Emotional support animals play an important role in the lives of those suffering from mental disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, mental illness, and others. An emotional support animal isn’t just a pet but is an essential tool for good mental health and can help regulate the central nervous system after startling events.
However, there are certain rules and laws when it comes to emotional support animals. It is vital to get the appropriate paperwork that can exempt you from housing-related pet fees and other pet restrictions.
The first step is to acquire a valid ESA letter. The process to do so is generally hassle-free providing you use a reputable emotional support letter service. In this article, we will highlight the 4 best emotional support animal letter services you can make use of.
Top 4 sites to use for Animal Letter Services
- CertaPet – Best Overall ESA Letter Provider
- CertaPet – Best Psychiatric Service Dog Letter Provider
- Esadoctors.com – Best After-Service Support
- Realesaletter.com – Best Money-Back Guarantee ESA Letter Service
- Pettable.com – Fastest ESA Letter Provider
CertaPet: Best ESA Letter Provider
CertaPet is the best emotional support animal letter service you’ll find. This service has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, and other reputable enterprises so you know they are to be trusted.
CertaPet has helped over 65,000 persons with legitimate animal letters that comply with both federal and state laws. They work closely with licensed mental health professionals and their process is secure, fast, and simple.
The process starts with a free screening and then it’s followed by an appointment via telemedicine with a licensed mental health professional in your state. This licensed professional decides if an emotional support animal is right for you.
If they feel that you are a candidate for an emotional support animal, they will create a custom treatment plan and issue an emotional support letter. You should be able to print the letter out as a PDF from CertaPet’s secure online portal or have them mail it directly to your home address.
- BBB Accredited
- Offers excellent customer service
- Free Screening
- Compliant with both federal and state laws
- Consultation fee is excluded from the money-back guarantee
Give CertaPet a try!
CertaPet – Best Psychiatric Service Dog Letter
A psychiatric service dog or PSD is different from an ESA in that a PSD is a service and not a support animal. Most airlines no longer acknowledge support animals as a classification that can fly onboard without being in a carrier or fitting under the seat in front of you. You can still fly most dogs in-cabin as PSD’s however.
CertaPet can help determine if your animal qualifies as a PSD. Generally, people that suffer from PTSD or anxiety can greatly benefit from a PSD.
How It Works:
- Speak with a licensed mental health professional.
- If a licensed mental health provider agrees a PSA would be a benefit to you they can provide a letter that confirms your needs.
- Note: A PSD can already be a dog that is a part of your family and there are no limits on what breeds are accepted.
Interested in qualifying for a PSD? Get a free screening today.
Esadoctors is another great service to use if you’re looking for a legitimate ESA letter. This service provider approach is filled with compassion and empathy because they understand that it can be difficult to reach out for help.
Esadoctors work hand in hand with independent mental health professionals licensed in your state. They stay up to date on the latest ESA rules issued by the Department of Housing and the Department of Transportation. You even get support after you receive your letter since some landlords and airlines can be difficult although you have a valid ESA letter.
To get started, you’ll need to complete the brief questionnaire and make a payment. There are no hidden fees and they follow several protocols to ensure your credit card information remains safe.
After, you will work directly with a licensed mental health professional who’ll determine if an emotional support animal is right for you. If you’re approved, you will receive your emotional animal documentation within 1-5 business days and the ESA recommendation letter within 1-3 business days.
- Up to date on the latest ESA rules
- Compassionate and after-service support
- No hidden fees
- There is a $39 fee if you cancel your order
- Order is nonrefundable after 24 hours or after signing the consent form
With Realesaletter, you don’t have to be under the care of a physician or mental health professional to apply. They will put you in touch with expert licensed mental health professionals in your state. Their ESA letters are all personally signed by your individual mental health professional and carry their full license number and contact information.
Realesaletter legally certified process simply requires that you complete a simple questionnaire and if you qualify, you can place your order. A licensed therapist then reviews your application and once approved, you receive your ESA letter within 24 hours or so.
This emotional support animal letter provider allows you to pay 50% upfront and the remaining balance upon delivery. They even offer a 100% satisfaction or money-back guarantee and provide follow-up consultations on rules and procedures for boarding an airline with your emotional support animal.
- 100% satisfaction and money-back guarantee
- Quick and simple process
- Provides follow-up consultations
- No refund if you cancel
If you’re short on time, pettable can get your pet certified in as little as 24 hours or less as long as you qualify. The ESA letter is written and signed by a licensed mental health professional so you know it’s legitimate. It will clearly state that your pet is part of an ongoing treatment plan to help you deal with a mental or emotional disability.
You will be able to have your Emotional Support Animal live with you even if your apartment or other housing restrictions have a no pet policy. They’ll also be exempt from pet deposits or other related pet fees that landlords may charge.
The process is relatively easy and you can apply online. You’ll need to take a 3-minute test which will be used to match you with a suitable therapist. After that, there’s the phone consultation with a licensed mental health professional in your state who determines if you qualify for an emotional support animal.
With Pettble, once approved, you can download a copy on your phone as soon as it is available or print a copy to show your landlord.
- Fastest ESA letter provider
- Easy process
- Downloadable copy
- Phone consultations only
Most frequently asked questions
What is an ESA letter?
