Since 2009, NSAR has helped thousands of clients qualify and certify their Emotional Support Animals (ESA). 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.
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.
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).
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.
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 assessment is special process designed by a consortium of ESA-specific licensed therapists. It usually takes 20 - 30 minutes to complete the 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!
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.
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:
Although the Department of Transportation (DOT) has amended the Air Carrier Access Act, which legally binds the airlines to recognize service dogs, Southwest Airlines and others 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.
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.
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.