What Is A Hardship Evaluation

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What is a hardship evaluation?

Clinicians write immigration evaluations for varying cases. Some are trauma-related such as the U Visa case. Others are focused on emotional hardship, such as the hardship waivers. The role of the clinician with respect to writing the immigration evaluation requires certain shifts when approaching each type of evaluation in order to provide best practice.

My name is Juan and I am the owner of Santos Counseling PLLC a private practice in Greensboro, NC that focuses on helping Greensboro move forward. In the practice, I love helping individuals and families who are navigating immigration cases. To date, I’ve supported hundreds of individuals and families in their immigration evaluation proceedings.

In addition, I have trained hundreds of clinicians across the U.S in learning how to add the service of writing immigration evaluations to their practice. Everything from learning the entire service and everything that it entails to marketing your practice for the service of writing immigration evaluations.

If you are interested and ready to learn how to write immigration evaluations click here. I would love to connect with you and help you transform your practice while serving others.

In this post, I want to share a case study connected to a hardship waiver case. This way you have a clear idea of how to approach a typical client. The case study will focus on understanding a typical client who would approach your practice and how to provide the service of writing the immigration evaluation.


Josh is a 47-year-old man living in town. He is a father of 3 and married to his spouse Doris for the past 16 years. Josh approached your counseling office with a phone call where he shared that his immigration attorney requested for him to have an evaluation completed for the petition case pertaining to his wife. During the intake session, Josh shared that he is 6 months into the process of the immigration proceeding and has smuggled emotionally. In the intake documents, Josh noted the following symptoms: problems focusing, problems sleeping, low energy, hopelessness, and anger.

After completing the intake session and having the release of information on file. You decide to call the attorney who shares details about the case. The attorney shares that they are searching for the emotional hardship the client is going through.

During the sessions with Josh, he is open to tell you details about his relationship with his wife. That he works until 5. That his wife is a stay at home parent, the youngest being 5 years old. He shares that he can’t focus at work because he keeps thinking about everything wrong that may happen If his wife doesn’t receive the waiver. Josh shares that he doesn’t have a support system in the area outside of his wife. He tells you that in his spouse’s home country they have no support, no home, or finical base.

Now let’s take a step back and evaluate the information in the case study. We are able to acknowledge how the client was referred to. We have a strong idea of what the client is going through and the purpose of the evaluation.

Hardship waivers are in essence focused on a petition between two people. In this case, it would be Josh petitioning for his wife. The immigration case has certain legal definitions. The definition, in this case, is that Josh is a U.S Citizen or an LPR which stands for Lawful Permanent Resident. He is applying for the waiver of his wife, who does not hold legal status. The denial of the waiver can result in separation or relocation. Meaning that denial can result in Josh’s wife being relocated to her home country for a period of time.

The clinician conducting the immigration evaluation for this case would focus on hardship.

As such key points to consider from the case study when writing a powerful and clinically effective evaluation include:

Support system. How Josh and Doris support each other and their family system. This is important to understand in order to gain details on bond, family connection, how each support each other, and how a separation would impact overall wellbeing.


Work and school. Details here can include information such as work conditions in the home country, work stability in currently taking place, the impact of losing spousal financial support, the impact of change in the educational system, growth taking place in the current educational system.

Using tests to gather information. During graduate school, we as clinicians focused on the importance of assessments. In essence, assessments are tests that provide more detail to what is taking place. When working with Josh, the clinician can provide varying assessments to gain further understanding of symptoms and emotional status.

Exploring conditions. Something that you can research is if it’s safe to travel to a particular country. Also, you’ll want to add data about that country’s government. Will their government provides the same amount of safety that the government does here in the United States? Plus, you’ll need to include medical data. Are there enough hospitals in that country? Will your client be able to receive mental health services? If not, what are the implications and emotional distress that will take place? For the case of Josh, gathering this information can provide support in identifying hardship.


Using the key points above along with other points, the clinician is able to develop an effective evaluation for the Hardship case. One key variable to consider in this case and the details shared is the type of immigration case. There are different types of immigration cases and each requires the clinician to approach the client and process of writing the immigration evaluation uniquely.

If you’re not sure about writing an immigration evaluation, I recommend getting training to do these evaluations. Although there is no gold standard in terms of qualifications, I have put my skills and knowledge into courses/consultations and have trained hundreds of other clinicians in immigration evaluation. Are you ready to write expert-level immigration evaluations? Enroll in my training courses HERE.

CLICK HERE to join clinicians just like those who are interested or are currently working in immigration evaluations.

Learn how to build a thriving counseling practice, establish marketing funnels, and create ways to make passive income, and more by connecting with me HERE.

Learn How To Complete Hardship Evaluations