An emotional support animal letter is an official document that carries the signature and approval of a licensed mental health professional(LMHP). It will contain the LMHP license number, type, signature as well as date issued, your name, and any other information the LMHP deems important.
An ESA letter certifies that your animal is necessary for your emotional support as part of a custom treatment plan when dealing with mental health issues. The ESA letter may list the specific animal/ breed you choose as your animal even though it’s not necessary.
In some states, you’ll find laws concerning the mental health professional who confirms your emotional support letter. In these instances, the LMHP must be a therapist, psychiatrist, physician, or mental health expert who is currently treating you for your condition.
What are the benefits of an ESA letter?
A legitimate ESA letter will protect you and your emotional support animal from any regulations that would prevent them from accompanying/living with you. These include:
- Airline regulations where animals cannot travel in commercial airplane cabins.
- Federal laws and housing regulations where you aren’t allowed to own pets in a rental.
- Laws that state that you’ll need to pay more to bring your animal on a flight or when renting.
Acquiring a valid ESA letter will exempt you from these regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACCA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA)
Who is eligible for an ESA letter?
To legally qualify for an ESA letter, you need to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. The condition needs to be severe enough to qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990.
Some of the mental health disorders that may make you eligible include:
- Agoraphobia or other phobias
- Extremely high levels of socially-induced stress (above average)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Grieving over a huge loss
- Other less known Mental and Emotional Disorders
You’ll need to be receiving treatment whether through medication, therapy, or counseling for any of these conditions. Your therapist must be able to certify that you indeed qualify for an emotional support animal. They must attest that the animal alleviates some of the symptoms of your disability.
Some of the expected symptom alleviations may lead to:
- Less stress thus lower blood pressure
- Fewer panic attacks and anxiety issues
- Increased functioning in daily tasks
- Sleep better
- Reduced social anxiety
- Motivated with a sense of purpose
How to get an ESA letter?
You can go the traditional route or use online resources like the ones mentioned in this article. If you go the traditional route, start by consulting with your mental health practitioner. Ideally, you should already be seeing someone whether it’s for treatment, therapy, or counseling.
They’ll conduct an assessment that asks specific questions to see if you qualify for an ESA.n if they find that you do qualify, they’ll hand over a signed ESA letter which takes no longer than a week or so after the assessment.
If you choose an online resource, be sure to choose a reputable site. There are many sites just looking to scam you and take advantage of your vulnerability. Attempting to fake an ESA letter carries a heavy fine and maybe even jail time so be thorough in your research for online resources.
Most websites will ask you to pay a fee, fill out a questionnaire and use the answers to match you with a licensed mental health professional in your state. You can either schedule an in-person appointment, video call, or phone appointment with the LMHP who will determine if you qualify for an ESA letter. if you do, you should receive the letter in a few days
What laws protect people with ESAs?
Some individuals may be very understanding of ESA needs and are willing to work with you to support your mental health needs. However, there may be times when you’ll deal with others who are less understanding.
This is why it is a good idea to understand how your ESA is protected by law. Here are a few laws that protect you as someone with an ESA.
Fair Housing Act
If you have appropriate ESA documentation, landlords cannot legally deny you from renting an apartment or house because of your emotional support animal according to the fair Housing Act (FHA).
This law still holds its merit even if they have a no pets policy. This is because an ESA has additional rights and does not fall under the same legal class as pets. Moreover, landlords cannot ask you to pay any additional fees to have your animal live with you. Y
However, your landlord can ask to see your ESA letter but they cannot ask any medical questions or enquire about the personal nature of your disability. If you experience housing discrimination, The US Department of Housing and Urban Development will investigate your claim.
It is clearly stated that housing providers should not ask applicants or tenants to disclose detailed information about their physical or mental disability. They cannot demand that you share access to your private medical records or medical providers.
Under federal law, airline staff can no longer deny ESA owners and their animals reasonable access to flight accommodations. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) of 1986 allows owners the right to travel on commercial airlines with their well-behaved support animals accompanying them in the aircraft cabin.
However, several airlines have restrictions on the size of the emotional support animal that they allow in the cabin. Some airlines state that the animal must not block the aisle while others may explicitly list the size or types of animals they aren’t allowed.
To avoid issues, it is recommended you contact your airline in advance if you plan to travel with your emotional support animal. Some airlines may even ask for a reasonable accommodation form signed by a therapist to go along with your ESA letter.
Workplace and education laws
There is also a law that caters to emotional support animals in the workplace or education space. This includes non-pet-friendly college dorms or houses. It is illegal for employers or schools to discriminate against their staff or students if they have a disability.
How often do ESA letters need to be renewed?
ESA letters are valid for one year and need to be renewed on an annual basis. This is because landlords may not accept an ESA letter dated over a year ago. The same goes for travel. Keep in mind that just because you qualify for an emotional support animal one year, you aren’t guaranteed to qualify the next. Your mental health professional makes that decision.
An ESA comes with several benefits since it identifies your animal as an essential tool in your treatment plan. ESA letters come in handy when you’re trying to seek housing or when traveling with your emotional support animal.
You can always go the traditional route and see if you qualify for an ESA letter or use the online resources mentioned in this article. No matter the route you choose, if you qualify, an ESA letter will make life less stressful for you and your emotional support animal and protect your rights.