How To Get An ESA Letter
If you need to get an emotional support animal (ESA) letter and get your pet certified as an emotional support animal, you need to understand a few critical things:
- What makes an emotional support animal letter legitimate
- What makes an ESA letter provider legitimate
- What do you need to qualify for an emotional support animal
- How do you get an ESA letter once you're comfortable with steps 1-3
In this article, we walk you through all of these steps so you can get an ESA letter, certify your pet as an emotional support animal, and keep your ESA companion with you at home and when you travel.
The Bottom Line
- What Is An ESA? - An emotional support animal helps to alleviate symptoms of a mental or emotional disability by providing companionship and support.
- How To Make Your Pet An ESA? - To make your pet an ESA you need to have a mental health evaluation with a licensed professional in your state. To get the process started click here.
- Benefits Of An ESA - An ESA letter can help keep your pet in your home, waive expensive pet fees, stay in Airbnbs, and travel with your furry friend.
- Satisfaction Guaranteed - Pettable is the only ESA service offering a satisfaction guarantee - meaning your letter work for you or you get your money back!
- How To Get Started? - You can take our 3 minute quiz and see if an ESA will work for your needs.
What Steps Do You Need To Take To Ensure Your ESA Letter Is Legitimate?
There are a few critical things you need to look out for when engaging an ESA letter service to ensure your ESA letter is legitimate.
What Makes The ESA Letter Legitimate?
ESA Letters Must Be on Official Letterhead
For your pet to be considered a legitimate emotional support animal, the ESA letter needs to be from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) and must include the LMHP’s official letterhead.
You can think of the letterhead as the logo for a licensed mental health professional (i.e. their business stamp).
They Must Have the Mental Health Professional’s License Number
A mental health professional must have a valid license in your state when they prescribe and sign an ESA letter certifying that you qualify to have an emotional support animal live or travel with you.
To ensure you have a legitimate ESA letter, make sure the letter includes a license number and check it to be sure it is valid. You can look online for sites where you can confirm that a mental health professional is in good standing and their license is valid.
They Also Need the Licensed Mental Health Professional’s Contact Info
All valid ESA letters also have to include full contact information for the licensed provider who signs them. This is very important because landlords often want to verify that you have a legitimate ESA letter and contact the provider directly to confirm that you qualify to have your ESA with you.
ESA Letters Need Specific Information Required by HUD under the Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act governs the rights of people who qualify for an emotional support animal under federal law. The Fair Housing Act also requires that your health care provider follows specific rules to diagnose that you have a mental or emotional disability that qualifies.
For your ESA letter to be valid, the licensed professional who signs it needs to use specific language when stating you have a qualifying mental health condition. Don’t worry about confidentiality. ESA letters are medical documents, and particular information about your medical issue(s) cannot legally be included.
Besides stating that you have a qualifying condition, the licensed professional who signs your ESA letter has to also say that the symptoms of your condition benefit from having an emotional support animal with you.
Whether you need an ESA letter for housing or travel, the letter must also include the professional’s request for reasonable accommodation on your behalf.
ESA Travel Letters Must Also Include Information Required under the Air Carrier Access Act
If your ESA letter is intended to allow you to travel on a plane with your emotional support animal, it has to include some additional information required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Air Carrier Access Act. Those rules say that the licensed healthcare professional who signs your ESA letter has to specifically state that you need an emotional support animal to travel due to qualifying emotional disabilities or mental disabilities.
What Makes The Emotional Support Animal Letter Provider Legitimate?
Besides making sure your ESA letter includes all the necessary details and language, you need to make sure the service that you use to obtain the letter is also legit, or you will almost certainly run into trouble.
The Service Has Licensed Mental Health Professionals In Your State
First off, the providers you connect with through an ESA letter service MUST be licensed in the state where you live. It is illegal for anyone to provide a medical service, including an ESA assessment, in a state where they don’t have a valid license.
As long as they are licensed in your state, various medical professionals can provide a valid ESA letter, including:
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- Family Doctor With Experience In Mental Health
- Licensed Professional Counselors
- Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors
- Licensed Clinical Psychologists
Check this out carefully, because services that provide fake ESA letters will sometimes connect you with a professional, but they won't necessarily be licensed in your state. When a landlord or an airline checks that your ESA letter is legit, that is one of the questions they can ask.
The Service Only Offers Live LMHP Consultations
Another thing you need to check when trying to get a valid ESA letter is that the medical consultation is done live either in person or, more commonly these days, via a video call. If a service says they provide ESA letters and you only have to fill out a form online, get away from them right away.
It is entirely legal to provide ESA letters via an online service. It is also 100% illegal for a mental health professional to state that your mental health qualifies you for an ESA letter without necessarily having met you previously. But, if you don’t have a live conversation with the professional who signs your ESA letter, then the letter isn’t in fact legitimate.
What Makes The ESA Service Provider World Class?
The last piece for you to consider is what makes a service like Pettable that can help you get an ESA letter a truly world-class service.
