Obtaining an ESA letter is a process that involves consultation with a licensed mental health professional. This document is necessary for those who require the presence of an emotional support animal as part of their treatment for an emotional or mental condition.

The letter affirms the need for an ESA and allows the animal to accompany you in housing situations that may otherwise not allow pets, and it can also be used to fly with your animal in the cabin of airplanes without additional fees.

It’s not simply a matter of owning a pet; an ESA letter serves as a specific endorsement that recognizes your pet as part of your mental health treatment. The process ensures that individuals with genuine needs are granted the privileges that come with having an ESA.

The recognition given by an ESA letter is backed by federal regulations, ensuring that your rights are protected in different circumstances, as long as the proper criteria are met.

Understanding Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letters

When navigating the realm of emotional support animals, understanding the critical role of ESA letters is essential. These letters are not just recommendations but a shield for your rights.

Definition and Purpose of ESA Letters

An ESA letter is a document provided by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) that states your need for an emotional support animal to help alleviate symptoms of mental or emotional disability. The core purpose of an ESA letter is to assert the importance of your animal’s presence as part of your mental health care strategy.

Legal Provisions for ESAs

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) grants you the right to live with your emotional support animal in most types of housing, including those with no-pet policies. By presenting a valid ESA letter to your landlord or housing manager, they are generally required to make reasonable accommodations for your animal.

The Procedure for Obtaining an ESA Letter

To legally ensure your pet can serve as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), you must secure an ESA letter from a qualified mental health professional. This document certification supports the necessity of an ESA for your mental or emotional well-being.

Consultation with a Licensed Mental Health Professional

Your first step in obtaining an ESA letter is to schedule a consultation with a licensed mental health professional. This is a crucial requirement, as the professional must be licensed in your state. The consultation can be conducted in person or, as highlighted by Seattle Met’s guide, online through telehealth services following an initial assessment. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss your mental health needs and to determine if an ESA would be beneficial as part of your treatment plan.

Evaluation of Emotional or Psychological Conditions

During the consultation, you will undergo an evaluation of your emotional or psychological conditions. The mental health professional will assess your mental health and decide whether an ESA could help alleviate your symptoms. 

Remember to be open and honest during this evaluation. It’s also important to note, as mentioned on Seattle Met, that not all conditions will qualify, so a thorough evaluation is essential for the issuance of an ESA letter.

Issuance of the ESA Letter

After a comprehensive evaluation, if you are deemed to benefit from an ESA, the licensed mental health professional will issue the ESA letter. This letter will often contain your diagnosis, the need for the ESA, and confirmation that the ESA is a critical part of your treatment. 

It’s essential to obtain a legitimate ESA letter, which generally involves an official letterhead, the licensed professional’s signature, and a verification of their license. As explained by US Service Animals, this document will function as a legal certification for your ESA and is usually required for housing and travel accommodations.


The journey to obtaining an ESA letter is a structured and personal process. It begins with you consulting a licensed mental health professional to assess your emotional or mental health needs. If you are eligible, you can then obtain an ESA letter which serves as a certification of your requirement for an emotional support animal.

It is essential to understand the legal framework and the benefits associated with an ESA letter to ensure compliance and recognition of your needs. Always verify the legitimacy of your ESA letter, as it is a critical document for securing reasonable accommodations in housing and during travel. Remember, this process is to support your well-being, so engaging with the right professional support is crucial.