Is your Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter Legitimate?

What Current ESA Laws and Guidelines Have to Say

Can you request documented proof for an ESA?

The first question we should address is whether requesting documented proof for an emotional support animal is even allowed. Some claim that it is not, while others say it is but then are mistaken about the types of documents you can request. The uncertainty over this issue likely stems from the confusion that exists regarding the difference between ESAs and service animals.

What type of documentation do you need for an ESA?

Regarding the type of documentation you need to prove a pet is an ESA, the U.S. Department of Housing has stated the following:

Who can issue an ESA letter?

After receiving an ESA letter, housing providers sometimes question whether the source of the letter was legitimate. For example, some landlords are under the mistaken impression that only doctors can “prescribe” emotional support animals, when in actuality most ESA letters are from other types of licensed professionals that specialize in mental health.

What type of documentation doesn’t work for an ESA?

There are various forms of ESA documentation available for sale online, much of which is insufficient to legitimately qualify an animal as an ESA. HUD warns tenants against using sites that are potentially scams and are not delivering what they promise. For example, HUD notes there are websites that “sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for assistance animals.” HUD states that documentation from such sites “is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.”

What should a legitimate ESA letter contain?

An ESA letter for purposes of housing and air travel will contain similar information, but with slight differences in wording to track the verbiage found in the FHA and ACAA. Any ESA letter should contain the healthcare professional’s information, including their license number, the jurisdiction it was issued in and their contact.

Is a Legitimate Site for ESA Letters?

For those looking to qualify for an emotional support animal online, ESADoctors is a highly rated choice for legitimate ESA documentation. Thousands of ESA owners rely on year after year for two important reasons: 1. ESA Doctors works with licensed professionals who understand the technical requirements for ESA qualification, and 2. ESA Doctors supports its clients throughout the sometimes stressful process to apply for ESA accommodation with a landlord or airline.


With all of the confusing and sometimes conflicting information online about ESAs, it’s important to go straight to the source when it comes to understanding ESA documentation — federal and State laws, and HUD and DOT guidelines. This article provides a summary of these rules, but we encourage anyone wanting to learn more to read these publicly available rules.

If you decide to get an ESA letter online, make sure that your ESA provider is licensed to practice in your state.



Animal lovers. Emotional support animal advocates.

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