Psychological evaluation for USCIS

Why do I need a Psychological evaluation for immigration ?

If you are a client going through immigration proceedings, your attorney may have encouraged you to get a “psychological evaluation” for your case. Chances are you’ve never been to a psychologist or therapist, and have no idea why you need to go now. The purpose of the evaluation is not to assess how “crazy” you are. The purpose is to provide a bigger picture about who you are, what you have overcome, and give a little more context to those who will review your case.



Hardship Waivers

If a U.S. citizen or permanent resident wishes to apply for an immigration waiver for a related individual, they must prove that the deportation or removal of said individual would cause extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen or resident. Qualifying relatives may include spouses, children, parents, and same-sex partners under the Defense of Marriage Act.

“Extreme hardship” is not clearly defined under U.S. law. As part of this, “Extreme Hardship” requires a degree of hardship beyond that typically associated with deportation. But there are factors that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicator will take into account on a case-by-case basis. Also, even if no single factor rises to the level of “extreme hardship,” the effect of all the different hardships when taken together may be enough.

When attempting to prove “Extreme Hardship” for an American Citizen or Resident, various factors such as family separation, financial and medical issues, mental health, safety in a foreign country, difficulty in adapting to a new place, as well as lack of educational and medical resources can be taken into consideration. Psychological evaluation is also a key component in strengthening the argument, which includes a detailed questionnaire to gather information related to historic and current events, as well as the use of multiple psychological tests to analyze the effects of the various factors.

A psychological evaluation is used to demonstrate any difficulties that a foreign applicant may face when trying to relocate to or remain in the United States. It can be used for waivers of deportation and inadmissibility, such as Form I-601 and I-601(a) for certain offenses, fraud, and deceptions; a fiancée visa to explain why the couple has not been able to meet in the last two years; and the VAWA Violence Against Women Act for battered spouses and self-petitioners.


Hardship Waivers
life liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Psychological Evaluation Vawa
(Violence Against Women Act )

VAWA  (Violence Against Women Act) allows the victim of spousal or domestic violence to continue with a lawful immigration process. This type of violence can include verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The perpetrator does not need to be a U.S. Citizen or Resident in order for the victim to

This protects the victim of abuse (immigrant) from having to endure sustained, significant abuse in order to attain a lawful immigration status.

In this case, Vawa psychological evaluation will assess the victim’s mental and emotional state and assess the degree of trauma and negative effects (mentally and emotionally) associated with spousal abuse or domestic violence.

Each case is unique, and the psychological evaluation will apply to multiple categories that can include verbal abuse, coercion, manipulation, intimidation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc.

Utilizing the appropriate process, tests and questionnaires, the psychological evaluation will properly assess the impact the abuse has had or is having related to emotional and mental state, functioning level, and medical and mental conditions, and will also assess the potential long-term impact of sustained abuse. Usually, this type of abuse contributes to significant mental health illnesses (e.g. Depression, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD).

This process can apply to I-360 (VAWA), and other abusive conditions. The psychological evaluation for Vawa will assess the effect of the abuse by the USA Citizen or Resident on the immigrant who is part of an immigration process.

Dr. Benajam is one of the best Vawa therapists that can help you to manage and support your immigration case.


Citizenship Examination Waiver (Form N-648)

Anyone applying for USA Citizenship as part of the naturalization process has to undergo a test or examination. This test or examination is to show adequate proficiency in specific subjects such as English language, USA History, and civic requirements.

However, USCIS allows for exempting a person from taking the citizenship exam under certain circumstances that can be related to medical and/or mental health conditions. This is done by having a qualified professional (e.g. medical doctor, or psychologist) complete Form N-648 (Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions).

The exemption has to be “medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments which lasted or is expected to last for 12 months”. However, these impairments cannot be due to illegal abuse of drugs.

For this, a psychological evaluation will assess any physical, developmental, or mental impairment that can interfere with or affect the individual’s concentration, memory, attentional processes, and/or ability to learn.

Once the process is completed, the qualified professional must complete Form N-648 supporting the recommendation to exempt the person from taking the citizenship test.



