Travelling with Your ESA: Breaking Down Certification, Airline Rules, and More
If you have an emotional support animal – or are planning on getting one – travel may be a big question mark to you. After all, ESAs aren’t always afforded the same privileges as service dogs. Thus, there are some rules and restrictions that you need to be aware of.
So, here is a quick breakdown of what you can expect if you would like to travel with your emotional support animal.
While the Americans with Disabilities Act does recognize emotional support animals, they don’t actually fall under the purview of this organization. This means that if you simply claim your dog, cat, or other pet is your ESA, housing complexes and businesses can turn you away. To avoid this, you need to get your emotional support animal certified.
The first step to this is to get your mental health professional to write a letter. In this, they will need to state that you require an emotional support animal for specific reasons. A template of such a letter will look like this.
You will need to then take this letter and find a service that will register your ESA.
If you live in Europe, there are some options for you as well. There is an ESA registry for the European Union and signing up here should allow you greater access to stores, hotels, and more. As with their American counterpart, this registration must be updated on a yearly basis.
The UK is rather strict about all animals, though, so you may have some trouble trying to get any pet into the country, regardless of whether they are an ESA or not.
ESAs and Airlines
After several unfortunate incidents, airlines have begun to crackdown on ESAs. In any instances, you will have to provide prior notice to the airlines if you are bringing your emotional support animal onboard with you. A number of airlines are also restricting ESAs to cats and dogs.
Even then, you may not be allowed to take your emotional support animal on a flight that is more than eight hours long. Keep in mind that each airline is different. So, to get an accurate picture of what to expect, it is best to contact your preferred airline directly. They will be able to offer you more information.
It is also important to remember that these are American airlines. Foreign airlines may not be quite as accepting of animals on board. For instance, in Brazil, only LATAM Airlines specifically mentions allowing ESAs on their flights. So, as mentioned, it is always better to check. For a comprehensive list of airlines that recognize ESAs worldwide check here.
Now, service dogs can typically be on a flight without any additional payment. Of course, ESAs may not be as fortunate. This is why, prior to booking your ticket, you will need to make such queries. Once again, these regulations will change from one airline to the next so be prepared to be quoted rather varying prices.
Travelling to different Countries
Before you are allowed to enter a country with your pet, you will have to provide documentation that shows that the animal is healthy and has received all vaccinations. The required vaccinations will depend on the country in question.
Now, in countries such as Brazil, meeting these requirements will ensure that you are able to enter without any issue. Your emotional support pet will not be required to stay in quarantine. Of course, this does differ from country to country.
As emotional support animals aren’t protected by the law, they can be subject to certain quarantine regulations. This is particularly true in the UK. Thus, before going on a trip, you should always speak with the country’s immigration or customs department. They will be better equipped to provide you with the proper procedure.
Unfortunately, traveling with your emotional support animal still isn’t as clear-cut as it should be. Hopefully, though, this article may have helped answer some of the questions that you may have regarding this subject matter.
Travelling with ESAs means you need to be extra zealous of keeping their health up-to-date and bring the necessary documentation with you. Keep all your ESA’s appointments and health events up-to-date by using the Petable app.