Getting an emotional support animal (ESA) letter online is a straightforward process for Virginia residents, especially with the help of Pettable. You can start by taking our online ESA letter assessment to determine your eligibility; the easy questionnaire only takes a few minutes, so you won’t waste a moment. Next, you’ll need to consult with a licensed mental health professional (LMPH) who is certified in Virginia; this could be your own licensed therapist or an LMHP from Pettable’s network of professionals certified by your state.
If you choose to meet with a Virginia-based LMHP through our service, you’ll make an online appointment for an easy telehealth consultation. After this is completed, you’ll receive your legitimate ESA letter within 24 hours of being approved. You’re sure to love the world-class customer service and support offered by Pettable, and our friendly professionals are happy to help you through every step, even after your ESA letter has been issued. Whether you’re a Virginian or a resident of any other state, we have you covered across America with our trusted online services.
Answer a few questions about your ESA needs
We'll match you to a professional in your state
Receive it within 24 hours of getting approved *
We'll help with any extra forms you need signed and our therapists are available to talk to your landlord anytime, for an additional fee.
* For California residents, effective January 1, 2022, new law AB 468 requires those seeking an ESA letter for dogs to establish a client-provider relationship with the individual for at least 30 days prior to providing documentation, which will result in having two consultations before qualifying.
In Virginia, and the rest of the U.S., an emotional support animal is defined as any domesticated animal that helps alleviate the symptoms of an individual’s mental health disorder by providing affection, attention, and companionship. The comfort and support they provide for their owners can ease some of the effects of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health challenges.
Unlike physical or psychiatric service dogs (PSDs), ESAs are not recognized as working animals and are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, they still have some rights when it comes to housing accommodations thanks to the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), and for Virginians, there are regulations specific to the commonwealth that support disabled individuals and their ESAs.
Virginia emotional support animal laws largely mirror those at the federal level. The state is also quite pet-friendly and even has many laws in place to prevent animal cruelty. In addition, an individual in Virginia could face hefty fines for misrepresenting an animal as an assistance animal when it is not.
Below, we'll cover specifics on Virginia's ESA laws for public access, travel, work environment, and housing. This information will give you additional insight into the rights, protections, and benefits available to you as the owner of an emotional support animal in Virginia.
While the FHA offers safeguards for ESAs in rental housing situations, the Commonwealth of Virginia has laws that protect them and categorize them as “assistance animals,” placing them on the same level as service animals regarding housing. The Virginia Fair Housing Act bolsters federal law, prohibiting discrimination against anyone based on disability, race, color, religion, and many other factors. This includes discrimination against any disabled individual with an ESA letter who seeks private or public housing, including apartments and single-family homes.
The FHA guarantees that renters living with physical or mental health disabilities can keep their ESA or service dog in their dwelling without having to provide details about their disorder. Assistance animals are not required to have specialized training or certification, but if a person’s disability is not visible, a housing provider may request verification from a licensed health professional. However, an assistance animal may be denied or evicted if it poses a threat to other residents or the property, and the resident is responsible for ensuring the animal follows any applicable pet rules.
Thanks to the Virginia Fair Housing Act (and the federal FHA), landlords, property managers, and housing administrators must allow ESAs and service dogs to live with disabled individuals regardless of any “no pet” policies. These tenants are also exempt from any fees that would be charged for standard pets.
However, when it comes to employment, companies are not required to allow assistance animals in the workplace unconditionally. While the ADA mandates that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals, any ESA or service dog is subject to employers’ assistance animal policies. However, an ESA letter may help you persuade your employer to allow your ESA to accompany you in their space, as long as it doesn’t pose a threat to your coworkers or cause hardship for the business.
To qualify for an ESA in Virginia, you must be officially diagnosed with a mental health disability that is alleviated by the comfort, companionship, or affection of your assistance animal. Applicable mental health conditions include:
The diagnosis of your disability must come from a health professional who is specifically licensed in Virginia, who has consulted with you, evaluated your condition, and determined that you would benefit from having an ESA. In many cases, a legitimate ESA letter is required to verify your needs in the Commonwealth, but you are not required to register your assistance animal.
