For Immigration Cases
Center of Inner Transformations provides exceptional clinical assessments for immigration cases, including asylum, domestic violence (VAWA) and petitions for extreme hardship waivers. Over the years, we have conducted these specialized mental health evaluations and these have supported cases with very high rates of success.
Our Immigration Evaluations Include:
– A thorough bio-psycho-social history.
– Behavioral observations and interpretations.
– Clinical assessment, interpretation of symptoms, and DSM 5 diagnoses.
– Administration of validated symptom screening tools and severity measures to support clinical diagnoses.
– Culturally sensitive de-stigmatization of symptoms and referrals for ongoing treatment, as indicated.
At the Center of Inner Transformations, we pride ourselves on being skilled, thorough, and compassionate skilled clinical therapists.
All of our contracted clinicians are:
- Fully licensed in the State of New Jersey
- Trauma-trained and Trauma-informed
- Experienced in addressing the unique cultural needs of immigrant, LGBTQ, and transcultural individuals and families.
Currently we offer:
- In-person Evaluations at our East Brunswick, NJ office.
- Virtual/Online Evaluations (Tele-mental health video session offered on a confidential, HIPAA platform) for any NJ resident (with stable internet access and a computer or a smartphone with a camera).
Call to schedule an appointment: (732) 508-0052
WHAT IS A MENTAL HEALTH EVALUATION?
- ❏A mental health evaluation is a conversation with a licensed mental health professional. We will talk about your history (where you come from, how and why you came to this country, and what your life is like now) as well as the state of your mental and emotional health as it relates to the reason for your immigration petition.
- ❏The evaluation itself can last anywhere between 2-4 hours.
- ❏A report is written to summarize the evaluation, which is sent to your attorney to include in your petition.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
- ❏Call the number above to schedule an appointment. You will be offered an appointment with one of our licensed mental health professionals.
- ❏You will be asked to sign consents and complete some questionnaires before your evaluation – you may choose to receive these by email or regular mail.
- ❏A report will be mailed directly to your attorney about two weeks after your evaluation. You may request that a copy of the report be sent to you in addition to your attorney.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
- ❏If possible, bring a copy of your legal declaration (you can request this from your attorney)
- ❏It helps if you have some basic dates on hand, such as: the year you immigrated to the US and any other significant dates related to the reason for your immigration petition. If you have a copy of a police report, it could be helpful, but it is not necessary.
- ❏A valid photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
- ❏The fee for the evaluation (see below)
- ❏Honesty and Openness about your true feelings and experiences
The cost of this process is $950 – this includes the evaluation and the written report.
If you require a payment plan, please discuss this during your initial phone call. If your report must be completed in less than 2 weeks, there is an additional $250 rush fee for 7-day turnaround or $500 for 3-day.
HOW CAN I PAY?
You may choose to pay the fee with cash, or credit/debit card (Additional 3.5% card swipe charge)
For immigration evaluations, there is a 48-hour cancellation policy. If you 1) cancel or reschedule with less than 48-hours notice, 2) arrive more than 20 minutes late for your scheduled appointment (considered a no-show), or 3) do not attend your scheduled appointment, you will be charged 50% of the entire evaluation fee. (There will be four hours that will be set aside for your appointment and it is not always possible to fill that time with short notice.)
WHY ARE EXTREME HARDSHIP IMMIGRATION EVALUATIONS SO IMPORTANT?
In removal proceedings, a psychological evaluation can be an instrumental tool in demonstrating that the removal of an immigrant would cause extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or resident family member. A thorough bio-psycho-social report can document a family member’s need for emotional support, caretaking, and/or financial assistance. It can also be critical in predicting the impact of separation on the family member’s social and emotional functioning—for instance, the likelihood of severe psychiatric decompensation.
If you’re applying for an i-601a waiver, or if you have received a request for more evidence in support of your application, a psychological evaluation could be crucial to demonstrate the hardship your family would face amid a traumatic separation from a family member. A psychological evaluation can also help in instances in which a spouse or family member currently resides in another country (i.e., currently separated) and is deemed inadmissible to the United States (i-601 waiver). Contact me for a psychological evaluation in support of your i-601a or i-601 waiver.
What is the interview process like?
The in-person evaluation typically lasts two to four hours and involves an in-depth clinical interview and psychological testing. You will be given a variety psycho-metric assessments to evaluate your mental health symptoms prior to you entering the evaluators office. You then will be engaged in the comprehensive bio-psycho-social interview to gather information relevant to supporting your immigration case.
All of our evaluations are comprehensive and are tailored to the needs of the client. We consider all your attorney’s recommendation and our aim is to assist you with providing a compelling and detailed written report.
Can you work through an interpreter?
Yes, I work with interpreters regularly. Please note: clients are responsible for finding and bringing an interpreter to the appointment. We can also provide assistance with getting an interpretor with your consent via telephone or video. The client would be fully responsible for the cost of any interpreters that may be used during the time of our service.
Do I need to bring anything with me to the appointment?
In most cases, no. However, there may be instances in which obtaining a copy of your medical or legal records would be helpful. We can discuss this at the time of the evaluation.
