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       Forensic Evaluations in Immigration Matters
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I do forensic evaluations for Immigration authorities and will stand by my finding at the Court.  Usually a referral  for Psycho-social Evaluation comes from an Attorney working with clients on Asylum, T visa,  U-visa,  VAWA or  Deportation Cancellation where  the hardship is evaluated.

This kind of Report  would be  helpful for any case,  though trying to reduce Clients’ expenses,   Attorneys usually refer Clients under the  following  circumstances:                   -  if Attorney  believes  a case is not supported with sufficient evidence or a case has been returned with RFE request for additional evidence;   

    -    one received NOID - Notice of Intent to deny; 

      -  if traumatic events had  a negative impact on Applicant’s mental health condition and diagnostic work is required. 



Phone:  650 338-9530  Zoya Girshfeld, LCSW    

Office is located in Redwood City but i travel all around the Bay Area and use Skype.  

I am  a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, graduated from SJSU in 2014.  I have a private practice in Redwood City  treating clients with psychiatric problems.   It was late change of career since i was a Lawyer in Russia before.  I  received  basic knowledge of law in the U.S. graduating from the Paralegal Institute of Santa Clara University, working as a Paralegal and studying at Lincoln Law School.  Those experiences developed  an extra attention to details and love for a thorough analysis of causation between events.  I can say I know what immigration official (or a judge)  is looking for!

Attorney Todd Pilcher,  WA  -  January 2023.


I just read your evaluation of Ms. D.N.   It is by far the best, most comprehensive report I have ever seen for a client. I have been doing the I-601 waiver applications for clients since 1998 and I cannot recall seeing a report this carefully prepared, detailed, and compelling. Thank you so much.

Although you said that English is not your first language, the report is extremely well written and grammatically correct. I could make a few minor edits for grammar, but it doesn't seem necessary because the report is so good.


I am truly grateful for your hard work on this case. If USCIS approves the waiver, and I think they will approve,  Mrs. D.N. can be certain that your strong evaluation made all the difference.

                             From the Office of Luu Law, PC  (San Jose, CA):

                          I am writing to express gratitude on behalf of attorney Nguyen Luu and our office. We       

                    greatly appreciate your dedication to accommodate our time constraints and  provide us with Mrs.                        Li's psychological evaluation on such short notice. 

                          We noticed that beyond doing a psychological assessment,  you explored  our client's                                        cultural traditions.  This  gave more weight to your argument that  our client would                                              suffer more underseparation from a loved one than a client of another                                                                   background would.  Our office has worked with  the clients from Eastern Asia  for many years,                            and  this is the first time a  client's cultural  background  and traditional  Confucian values have                          been brought into the Psychological Evaluation Report to the client's advantage.                                                            Your expertise has not only facilitated our work but has also showcased your genuine                                 concern  for the well-being of our client. Please know that your contribution is highly valued. We                        look forward to the opportunity of working together again in the  future. 

                                   Verenice V., Legal Assistant

                                   Luu Law, PC. 

December,  2023



Attorney Sergiy Fedorov,  Sacramento,  CA, August 2022

        I’m glad to meet and work with forensic  evaluator Zoya Girshfeld. We work mostly with Russian speaking clients.

I  can say that she is the best forensic  evaluator I have ever worked with.

We just won the case or a young lady from Ukraine asking for asylum  based on family violence against her in Ukraine.  It was a difficult case because client  missed a  1 year deadline for filing her application by 9 months.  She could haveeasily  been denied  just based on this 1 year deadline or  they might  have found her traumatic history not substantiated enough  and decline her claim for asylum.  But we won!

Zoya usually  spents multiple hours talking to clients, collecting information and researching  scientific psychological and other  sources on related issues.   She brings additional facts and  new  perspectives on  a  client  experiences.    As a result,  every client’s  case benefits tremendously from her work;  I can say,  she  significantly  contributes to the winning of a case.  She usually starts from scratch,  not willing to look at a  client’s  Declaration before she has her own  concept. Her reports are very detailed  but not at the expense of  a chronological or other accuracy;  she verifies all the information before submitting  her Report.