Bilingual Immigration Psychological Evaluations (Spanish / English) | Fast Reports

Deportation Waiver and VAWA Psychological Evaluations including the Full Report can be completed within 48 hours of the interview with the affected party and can be conducted in-person or remotely (via Skype or FaceTime) if needed and under certain conditions.

Evaluations are comprehensive and include Mental Health Screen, Anxiety and Depression Inventories, PTSD Inventory, Mini-Mental Status Examination, MMPI-RF, TONI-4 (Intelligence), RBANS (Cognitive Functioning), Health Anxiety Inventory, Domestic Violence, and Abuse Questionnaires, Cognitive Functioning Assessments, etc., as applicable. All these questionnaires and inventories are available in both English and Spanish.

Dr. Gustavo Benejam, Psy.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychology in Florida, has completed a large number of Immigration Evaluations, and is fully bi-lingual (English & Spanish). Dr. Benejam has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and has lived in Venezuela and Mexico. Dr. Benejam has physical offices in Boca Raton and Miami, Florida. Dr. Benejam has directly involved in all the steps of the process himself and also answers all calls himself.

Asylum & Immigration Evaluations

As in the cases above, a psychological evaluation and assessment can be a key part of helping someone deal with the bad effects of being prosecuted and mistreated in a foreign country. In some situations, the person who is hurt is called a “Particular Social Group” (PSG). A PSG is usually thought of as a known group that a foreign government sees as a threat (this could apply to sexual orientation, political affiliation, dissidents, family ties, former members of the military, etc.).

Also, the psychological evaluation will find out how the persecution is hurting the person, what their mental and emotional state is, and what the future looks like if the persecution continues.

As part of helping people get asylum, there are some important things to think about: (1) a well-founded fear of persecution, (2) based on past persecution or the risk of future persecution if the person goes back to their home country, (3) because the person is a member of a certain social group (PSG), and (4) the persecutor is a government actor or a non-government actor that the government is unwilling or unable to control.

asylum application

U-Visa & T-Visa

A psychological evaluation for a U or T visa is an evaluation of a person’s mental health who has been the victim of certain crimes and has suffered severe physical or psychological abuse as a result of the crime and has helped law enforcement investigate or prosecute the crime can apply for a U or T visa.

A psychological examination for a U or T visa may involve, in general, an assessment of the individual’s mental health and well-being, a review of pertinent medical and psychological data, and an assessment of the psychological impact of the crime and abuse on the individual and their family. The examination may also include therapy or other treatments to address the psychological consequences of crime and abuse.

Dr. Benejam has extensive expertise with mental examination in the context of U and T Visas. He is also well-versed in how to effectively address the legal issues that the immigration court will have about your case.


According to one study that followed 746 asylum seekers from 2000-2004, 89% percent of asylum cases were granted when a psychological or medical evaluation was submitted. Only 37% of cases were granted without an assessment. We know that these evaluations add a lot of evidence to your case!

As you think about the benefits of a Psychological Immigration Evaluation you might have some questions…

Immigration Psychological Evaluation Process

  • Call to discuss your case and set up the initial appointment.
  • Initial Appointment: All the information and history relevant to your case is collected and the administration of psychological instruments begins.
  • Additional Appointments: Additional appointment(s) are scheduled, if necessary, to review data and results.
  • Report: The report is sent to you for your review and approval.
  • Final Report: Once you approve the report, it is sent to your attorney.
    Time to complete the process: We work quickly. Once we have finished with the appointment(s) and administration of psychological instruments, the report will normally be ready for the following week.

As part of this process, getting the best possible evaluation that supports your case is critical. We are here to work with you and ready to answer any questions while determining best next steps.

I answer ALL my calls directly and I am fully bilingual (Spanish & English). We have convenient locations in Miami and Boca Raton, and, in some cases, we have the capability of performing remote evaluations through the use of simple technology (e.g. Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc.).

Your Immigration Status Is Very Important To You And To Your Family, And Your Future!

Taking the right steps can make a big difference in your life. Resolving your immigration status issues will allow you to ultimately live in peace so you can focus all your energy on the future and on the well-being of your family!