What do you want to learn more about?
Since starting the Immigration Evaluation Institute, there’s been a number of questions I’m frequently asked. They’re great questions, and the more they come up, the more I realize it would probably be helpful to have an FAQ series here on the blog!
I’m hoping to put a few of these together this year to help this community and see their purpose as two-fold:
- Providing you with in-depth information on core topics and questions relevant to anyone currently conducting or looking to get started with conducting immigration evaluations.
- Somewhere to signpost people when they email me the questions!
To kickstart this, I wanted to dive a bit deeper into a question that comes up quite a bit from those who’ve just discovered immigration evaluations: do you need a specific certification to get started with immigration evaluations?
The Short Answer
The really quick short answer is no: you do not need a particular certificate to conduct immigration evaluations.
That being said, immigration evaluations aren’t something that anyone should take on lightly. There’s a lot of important information and professional knowledge you should equip yourself with before you begin conducting client evaluations.
What USCIS Advises
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises there is no current certification specifically for immigration evaluations. Clinicians do not need to prove or provide any form of specialty certification before they can begin conducting evaluations.
However, it’s important to be well-trained before doing these evaluations so that you can be sure to address the essential points in your report and ensure that you are answering the clinical questions that immigration is asking.
Do You Need to be Licensed to Conduct Immigration Evaluations?
In general, immigration evaluations are completed by independently licensed mental health clinicians, such as clinical psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, and psychiatric nurses.
These mental health clinicians have completed (at least) a Master’s degree, are licensed to practice independently, and are no longer under supervision. I always suggest clinicians contact their licensing board to ensure that these evaluations fall under their scope of practice.
I have known cases where a pre-licensed clinician has completed the evaluation, and both they and their supervisor signed off on the report.
In the end, it may depend on the immigration attorney’s preference. I recommend speaking with them to see if this is something they would accept or prefer to work only with independently licensed clinicians. It is more likely that an immigration lawyer would be okay with a report from a pre-licensed individual in cases that are not headed to court, such as extreme hardship waivers.
Why Complete an Immigration Evaluations Course?
So, knowing there’s no formal certification required might leave you wondering why you should invest in an informal immigration evaluation course.
As mentioned, although there is no formal requirement for accreditation, immigration evaluations can be nuanced. There’s a lot of information that’s good to know as a starting point before you begin working with clients.
This is exactly what my courses aim to do. They’re a fantastic foundation to start growing your professional knowledge in this area while also giving you access to expertise and a professional community in the space.
How Does Completing a Course Benefit You?
Completing an immigration evaluations course benefits experienced professionals and beginners alike.
Below I’ve detailed the core four benefits many clients report back to me on having received after engaging with my courses and resources:
- Foundational Knowledge: Deciding to conduct immigration evaluations needs careful thought, and the great thing about the courses is they offer this. To help you decide whether investing in a course is right for you, I also offer my free Quick Sart Guide, which is ideal for anyone on the fence about whether to get started in more depth.
- Access to Expertise: When you complete one of my courses, you don’t just gain access to the content – you gain access to me! I’ve completed hundreds of immigration evaluations and have worked with a broad cross-section of clients and immigration attorneys. A course is just the starting point – you’ll need more help as you get started, and that’s what I offer.
- Access to Professional Community: I firmly believe we’re better together, and building a professional community of individuals dedicated to this work is one of the best parts of my job! Find out more about what our professional community looks like here.
- A Positive Credential: All courses are approved for 4 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) by R. Cassidy Seminars. You’ll also receive a certificate of completion and a digital badge that you can display on your email signature, LinkedIn profile, or website – anywhere you feel it would be beneficial. This not only signifies your commitment to professional development but is also an excellent sign for immigration attorneys that you’re serious about the work and can help them to build trust in your expertise.
Where to Get Started
I hope you found this information helpful – as always if you have any follow on questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The main thing I want you to take away from this is that getting started with immigration evaluations is a relatively easy process – it all starts with growing your knowledge! My Quick Start Guide is the perfect resource to begin with, and see where you can grow from there.
I’m Cecilia Racine, and I teach therapists how to help immigrants through my online courses. As a bilingual immigrant myself, I know the unique perspective that these clients are experiencing. I’ve conducted over 500 evaluations and work with dozens of lawyers in various states. Immigrants are my passion, I believe they add to the fabric of our country.
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