Though  researching the contry conditions  is  not a direct task of a psychological evaluation,  Zoya  goes into the depth on the contry condition.   She explains   that  complete assessment of   psychological status of a client  is not possible without   showing  how the client  perceived  the  events  occurred to  him or her(subjective aspect).  And an analysis  of  the  subjective  perception is not possible without  good knowledge of  the contry background  as  documented by sociologists and  historians as well as by media reports.


   Successful Applicant for Asylum based on religious persecution - AFTER  NOID !!!   New York.


          Мне надо было делать психологическую оценку после того как я получила  форму NOID от USCIS  - Извещение о Намерении Отказать.  Они посчитали что ситуация со Свидетелями Иеговы  не достигла уровня "преследования" в России.  Сейчас 2022 , и.   все стало намного хуже.  Я просила убежище в 2018  и тогда суды отказывали на основании того что " harassment is not persecution" -  дискриминация это не преследование.

           Мой адвокат (Алена Шауцова) проверила по всем штатам, около 6 дел дошли до Аппеляционных судов в разных штатах и всем было отказано.  То есть надежды практически не было.

           Зоя Гиршфелд сделала Психологическую оценку за 10 дней.  Она сделала   детальный анализ моего состояния .  Она сдедала  даже больше чем психологи обычно делают: она   собрала и организовала инциденты плохого обращения со Свидетелями Иеговы в России.   Её  работа коренным образом изменила  ход событий -  я получила  ОДОБРЕНИЕ на убежище!

                                                         Translation of the review above from Russian into English:

              After i have got the form  NOID -Notice Of Intent to Deny from USCIS, I  was advised to have a Psychological Evaluation made by a psychologist.   They  seemed to find that the situation with Jehovah Witnesses in Russia  did not reach the level of persecution.  Now is 2022 and things became much worse but I applied for Asylum in 2018. Then the USCIS and  courts denied on the basis that 'harassment is not persecution".

           My Attorney, Alena Shautzova, checked West Law through all states. About six cases have reached the level of the Appellate Courts in different states and they all were denied.  I still had a little hope.

          Zoya Girshfeld has made the Psychological Evaluation within 10 days. She made a detailed analysis of my condition.  She did much more than psychologists usually do -she found information about incidents of mistreatment of the Jehovah Witnesses in Russia and presented all in an organized way.  Her Report has  drastically  changed the course of events.  I was APPROVED !!!


 Natalya  Goncharova from Russia, January 2022.

    Attorney Benjamin Hall, CA  (VAWA) 2022

    Excellent Report!   Regarding the Clinet's 'stoic attitude" despite her psychological impairment - I felt the same about this Client but I did not know how to describe that. The use of Armenian sources is impressive !

Attorneys and Clients' Reviews




           Why to bother to have a Psycho-Social Report: 

There are few reasons any Applicant for Immigration relief is better off  if she/he has a Report from Forensic Evaluator that is called Psycho-Social Evaluation:

  • As a Forensic Evaluator,  I spend 3-4 hours with an Applicant  talking about all details of his or her case.  This prolonged interviews inevidently bring to the light  new details of the case  and they goes into the Report.  There could be details that the Applicant’s  Immigration Attorney did not elicit from and did not  write about  just because of the time constraints.  Usually the work is being done in close contact with Attorneys.            

  • I do extensive research to be able to ask an Applicant  good questions.  I believe  that, like a journalist,  an Evaluator could  elicit more information by doing homework before the interview.   I usually research  the  country situation and  specific  country socio-cultural  or religious patterns  relevant to Applicant’s experience:  

  •  Applicant does not need to have necessarily a mental health diagnosis:  there could be subthreshhold  traumas that did not cause a full blown disorder - the description of which  would matter  as an additional evidence for a case showing the severity of  trauma,  the sincerity of Applicant’s  response,  and the most important the  consistency of the narrative, so it helps to establish the Client’s credibility.   


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