How much do you charge for evaluations?
I charge $950 for evaluations. This includes a clinical interview, records review, and a comprehensive hand typed 15-20 page report that I send to your attorney (or to you directly if not represented by an attorney.)
Additionally, I may be available for your court hearings as an expert witness at the hourly rate of $250. This would include any testimonies provided at immigration court.
Do I have to pay the full amount at the time of the appointment?
I require a minimum payment of $500 at the time of the appointment. You can pay the remainder at a later date but the report will not be developed and sent to your attorney or any related parties until full payment has been rendered.
I will not send the report to the attorney (or to you) until you have paid in full.
What forms of payment do you accept?
I accept cash and credit card only. There is an additional 3.5% processing fee for all credit card payments.
What is the report like?
After the interview, I write a comprehensive (15 to 20 pages) report outlining your personal (family, educational, medical, etc.) history and any mental health diagnoses. All reports include a summary paragraph where I answer the legal question specific to the case. I may also request and include medical or legal records that are relevant to your case.
How quickly will you have the report ready after our appointment?
I typically send reports to attorneys (or directly to clients, where applicable) within two to maximum three weeks after meeting with the client.
How will a psychological evaluation help?
The answer to this question differs depending on the type of case (i.e. hardship vs. U visa vs. asylum.) However, the general purpose of a mental health evaluation for immigration court is to document any mental health conditions or diagnoses and to describe, from a psychosocial perspective, how potential deportation would impact a client and their family. A mental health evaluation can also help address discrepancies in a client’s report of personal history or clinical presentation, for example, by citing research regarding memory and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Research studies have demonstrated the utility of psychological evaluations in immigration cases. For example, in a study of asylum seekers, 89% of those who received a medical evaluation from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) were granted asylum, versus the national average of 37.5% of US asylum seekers who did not receive PHR evaluations.
How much does a psychological immigration evaluation cost?
Generally, immigration psychological evaluations cost anywhere between $1500-$3,000 and can vary depending on the type of testing and the fee that a psychologist charges. Fees are also determined based on the standard customary rate of the region in which you are being evaluated. There are also many different tests that vary in pricing, which does not include the amount of money that it costs to interpret the test scores.
A psychologist tends to charge a higher fee because they have access to specific testing and testing interpretations. Mental health evaluations, on the other hand, are more cost-effective; they are also more appropriate for many of the types of evaluations and information that’s needed from a client.
Many of the situations and symptoms that petitioners come to when seeking an evaluation are relative to mental health and emotional issues, which are more appropriate to a mental health evaluation. Psychological assessments are useful but may not be the most cost efficient method and may not be as effective as a mental health evaluation.
What are the similarities between mental health evaluations and psychological evaluations?
Relative to an immigration petition, mental health counselors, like psychologists, can diagnose mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other traumatic symptoms, which can be used as supportive evidence for an immigration petition.
Mental health counselors and psychologists can both evaluate mental health symptoms within the scope of an immigration evaluation and prove these symptoms in the reports they document.
When should I seek out a mental health counselor versus a psychologist when filing for my immigration petition?
Mental health counselors can be most appropriate when screening for trauma, emotional difficulties, and extreme hardships. Mental health counselors can look at to what degree a victim could be impacted by a hardship and if they have any underlying mental health conditions as a result thereof.
Psychological evaluations, on the other hand, are most appropriate when there are issues such as learning or cognitive delays, or if an applicant needs to be diagnosed for autism. While these psychometric evaluations can be helpful to document in an immigration waiver, these evaluations are uncommon. In the majority of cases, immigrants seek out evaluations for VAWA, U-Visa, T-Visa, asylum, or cancellation of removal, not learning or cognitive delays, at least not as much as the most common evaluations. Yes, these kinds of psychometric evaluations (even IQ testing) can certainly be included in a hardship evaluation, but typically they aren’t.
Overall, both mental health counselors and psychologists are on par and on parity, with the exception that psychologists can perform additional testing, if needed.
How Can We Help?
Relative to an immigration psychological evaluation petition, Our therapists are licensed mental health counselors who can diagnose, comparably to a psychologist, mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other traumatic symptoms, which can be used as supportive evidence for an immigration petition.
Using a therapist for this type of evaluation is most appropriate when screening for trauma, emotional difficulties, and extreme hardships. He can look at to what degree a victim could be impacted by a hardship and if they have any underlying mental health conditions as a result those hardships.
Your therapist can work closely with your attorney to articulate your immigration hardships.
Both disciplines are well-suited for immigration evaluations, as both disciplines can diagnose mental health issues within the scope of an immigration hardship evaluation.
In comparing one field to the other, psychologists do something that’s a little different than a mental health counselor, in that psychologists perform tests to measure neurological functions; albeit, by and large, these tests can be inconsequential to the common needs of an applicant filing for a petition (VAWA and U-Visa, being some common examples).
Mental health evaluations, in sync with psychological evaluations, hone in on the evaluations needed for an applicant filing for an immigration petition. Contact us at 732-508-0052 today for a free consultation.