter.

For attorneys:

You are here because you’re seeking an expert in immigration evaluations with extensive experience conducting these reports, and someone who is detailed, who knows what immigration courts, judges, and USCIS look for, and who is able to provide comprehensive reports with both objective and subjective psychological testing.

As a doctoral-level evaluator, Dr. Azzam is able to offer more objective tests that test for malingering (or “faking”, in other words), as well as additional factors that could strengthen the report further.