Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter

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Updated Nov 30, 2023
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An emotional support animal (ESA) letter is a document that verifies an individual's need for an emotional support animal. This letter can be used when a person with emotional or mental health conditions requires accommodation for their ESA, for example, when signing a new lease, moving into residential living spaces, or traveling.
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Paper titled "Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter"; woman holding a puppy; man playing with another puppy

An emotional support animal (ESA) letter is a document that verifies an individual's need for an emotional support animal. It is a key instrument in asserting your rights to keep an emotional support animal, particularly in settings where pets aren't categorically allowed, such as housing or air travel. An ESA letter template offers guidelines on how to obtain formal recognition of your pet as an emotional support animal.

When To Use an Emotional Support Animal Letter

The emotional support animal letter can be used any time a person with emotional or mental health conditions requires accommodation for their ESA. This can involve signing a new lease, moving into residential living spaces, or traveling. The document is also essential when you face questions about the legitimacy of your ESA from landlords, property managers, and airlines. Using a printable free emotional support animal letter PDF that is available online can make this process significantly more manageable. Consulting a free ESA letter can give you a general understanding of the essential elements of this document. 

Parties of the Emotional Support Animal Letter

  • Patient — This refers to the individual who has been diagnosed with an emotional or mental health disorder and who seeks assistance and comfort through an emotional support animal. It is the patient's responsibility to ensure their animal does not cause harm or disruption to others in environments where the animal would typically not be permitted. 

  • Mental Health Professional (MHP) — The MHP is a licensed individual, such as a psychiatrist, therapist, or psychologist, who diagnoses the patient and prescribes an emotional support animal as part of their treatment. In the context of the emotional support animal letter, the MHP assesses the patient's need for an emotional support animal and writes the official ESA letter, which validates the necessity of the animal for the patient's mental health. Upon doing so, the MHP provides the legal document confirming this. 

Once the emotional support animal letter has been issued, the patient gains the right to live with their animal, even in non-pet residences, according to Fair Housing Act standards, and can travel with them.

Key Terms

  • Patient: An individual under the care of a mental health professional who requires the emotional support an animal provides.
  • Therapeutic Need: The necessity for an ESA as a part of the patient's treatment strategy recognized by a certified medical practitioner.
  • Certification: This refers to the formal recognition by a medical or mental health professional that an ESA is required for the mental well-being of the patient.
  • Accommodation: This term refers to housing or travel situations where the patient needs their ESA to be accepted.
  • Emotional Support Animal (ESA): An ESA is a pet that has been designated by a medical professional to offer therapeutic benefits to its owner.

How To Write an Emotional Support Animal Letter

An ESA form is a significant legal certification that validates a person's requirement for an emotional support animal. Obtain an emotional support animal letter PDF from online databases or consult qualified healthcare professionals to guide you in creating this letter.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to write and fill in this emotional support animal form PDF, whether you are a patient or a healthcare professional:

  1. Make sure to give specific details about yourself, including your full name and contact information.
  2. Clearly mention the mental health disorder you have been diagnosed with and your treatment plan.
  3. Outline the description of your emotional support animal, including their species, breed, and name.
  4. Present the relevant details about your healthcare provider, such as their name, license number, and the date of issuance.
Healthcare professional
  1. Include the name of the emotional disorder the patient has been diagnosed with and any relevant medical codes.
  2. State the overarching national or regional health regulations that govern the issuance of the ESA letter.
  3. Certify that the patient requires an emotional support animal for managing their emotional or mental disorder.
  4. Detail any specific accommodations required due to the patient's emotional support animal.
  5. Formulate a disclaimer based on the legal and healthcare norms of your specific jurisdiction, endorsing the therapeutic benefits of the ESA.
  6. Decide how the ESA letter will be delivered (either digitally or physically) and who will be responsible for the distribution.

Prior to any distribution, all involved parties should review the drafted emotional support animal letter. Ensure it has been crafted under legal and medical guidelines to protect the rights of the patient. Remember, a properly drafted emotional support animal letter template helps ensure that all key components are included and should be as specific to the patient as possible. Fortunately, you can easily obtain a sample emotional support animal letter or even a free emotional support animal letter PDF online, which may simplify the writing process. 

Having an effective emotional support animal letter is essential to safeguard your right to live and travel with your ESA. With the availability of resources, like an emotional support animal letter sample PDF, drafting your own letter becomes a straightforward process. You can also search for an emotional support animal letter free online. Using the obtained free ESA letter template not only saves time but also guarantees compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements. Moreover, it adds a professional touch to your letter, increasing its acceptability wherever it is presented.

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