ESA Registration and
Your Legal Rights

Since 2009, NSAR has helped thousands of clients qualify and certify their Emotional Support Animals, as well as completing their ESA Registration. You’ll want to legally register your emotional support dog, cat or other domestic animal to begin using the federal protected benefits. ESA registration is quick, easy and affordable.

What exactly is an ESA?

An Emotional Support Animal (or ESA) is simply your dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or other domesticated pet that has been prescribed by a licensed therapist, psychologist, or physician as part of your treatment. It’s designed to bring comfort and minimize the negative symptoms associated with your emotional/psychological disability.

Will my pet qualify?

Your pet will qualify. Nearly all domesticated pets qualify, including dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, snakes, miniature pigs, birds, etc. And because it is the very presence of the pet that helps you, the animal doesn’t require any training. That means an ESA can be a new puppy, kitten, or other species that may otherwise seem untrainable (like a snake).

Does an emotional support animal need specialized training??

No, an ESA does not require special training. According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Fair Housing Act, emotional support animals do not need specialized training. This is because it is the very presence of the animal that is therapeutically effective for its emotionally disabled handler.

Although training is not required, it is advisable for a handler to make certain his or her emotional support animal possesses good manners. The privileges of being able to take an ESA into areas restricted for other pets carries certain responsibilities.

How do I qualify?

Many people qualify as emotionally disabled and don’t even know it. To legally qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, you must be considered emotionally disabled by a licensed mental health professional (therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.). This most often takes the form of a properly formatted prescription letter (also known as an “ESA letter”).

If you don’t already have a licensed therapist to help, you can order our “no-risk” ESA Letter Assessment to get everything you need!

NSAR’s ESA registration assessment is special process designed by a consortium of ESA-specific licensed therapists. It usually takes 20 – 30 minutes to complete the ESA registration assessment and nearly everyone receives their legal prescription in less than 24 hours. Want to see if you’ll qualify before committing to buying the ESA-letter assessment? Take our free 3-minute instant assessment!

Take our Free instant assessment!

Legal Rights of having an ESA

  • Qualify for no-pet housing and not be charged a fee
  • Fly with your ESA on select airlines at no additional cost: Air Canada, Sun Country, Volaris, Westjet

Qualify for no-pet housing

Qualify for no-pet housing or housing that limits size, breed, or species without being charged a pet fee.

That means if a condo, apartment, or house has a “cats only” policy, they must still accept your emotional support animal, even if it is a dog. If they have a policy that allows dogs weighing no more than 30 lbs. and your ESA weighs 95 lbs., they must allow your big dog to live with you. If the landlord accept all dogs, except pit bulls, and you have a pit bull, they must allow your pit bull to live with you. And you can’t be charged a deposit or other monthly fee.

Flying with your ESA

The Air Carrier Access Act 49 U.S.C. 41705, Department of Transportation 14 C.F.R. Part 382, and Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 are the laws that establish the rights of an emotionally disabled person and his/her Emotional Support Animal (ESA).

There are several disability-progressive and ESA friendly airlines that continue to accept emotional support animals on flights, even though they are not legally obligated to. The following airlines still acknowledge and accept emotional support animals:

  • Air Canada
  • Sun Country
  • Volaris
  • Westjet

Although the Department of Transportation (DOT) has amended the Air Carrier Access Act, which legally binds the airlines to recognize service dogs, several international airlines continue to accept and recognize the importance of emotional support animals for their handlers without charging them additional fees. And flying with your ESA is a breeze. View our step-by-step guide for what to know and expect when at the airport. Click here..

How to register your pet as an ESA

Although ESA Registration and/or certification is highly recommended, it is not required by law. There are tangible benefits of registering your pet, however, that will make life much easier for you when the two of you are in public.

  • Registering your pet as a support animal, legitimizes it and you (officially establishing your pets emotional support legitimacy) and helps eliminate the hassles and confrontations you’ll almost certainly encounter without it. That’s the purpose of National Service Animal Registry: To make life easier for disabled persons who travel in public with service dogs and emotional support animals.
  • Although stores, restaurants, hotels, etc. aren’t required by law to let you bring your ESA inside, if your ESA is registered and wears an NSAR service vest and ID card that formalize your pet’s look, many public places will simply allow your ESA to accompany you anyway.
  • Here’s how to register:
    • Click here to register your pet in three easy steps
    • Select the registration kit that is right for you
    • Enter your pet’s information and favorite image of your pet
    • That’s it!

Register Your Pet Now!

Are ESA’s Required to Have Identification and Special Vests?

By law, emotional support animals are not required to wear identifying vests, patches, leashes, or ID cards of any kind. It is STRONGLY encouraged, however, to legitimize the look of animal, where possible, including an appropriate vest, patches, and an ID card visibly displayed — clipped to the harness or leash. Airline companies always recommend it. That’s because these items help identify your pet as a legitimate therapeutic animal and minimize confrontation.

There are no standard or official colors for service dogs or for emotional support animals. Most people use solid red or green for their service vests or harnesses.

View Our ESA Vests!

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