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hardship waiver - mental healthAn immigration psychological evaluation for hardship waivers is an independent medical examination of mental health issues.  The immigration psychologists conducts interviews and psychological testing to determine if the individual suffers from or is at risk of developing mental health complications.

When is a hardship psychological evaluation needed?

Not all hardship cases require a psychological evaluation or mental health assessment.  It is the immigration attorney who decides if the case warrants the evaluation.  The attorney will make a referral to an immigration psychologist as needed.  It is important to remember that the immigration attorney will also decide when it is a good time to have the psychological evaluation done.

Who undergoes the psychological evaluation for hardship waivers?

The immigration psychologist evaluates the qualifying relative, which is usually the spouse, the parent or the child of the foreigner who is applying for the waiver.

At times, the foreigner who is applying for the waiver  is also evaluated for the purpose of gathering supplemental data needed to document hardships.

When the qualifying relative is a minor, it is likely that the psychological evaluation for hardship waivers will also include an evaluation of the foreigner who is applying for the waiver.

What is the process of the psychological evaluation for hardship waivers?

This person undergoes a comprehensive clinical interview that is several hours long.  The immigration psychological evaluation explores the person’s background, upbringing, previous medical and mental health history as well as their relationship with the foreigner who is at risk of removal.

The immigration psychological evaluation also includes psychological testing that is valid and reliable.  The psychological testing may include assessments of depression, anxiety, trauma and cognitive status.

The purpose of an immigration psychological evaluation for hardship waivers is to assess the psychological impact of the hardship on the individual. This may include documenting the psychological symptoms as well as the potential long-term effects of the hardship on the individual’s mental health and well-being.

Once the immigration psychological evaluation is completed, the immigration psychologist prepares a forensic psychological report describing the mental health risks or diagnoses, coping abilities, and treatment recommendations if applicable.

How do immigration psychologists and immigration attorneys work together in hardship waivers?

Immigration psychologists and Immigration Attorneys have a working relationship that must protect the independence of opinion and the objectivity of each professional.

Immigration psychologists must understand rules of admissibility to determine whether the testing and procedures used are valid and reliable enough to stand the scrutiny of the court and other experts.  Immigration psychologists must understand how to provide testimony as required by the case.

How can I contact an immigration psychologist?

Immigration Psychology, Inc. has Florida immigration psychologists, North Carolina immigration psychologists, South Carolina immigration psychologists, and experts in other states.


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Johanna W. Guerrero, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist