How to Get an Emotional Support Animal Certification (ESA Letter)

Millions of people in the US and around the world suffer from mental and emotional health illnesses. PTSD, depression, anxiety, phobias, and other mental health disorders can seriously affect someone’s day-to-day life. People suffering from these conditions need to find a way to cope.

An emotional support animal is one of the many treatments available. These furry friends can provide support and help people living with mental illnesses. However, you first need to ensure that you qualify and go through the process correctly.

In this article, we have compiled step-by-step instructions for those seeking ESA letters for housing, travel, and other needs. There are many ESA letter providers out there, but they are not all legitimate. We'll be taking a look at CertaPet, which is a legitimate provider helping people acquire Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letters.

What is CertaPet?

CertaPet is an online ESA letter provider that connects pet owners to mental health professionals. The mental health professional evaluates the patient and determines whether an emotional support animal will alleviate symptoms. After a quick consultation, patients can receive an official letter that certifies their pet as an ESA.

CertaPet's website contains loads of information regarding mental health and how an ESA letter can help. It also mentions how assistance animals can help people avoid pet fees when renting or flying.

Pros:
  • All services are compliant with federal regulations
  • Quick and easy online application process
  • Legitimate ESA letter provider
Cons:

  • Pricing can be too expensive for some
  • No guarantees for an ESA letter before booking the consultation
  • Fees are due in the middle of the evaluation process

How to Get an ESA Letter With CertaPet

CertaPet makes it easy to obtain an ESA letter. The process is quick, simple, and secure. Users simply need to follow three basic steps to get an ESA letter with CertaPet.

Step 1: Sign Up

The first step is to sign up for a screening. Go to the CertaPet website and click on "Get Started Today" to fill out the pre-screening questionnaire. This form requires some basic information such as your name, date of birth, and pet's name. It also asks a few questions about your mental health.

All of the information users provide on the form is strictly confidential and safe. This pre-screening process lets users know if they're a good candidate for an ESA letter. If they are, CertaPet will provide further instructions to continue the application.

They will present users with three options for certification - "Housing, "Travel" or "Housing + Travel." Users then have to choose which one best suits their needs. After that, CertaPet will arrange for a consultation with a mental health professional licensed in the user’s state.

CertaPet requires payment before the consultation with a mental health professional. However, there is no guarantee that users will definitely obtain an ESA letter at this point.


Step 2: Consultation With a Mental Health Professional

After completing the questionnaire and payment portions, CertaPet will match users with a mental health professional. They will find a suitable practitioner in the user's state and contact them to set up a telehealth appointment. Users will receive a link to an online system to book their call.

The practitioner then evaluates the user's condition and follows up on the answers to the questionnaire. The call typically lasts for around 20 to 30 minutes. At this time, the mental health provider will determine whether to issue an ESA letter or not.


Step 3: Receive a Custom Treatment Plan

If the practitioner feels like the mental health condition is affecting the patient’s daily life, they will issue a custom treatment plan. This plan will include an ESA letter if the user qualifies for one. CertaPet then provides an information packet that explains how to use the ESA letter when applying for housing, traveling, etc.

The ESA letter is available to download directly through CertaPet's website. This allows users to print their ESA letter right at home if they need it in a hurry. CertaPet will also send a physical copy of the letter, but it will take a few business days.

Pricing

CertaPet requires payment before connecting users with a mental health provider. Users must choose between the three ESA letter options. Each of these options has a specific price.

Housing ESA Letter Price

The Housing ESA letter from CertaPet costs $149 and is valid for one full year. It ensures that landlords do not charge pet security deposits or monthly pet fees. Moreover, it ensures there's no refusal to accommodate emotional support animals in most housing complexes across the US.

Travel ESA Letter Price

Like the Housing ESA letter, the Travel ESA letter also costs $149. In theory, this letter allows your emotional support animal to travel with you on major airlines. However, there were some major changes in January 2021, which allows the airlines to set their own rules around emotional support animals. It is best to check the airline’s policies before purchasing a ticket.

Housing + Travel ESA Letter

The Housing and Travel ESA letter includes the benefits of both options mentioned above. This combination letter allows you to access housing perks and travel with your ESA without paying a fee.

Emotional Support Animals Versus Service Animals

Let's look at the legal definitions of service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals. These definitions will help to determine if the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Fair Housing Act protects your pet. Most importantly, there was a huge change to these definitions and regulations in 2021.

Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

An ESA is an animal that provides emotional or physical benefits for anyone suffering from a mental or emotional disability. This includes post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other mental and emotional illnesses. Emotional support animals don't need to receive specific training. There are also no limitations on animal types or breeds, like service dogs.

