man and woman with emotional support dog

An emotional support animal brings a huge amount of benefit to people struggling with mental health conditions. ESAs provide companionship and company and massively improve quality of life. During the COVID pandemic, many of us have been relying even more on our beloved emotional support pets to fend off loneliness and keep us functioning!

Your pet does not have official emotional support animal status unless you have an ESA letter, so understanding the ins and outs of ESA letters is important. Your pet’s official status will dictate where they can accompany you, which modes of transport you can use with them, and even where you can live.

People tend to have a lot of questions about how long ESA letters remain valid, such as… Does an ESA letter expire? How long does an ESA letter last? How often do I need to renew my ESA letter? How do I renew my ESA letter?

Let’s answer all of these crucial questions now.

What Law Deals With Emotional Support Animals?

The federal laws regarding emotional support animals, where they can go, where they can live, and the rights of ESAs and their owners are:

  • Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Air Carrier Act (ACA)
  • Fair Housing Act (FHA)

Does An ESA Letter Expire?

Emotional support animal letters expire periodically. No ESA letter is valid indefinitely. It is important to know when your emotional support animal letter is due to expire, because once it does, your pet no longer has ESA status.

labrador emotional support dog on man's shoulder
Image by 8777334 on Pixabay: How long does an ESA letter last?

How Long Does An ESA Letter Last?

So, how long do emotional support letters last? This is an important question with a straightforward answer: all emotional support animal letters are valid for one year from the date that they are issued.

How Often Do I Need To Renew My ESA Letter?

So, when should I renew my emotional support animal letter? You should renew your ESA letter just before it is due to expire, which will be 12 months after it was issued. You need to renew your emotional support animal letter every year as long as you still require ESA treatment. There is no such thing as a permanent ESA letter that is valid for more than one year (so be wary of any companies offering such a thing).

How Do I Renew My ESA Letter?

You can renew your emotional support animal letter by having a new consultation with a mental health professional. This is to make sure you still need ESA treatment. This is best done through a telemedicine clinic such as Moosh. Once your continued suitability for ESA treatment has been verified, you will be emailed a new ESA letter.

Who Can Legally Write An Emotional Support Animal Letter?

You need to get a registered mental health practitioner to write your emotional support animal letter. The following types of professionals can write official ESA letters:

  • Licensed mental health professional (including psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist)
  • Licensed primary care physician
  • Licensed general physician

What Can Happen If My ESA Letter Expires?

If your ESA letter expires, it is no longer valid. This means that your pet no longer has emotional support animal status.

Your pet losing its ESA status could mean that they are no longer allowed to live in your accommodation with you. It will probably also mean that your pet will not be allowed to travel along with you in the cabin of a commercial airline. It may also make rail and bus transport companies less likely to allow you to travel with your pet.

What If My ESA Letter Is Lost, Damaged, Or Stolen?

Your ESA letter will usually be emailed to you, so if you lose a hard copy of your original ESA letter, or it gets damaged or stolen, it is easy to print a new copy. For this reason, always save a digital copy of your original ESA letter.

orange and white emotional support cat licking paw
Image by TeamK on Pixabay: How do I renew an emotional support pet letter?

What Are The Benefits Of An ESA Letter?

The main benefits of an ESA letter are:

  • They allow ESAs live in accommodation that is otherwise ‘No Pets Allowed’ if they are a suitable species
  • They allow ESAs to travel in the cabins of commercial airplanes, provided they are a suitable species and size

What Are The Benefits Of ESA Ownership?

ESAs are utilized as a treatment for a wide variety of mental health conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • Insomnia

Emotional support pets benefit their owners by providing:

  • Love
  • Friendship
  • Companionship
  • Support
  • Tactile comfort
  • A reason to exercise, play and get outdoors
  • A sense of responsibility

How Do I Get An Emotional Support Pet Letter?

The best way to get an emotional support animal letter is to go to the Moosh online clinic. Moosh will set you up on a telemedicine consultation with a registered mental health professional who will verify your suitability for ESA treatment.

Once you qualify, the registered mental health professional will send your ESA letter to you right away. It is a straightforward and easy process.

Featured image by 5688709 on Pixabay