Remote or In-Person with Heather Drey, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist 

Immigration Psychological Assessments

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Meet Dr. Drey

Licensed Clinical Psychologist (CA PSY 30280)

Dr. Heather Drey, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, specializes in psychological evaluations for Hardship, VAWA, T Visa, U Visa, Asylum, and Cancellation of Removal. With a background in law and psychology, and specialty training in forensics, health, and trauma, Dr. Drey will provide a high-quality written psychological evaluative report to effectively convey to USCIS and Immigration Court whether an individual should be able to lawfully remain in the United States.

I earned my doctoral and master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Health from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego, and a second master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego. I completed an American Psychological Accredited (APA) practicum, internship, and post-doctoral residency at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to my clinical and research training in psychology, I worked as a Paralegal. 

My education, training, and experience has both breadth and depth – I have acquired skills and experience in various settings to include schools, residences, community centers, crisis houses, hospitals, residential treatment facilities, as well as the State and Federal Government. I have assisted documented and undocumented immigrant families by providing assessment, therapy, and education to improve the quality of their lives. In my work for the Federal government, I conducted research, evaluated, and intervened with Veterans and service-members struggling with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Other trauma-related disorders, among several other mental and behavioral health issues. In my current capacity, I assess, intervene, and provide crisis and therapeutic intervention in an adult forensic setting. I have expertise in trauma, coping with anxiety, depression, stress, and chronic health issues. I have a basic working knowledge of Spanish but work closely with interpreters in several languages to provide immigration evaluations for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Department (USCIS) and Immigration Court. My private practice is solely dedicated to assisting Immigrants through providing Immigration Psychological Evaluations. 

I am passionate about helping others and writing well written evaluations that are easily understood by UCSIS and Immigration Courts.




What I Specialize In


T Visa, 

U Visa


Cancellation of Removal

Psychological Evaluations for Hardship



Immigration Psychological Evaluation is psychological assessment that is used to help immigration courts determine whether a person will be able to remain lawfully in the US.  


There are different types of Immigration Psychological Evaluations, depending on the type of case: 

1) Extreme Hardship – cases in which extreme hardship to a petitioner’s qualifying family members is shown 


2) VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) – Applies equally to women AND men. Assessment of the psychological impact of acts endured by survivors of domestic and, or dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking


3) T Visa – a type of visa that allows some victims of human trafficking and immediate family members to remain and work temporarily in the US 


4) U Visa – used to document the type and extent of the psychological damage and distress suffered by the immigrant because of victimization


5) Asylum – involves the collection of information about the immigrant’s mistreatment to examine the psychological impact these circumstances had on the immigrant


6) Cancellation of Removal - a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act of the US that allows some immigrants who have lived in the US for a long time and who are currently involved in removal proceedings, as well as who meet certain other criteria, to terminate the removal proceedings and remain in the US.


Immigration Psychological Evaluations vary in length from about 15-25 pages and contain important information about cultural, psychological, familial, and other factors that provide USCIS and Immigration Court with a clear picture of the circumstances, context, and thought processes that shaped the immigrant’s decision to leave their country of origin.  

These reports are often part of the application process for immigration, and as in Asylum cases, a necessary part of the immigration process to ensure the immigrant receives the medical and, or mental health care they may need to facilitate a successful immigration to the US. 


Finally, in Asylum assessments, immigrants who apply without an Immigration Psychological Evaluation tend to have about a 30% success rate, while those with a psychological evaluation are approved for immigration to the US about 90% of the time. For a few hours of time, the immigrant may significantly improve their chances of a successful immigration approval. However, participation in a psychological evaluation and receipt of a report in no way guarantees that an application for immigration will definitively be approved. 


If you are working with an Immigration Attorney, have your attorney call me (Dr. Drey) at the contact information listed below. All assessments take place either at the attorney’s office or via remote video technology from any laptop or desktop computer – at your attorney’s office, in a private location in your home, or at my home office. In some cases, I will provide you with questionnaires to complete in advance. The remainder of the evaluation will take place at the attorney’s office, via video technology in your home, or in my home office, and may include a clinical interview, objective test(s), record review (such as medical, mental health, educational records if needed), consultation with other professionals (teachers, doctors, providers), and, or other individuals who may play an important role in the immigration case. After all information and data is collected and interpreted, a report is written and a copy of the report is provided to the immigration attorney of record. 


The fee is $1500, total, for the assessment and report for Extreme Hardship waivers and Cancellation of Removal cases. For VAWA, T Visa, U Visa, and Asylum evaluations, the fee is $1600, total, for the evaluation and report. However, if I am required to attend Court as an expert witness for an Asylum evaluation, for example, fees for these special circumstances will be discussed with the immigrant seeking application and the immigration attorney, and such fees are in addition to any evaluation and report cost. 


Payment for evaluations and the report should be made in full, and payment made to “Optimal Life Psychological Services, Inc.” by way of cash or Pay Zelle. Note that most assessments cost between $800 and $3000. For my fee of either $1500 or $1600, depending on the type of assessment sought, the immigrant and attorney may have peace of mind knowing, the services of a qualified, licensed, doctoral level mental and behavioral health professional with a background in psychology and law will be diligently working on your case. 


Most evaluations will be completed in one visit and will require between 3 – 6 hours of the immigrant’s time. In some situations, a second meeting may be needed. The immigrant’s test answers, and information will be collected, scored, interpreted, and the final report written by Dr. Drey, Psychologist, with a turnaround time of 1-2 weeks from the date of evaluation, depending on the type of assessment sought.