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Do I Need to Get any ESA Certificates?

2 min read

This question often arises, and the answer is a resounding NO.

Why you should not trust companies that issue ESA Certificates

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The misconception that emotional support animals require some sort of certification often comes from the fact that people confuse ESAs with therapy and service animals. Those types of animals actually require specialized training. So, certification for those animals is required to prove that a professional trainer has properly selected and trained dog to perform actual tasks and hasn’t just picked up any mutt from the kennel to sell it as a service dog. Some service dogs cost anywhere between $25,000 - $80,000 so it's a serious business to train one. That is why certification is not only welcome - it is absolutely necessary there.

ESAs, on the other hand, don't require any training, as their therapeutic usefulness comes from their ability to be around their owners and not from a specific function they perform. That is why no certification is needed. There might be some local governments that decided to legislate some sort of registry, however, it is not legal as far as the Federal Government is concerned. Consequently, if you are asked to submit any of your personal data, you can do so at your own volition but you can't be mandated or coerced to do so. There is also a question of whether local government can have any business, gathering personal medical information of residents. But that's beside the point.

Sadly, many Landlords often happen to be uneducated when it comes to legal minutiae. So, they can request you to provide a certificate for an animal. You can refer them to this in-depth FAQ by Michigan State University or to the HUD support animal notice we’ve linked earlier.

So provided that, if you see someone offering an ESA certification or registration, it is probably a scam. There are a lot of those going around. In the best-case scenario, you will pay for a useless plaque reading “certified emotional support animal such and such” that you can hang on the wall. The worst-case scenario — it can be considered a crime to falsely claim ESA benefits you are not entitled to, so watch out for those. When in doubt, you can always trust professionals like Because we solicit the help of licensed mental health workers who issue legitimate documentation.

What documentation is needed for your ESA?

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The only document you need is the emotional support animal letter

But if there is no ESA registry, what is required for an emotional support animal? An ESA Letter! It is a document that is written by a licensed practicing mental health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor), who is also licensed in your state. In this letter they should vouch that you do have a recognized health mental disorder, you are in care for it and you've been prescribed an emotional support animal to manage or alleviate some of the symptoms. This document is generally valid for a year since signed. With it, you can enjoy all the benefits of owning an ESA, including renting a ‘no pets allowed’ property, fly with your animal free of charge, but most importantly, have the comfort of being close to those you care for, namely animals. 

by GetESA

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ESA Laws and Regulations