Emotional Support Animal Certification Guide

Jan 19, 2021 | Dogs, Emotional Support Animals

1. ESA Certification Process

Mental health problems are increasing among people day-by-day and people aren’t willing to live with such issues. To cope with such issues, Mental health professionals are diagnosing patients with the help of different types of mental and emotional treatments.

People being able to admit these conditions and talking more about these issues makes these types of illnesses get widely recognized as a true illness, which they actually are. With the help of this, people can now get the medical help they require.

In some cases, this requires the patient to have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). With the help of an ESA, most people are able to deal with their symptoms and issues regarding their mental health problems.

Exactly what is an Emotional Support Animal and what is the process to get one? In today’s article, we will have a look at the information about the proper ESA certification channels and what is the process for acquiring a legit ESA letter.


A service dog will require a high amount of training to help the owners with specific needs such as people having sight impairment, hearing problems, etc. Unlike a service dog, an emotional support animal doesn’t require any sort of specialized training or skills. It does not necessarily mean that a person should only have a dog as an emotional support animal. Many types of animals such as horses, cats, birds, rodents, and even chickens can be kept as emotional support animals. The primary objective of an emotional support animal is to provide relief to the owner and help them deal with their life without any sort of mental problems.

However, it should be taken into consideration that a pet animal can’t be kept as an emotional support animal. Even if you have that pet from your childhood or if you feel pleasant while being around your pet, you cannot keep it as an emotional support animal. There are some steps that you need to follow in order to get recognized and certified emotional support animals.


2. What is an ESA letter and how can I get it?

Consult your therapist or search for an online therapist for getting an ESA letter.

To begin with the procedure, you must first consult a mental health professional. It can be a therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or any other mental health professional. After that, your therapist would have to approve and be treating your mental disability. This approval process stops a person from taking their pet to claim it as an ESA. After that, the therapist/doctor is required to provide you an ESA letter that states your requirement for an ESA on their practice’s letterhead. The Emotional Support Animal must be declared in the latter as a part of the treatment you require. This ESA letter should be signed afterward and can be provided to a landlord or an airline so that you can be able to enjoy some privileges that won’t apply to a normal pet.

After getting approved for an Emotional Support Animal, your ESA letter will be valid for one year to live or travel with your ESA. After the validity is over, you would have to re-evaluate and renew the ESA letter for getting qualified for the following year as well.

Who is eligible for an Emotional Support Animal?

The list of mental illnesses that qualify for getting an emotional support animal is huge. Given below is a list of some of the mental/emotional illnesses that are covered by the emotional support animal laws, which make a person get qualified for having an ESA.

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic attack
  • Depression
  • Dyslexia
  • Autism
  • Age-related cognitive decline
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Stress
  • Social disorders
  • Emotional Overwhelm
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Separation anxiety

It should be taken into consideration that any of these disorders or other types of disorders should be recognized by a mental health professional according to the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5).


3. Where will an ESA letter get accepted?

Your ESA letter should be accepted by Airlines and Landlords regardless of their general rules and restrictions.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs have the privilege of being taken to any place that their owner goes. This means that a service dog can be taken to grocery stores, restaurants, shops, and other types of businesses. However, emotional support animals do not have such types of benefits. The emotional support animals are protected under the FHA (Fair Housing Act) as well as the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act). This means that an emotional support animal with a valid ESA letter is allowed in rental houses/apartments and in cabins of airplanes, which have a ‘no pets’ policy.

To be precise, the Fair Housing Act allows an individual to have an emotional support animal with them in their apartments/condos regardless of the existing ‘no pets’ policy. Adding to that, there are no restrictions on the breed or size for an ESA to live with its owner. The ESA owner should be treated in the same way as any other resident would be treated by the landlord, without any restrictions. If you are facing any type of problems with your landlord that are related to having an ESA, you can refer to this helpful article.

In case you are traveling (flying) along with your ESA, you will be protected under the Air Carrier Access Act, which lets you travel along with your ESA in the cabin of a flight. In most cases, the airlines would require you to submit an ESA letter 48 hours prior to your flight, while flying with your emotional support animal. This helps you to gather any other documentation required along with your ESA letter. To make it more convenient, a person can even submit a digital copy of their ESA letter. An advantage of this process is that there won’t be any additional charges for traveling with your ESA.

4. What should I do if my ESA letter does not get accepted?

Get to know your rights under FHA and ACAA

In case you are being treated differently or getting discriminated against because of your ESA, you might be able to follow these steps for making sure that your ESA will be accepted.

Nowadays, as most people are opting for using emotional support animals as a part of their therapy, airlines & building owners are putting unnecessary restrictions on the ESA owners. This is why it is very essential for you to follow some rules in order to get a legitimate ESA letter.


What should be done if the landlord denies your ESA?

If your landlord or building manager treats you differently or discriminates against you for having an ESA, you can follow the given procedure.

  • Step -1: Inform your landlord about your rights to have an ESA. Most owners would deny it as they might be unaware of this and show that the claims made by you are false or illegal. Some might not want to have an emotional support animal and would go the extra mile by even showing some fake information. You should firmly let them know that you are totally aware of your rights and don’t want them to be discriminate against or deny an ESA.
  • Step – 2: As discussed before, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) along with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers protection to the people having an emotional support animal. Therefore, if your landlord still denies accepting your ESA after step 1, you can go contact the HUD concerning the issue you are facing. This helps you to prove to your landlord that your ESA is legit, and the landlord would have to accept it as per the FHA.
  • Step – 3: Even though you did step 2, and the landlord is still not accepting your ESA, then you can consult an ESA lawyer and make them send a strong legal letter to your owner/landlord.
  • Step – 4: If you can’t find an ESA lawyer, you can ask an ESA doctor to provide the legal services and the required information. In this way, you can be treated as per your rights.


What to do if an airline employee denies your ESA?

If an airline employee does not accept your ESA and denies letting it travel with you, you can ask to speak with someone having higher authority such as a manager/supervisor. Sometimes, an employee or the person at the gate still doesn’t accept allowing your ESA with you. If so, you can ask the disability department of your airline for providing further assistance. It should be remembered that the airlines will be aware of your rights to an ESA. However, some employees might not be aware of such laws.


5. Getting an ESA letter online

You can get a legal ESA letter online with the help of ESA Certificate.

ESA Certificate is a tech-based company that allows you to get connected to licensed mental health professionals in America. With the help of modern & advanced inventions, a licensed therapist can aid you with cutting-edge technology.

The process of getting qualified for an ESA letter online is simple, which is provided below.

  • Step – 1: Complete an ESA Questionnaire
  • Step – 2: ESA Certificate connects an individual with a licensed mental health professional. The licensing of mental health professionals is approved by airlines and landlords.
  • Step – 3: The therapist will connect with the client using telehealth procedures.
  • Step – 4: The therapist will then write an ESA letter for the client stating that he/she qualifies for having an Emotional Support Animal.
  • Step – 5: The client can provide that ESA letter to airlines to let their ESA travel with them on their flight or they can produce it to their landlord for living along with their ESA in a building with a no-pet policy.

Start your questionnaire and find out whether or not you qualify for an ESA

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