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asylumA psychological evaluation for asylum cases is an independent medical examination of the person applying for asylum.

When is a psychological evaluation needed in an asylum case?

Not all asylum cases require a psychological evaluation or mental health assessment.  It is the immigration attorney who decides if a particular asylum case warrants the psychological 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 asylum cases ?

Asylum is a form of protection granted to individuals who have been persecuted or fear persecution in their home country due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

The purpose of a psychological evaluation for asylum is to assess the psychological impact of the persecution or fear of persecution on the individual seeking asylum.

What is the process of the psychological evaluation for asylum cases?

The person who is applying for asylum 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 trauma history and fears.

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

The immigration psychological evaluation documents the psychological symptoms and difficulties experienced by the individual as a result of the persecution or fear of persecution, as well as the potential long-term effects of the persecution on the individual’s mental health and well-being.

How do immigration psychologists and immigration attorneys work together in asylum cases?

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