Although ESAs don't always have the same access to public accommodations as service animals, the Fair Housing Act protects them. In order to certify a pet as an ESA, you'll need to acquire a letter from legitimate mental health professional. This is where CertaPet comes in and offers an easy way to do so.

Service Animals

The ADA defines a service animal as a dog trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability. A perfect example of a service animal is a psychiatric service dog.

Psychiatric service dogs receive special training to perform tasks that help with the mental and emotional issues relating to a person's disability. These can include deep pressure therapy during a panic attack or waking their handler up from a nightmare.

Considering this definition, it seems that emotional support animals and therapy animals aren't in the same category as service animals. However, according to the ADA, this definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of assistance animals. This means the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act protect emotional support animals. They may be able to allow you to live or fly with your ESA without paying a fee.

Therapy Animals

The most common therapy animal companion is a therapy dog. These animals don't usually have special rights, like service animals or emotional support animals. However, they still provide great service to people, especially those in hospitals and nursing homes.


A therapy dog’s main task is to comfort people. These types of animals are great after major tragedies and natural disasters to offer emotional support to people.

Recent Changes Affecting ESA Letters

It is important to note that there are two significant changes regarding the status of emotional support animals. These changes can have a huge impact on ESA certifications from CertaPet.

As of January 2021, the US Department of Transportation no longer recognizes ESAs as service animals. As such, they no longer require airlines to accommodate them.

Because of this, most major airlines no longer accommodate emotional support animals. This means that all pet restrictions and fees are in effect. Some pets may even have to go in cargo areas instead of traveling with you in the cabin.

People living with a disability who need their animal on a flight can fill out a travel certificate. A travel certificate is a form that verifies your disability and how your pet helps. Contact the airline for regulations and restrictions regarding ESAs before investing in a travel certificate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Benefits of an Esa Letter?

There are several reasons why people may want to certify their pet as an emotional support animal. The two main reasons are because of housing and travel restrictions. An ESA certification reinforces protections for your emotional support animal in various housing and travel situations.

Are ESA Letters Legal?

The Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act dictate the legality of ESA letters. They state that if an ESA letter complies with both federal laws and comes from a legitimate source, it is legal.

It is worth noting that CertaPet ESA letters are 100% legal. It is also Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant.

What Rights Do I Have With an ESA Letter?

This all depends on the type of ESA letter you apply for. For instance, a Housing ESA letter will help you to qualify for no-pet housing. If your landlord has a no pet rule, for example, you can still have your pet live with you. You should also be able to avoid any pet fees with a Housing ESA letter.

On the other hand, a Travel ESA letter allows you to fly with your pet at no additional cost. However, considering the new rule change, be sure to call your airline to learn about ESA accommodations before you fly.

Can an ESA Fly With Me?

The US Department of Transportation no longer requires airlines to accommodate emotional support animals. This can be a problem when looking to have your ESA fly with you. Some airlines may recognize and accommodate your ESA. This varies from airline to airline, but they can technically treat your ESA like any other pet onboard.

If you have a service animal that helps with your disability, you can fill out a DOT travel certificate. This certificate will outline your health condition and your pet's training and certifications.

It is always best to call the airlines to check out their policies for traveling with an ESA. Some airlines may require additional information, such as vet documentation. Meanwhile, others may require you to sign a document that guarantees good behavior on the flight.

Can a Landlord Reject an ESA Letter Because of My Pet’s Age?

They cannot. The Fair Housing Act clearly states that landlords cannot deny an ESA certification because of the age of the animal.

If your landlord disagrees, explain that there are no age limitations for ESAs. You can also explain that you are a responsible ESA owner and that the animal is well-behaved.

However, you are still liable for any damages your pet causes to the rental property.

Is CertaPet Legit?

Yes. CertaPet is a legitimate ESA letter provider. Many other ESA providers do not comply with ADA and FHA requirements. CertaPet offers great value and they are ADA and FHA compliant. You can be sure that you are getting a legitimate ESA letter, unlike some other ESA letter providers.

Conclusion

Emotional support animals play an important role in people's lives, especially those suffering from mental or emotional issues. A legitimate ESA letter ensures your animal is with you at all times to help manage your struggles.

CertaPet is an easy-to-use, legitimate online ESA letter provider. They have a simple process that connects you with legitimate mental health professionals. These professionals determine whether or not you qualify for an ESA letter or not. Best of all CertaPet offers great value for money.









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