When you have an ESA letter, Virginia housing providers must allow emotional service animals to live with their owners without any fees, even if they have a “no pets” policy. No matter where you move, your beloved assistance animal can stay by your side.
For many people living with mental health struggles, loneliness can be a chronic condition that negatively affects their overall health. The companionship of an ESA is often a natural way to relieve loneliness and promote an active lifestyle.
Many mental health conditions can be relieved in some part by an ESA, especially for animal lovers. ESAs can provide comfort and affection that relieves anxiety or depression or reduces the stress levels associated with PTSD. Whether it’s a furry friend or a cold-blooded companion, an ESA can be a crucial component of ongoing treatment, as well.
To get a psychiatric service dog in Virginia, you’ll need to get diagnosed with a mental health disorder by a Virginia-certified LMHP, who can issue you a PSD letter. However, you also need to train your service dog to perform specific tasks that benefit your disorder. Pettable’s online PSD training program is a great way to train your PSD from home at a pace that fits your needs. We’re your one-stop shop for everything PSD and ESA-related in the Old Dominion state.
At Pettable, we have a wide network of licensed mental health professionals who are available to consult with you now. Whether you reside in Virginia or another state, we have a clinician ready to put you and your mental health requirements first. The support goes beyond our industry-leading LMHPs, we believe in our service and believe in the mission of providing accessible and meaningful care to those in need. Here's how we back it up:
1. We Guarantee Our Letters Will Work For You
We believe you should not have to worry about your letter working or not. That's why at Pettable we offer a satisfaction guarantee - meaning your letter works or you get your money back.
2. World Class Mental Health Professionals
We have built a team of world class mental health professionals who can write you a PSD Letter prescription guaranteed to work anywhere you go.
3. Unparalleled Customer Support
We know getting your animal approved to travel or live with you can be stressful, which is why we invest so much in our team of dedicated support specialists to make sure you are always taken care of and have the support you need!
4. Licensed in all 50 states
Our network of mental health professionals is deep and spans across the entire country. Additionally, we have a deep team of mental health professionals to make sure we can meet any timeline.
5. Best In Class Legal Support
We are here to make sure your housing and travel needs are taken care of so you don't worry. Our legal team is dedicated to having your back should you need it!
6. Human Connection & Legitimate Evaluations
In order for your letter to work you need to have a live consultation with a mental health professional. At Pettable we make sure our clinicians adhered to HUD standards and conduct consultations over the phone to get to know you and your mental health situation well.
Pettable is the best provider because we're committed to making sure the process works for you. That means working with the best and most experienced mental health professionals in the psychiatric service dog letter space, as well as providing a guarantee that your letter will work for you. We back all of this up with outstanding customer support, a renowned legal team, and a commitment to making sure you have an incredible experience.
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Jennifer Bronsnick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Anxiety Treatment Specialist, & Heartmath Certified Trainer. She provides customized workshops and trainings to working professionals and teams to help build resilience and reduce stress with practical strategies.
I graduated with a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before obtaining my Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in 2021. I have eight years of experience in the mental health field working in and with various populations, including case management, intake coordination, and residential, inpatient, and outpatient programs. I am certified in Brainspotting to help individuals deeply process negative emotions and trauma/significant life events. Additionally, I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and safety planning in sessions/groups.
LCSW, Clinical Social Work/Therapist
I offer extensive experience supporting individuals in both outpatient and residential settings in the fields of social work and mental health. I am also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor-II, Substance Abuse Professional, Certified First Responder Counselor, and Board-Certified Telemental Health Provider.
As a clinical social worker, I have been able to work within multiple types of settings, such as hospitals, community centers, and family welfare. I enjoy having the clinical and administrative experience to holistically serve those I work with.