Offer a Guarantee That the Letter Will Work, or Your Money Back
You can be sure the service you work with to obtain an ESA letter does things legitimately when it guarantees the service it offers. Look for a company that promises to refund your money if the ESA letter they provide doesn’t work to protect your rights to keep an emotional support animal with you at home or while traveling.
At Pettable, we know how important the service we provide is to our customers, and we stand behind it 100%. We guarantee that the ESA letter you obtain through Pettable will do everything it is supposed to under the law.
We can offer such a strong guarantee because we carefully choose the mental health professionals you will work with. We make sure that you get matched with the right person – someone with experience writing ESA letters, who knows the legal and other requirements, and who will work with you to understand your situation and make sure you get the ESA help you need.
Outstanding Customer Service
Finding the right service to work with to get a valid emotional support animal letter can be stressful. For one thing, there are many shady services out there that take advantage of how important emotional support animals are to their owner’s quality of life.
And, of course, anyone who needs an emotional support animal is already dealing with difficult mental or emotional challenges. Our responsibility to our customers is a serious one. We’ve built our business to offer you unparalleled customer support as you work to deal with often challenging housing or travel situations.
That’s why we provide knowledgeable 24/7 support via email, SMS, or phone to answer specific questions or help you deal with an urgent issue. If you get an ESA letter through Pettable, we've got your back – our team has resolved 99% of all customer inquiries.
Have Your Back With Legal Support
Having your back includes providing legal support. We’re here to help if you run into problems getting your emotional support animal approved by your landlord or need help filling out a Reasonable Accommodation form.
Sometimes one of our ESA clients encounters someone willing to risk denying a valid ESA letter and legal request for accommodation. It doesn’t happen a lot but, when it does, our team is there to explain your legal rights as an ESA owner and make sure you and your companion are protected.
Don’t Charge You For A Bunch of Extras - Like Multiple Pets or Calling Your Landlord
We don’t charge you extra for things that should be included in every ESA letter service, like helping you get approved for more than one ESA or making any necessary calls to your landlord.
We don't believe in price gouging our customers, and we include as much as we can into one affordable fee.
We offer some added-cost options, including express service that guarantees you will receive an ESA evaluation within twenty-four hours of signing up. We also can sign any external forms (like something from your landlord or rental office) for an additional fee.
One benefit of Pettable is that we include up to two animals per letter if your situation qualifies. Most services restrict it to one per letter and try to nickel and dime you.
Because the medical and legal forms involved in obtaining an ESA letter are often lengthy, complex, and require additional work from our clinicians, we cover the cost of providing multiple copies of forms with a reasonable fee.
Pettable’s Process for Helping You Get An ESA
Here at Pettable, we design our ESA letter process to make it as efficient and easy as possible for our customers. That includes making sure you can do everything needed to get certified as needing an emotional support animal online or via video, without having to travel to a clinic or medical office.
All of our clinicians have experience working with patients to understand their needs and write valid ESA letters that are guaranteed to work for you. Our clinicians and expert support staff are here to help you understand and deal with anything that comes up after you receive your ESA letter.
Fill Out Our Assessment
The first step is to fill out our online ESA assessment (click below to start taking it).
The ESA assessment puts together a unique profile about you that helps us match you with one of our licensed mental health professionals and schedule a consultation.
Pick From Our ESA Letters
Once the assessment is complete, tell us if you need a housing letter, a travel letter, or a combination letter that can be used for both.
Patients who need their ESA with them every time they fly can ask for a psychiatric service dog letter.
If you think you might need more than one ESA for your emotional or mental wellness, check out our advice on how many emotional support animals you can have.
Book Your Consultation
When you are ready to book your consultation with one of our expert mental health professionals, you’ll pay our affordable fee online. Then we use your assessment info to connect you with a clinician licensed in your state.
The professionals we work with are all experts in ESA and properly licensed. They understand everything that’s required to make your ESA letter medically and legally valid.
Sign Off On HIPPA and Telehealth Forms
After your fee is paid and you’ve filled out and returned privacy and consent forms, you’ll be ready to start the process of certifying your right to live or travel with emotional support animals.
Get Connected For Your Consultation
As soon as we have your completed forms, you can schedule an appointment to complete a mental health evaluation and discuss how your ESA will help you with your specific mental or emotional health and wellness issues. This consultation will give the clinician all the details they need to write your legally valid ESA letter.
Receive Your ESA Letter Within 24 Hours Of Your Consultation
Once the assessment is successfully completed and the clinician agrees that your emotional support animals are a necessary part of your care, they will write a personalized and legally compliant ESA letter.
How Do I Start The Process To Get An ESA?
It's easy to get started and be on your way to having your emotional support animals legitimized. The steps are:
- Fill out our assessment
- Book your consult at the end of the assessment
- Sign off on the forms we'll send you
- Coordinate a time with your clinician for the phone consultation
- Get your ESA letter within 24 hours
Get started today and join the long list of Pettable customers who have discovered the peace of mind a legally valid ESA letter provides!