Frequently Asked Questions

The ADA was passed by the United States Congress to protect the rights of qualified individuals with physical or mental impairments. The ADA defines "disability" very broadly and does not limit the type of disability for which an emotional support animal or service animal can be used. You are not required by law to have a formal diagnosis by a doctor to claim protection under the ADA. However, airlines and other public transportation carriers routinely require such formal documentation if you intend to travel with your dog as an emotional support animal (ESA).

Under the ADA, if you need an animal to travel with you for emotional support or to assist you with a psychiatric or physical condition, that animal is NOT considered a pet as a matter of law. There is great flexibility with respect to the nature and severity of a person's physical, mental, or emotional condition and your condition does not need to be permanent in nature. For example, your disabling condition still qualifies you as disabled for the purpose of flying with an ESA even if the condition is only temporary and impairs you only while you travel. The essence of the law states that if you have any condition that makes it difficult to perform or limits an important life activity (that other people can perform easily), you qualify as disabled under the ADA and can legally use an ESA while traveling. The life activity might only be a problem during certain times, like dizziness (leading to balance problems), low blood sugar, ADD/ADHD, seizures, panic attacks, extreme stress or depression, to name a few examples.

The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered for the use of a support animal, but qualifying impairments include:

  • Asthma
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Alcoholism
  • Autism
  • Age-Related Cognitive Decline
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Blindness
  • Deafness (and General Hearing Difficulty)
  • Depression
  • Dyslexia
  • Diabetes
  • Dizziness/Balance problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Emotionally Overwhelmed
  • Learning Disability
  • Mobility Problems
  • Neurological Problems
  • Paralysis
  • Panic Attacks
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Speech Impairment
  • Seizures
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Social Phobia
  • Stress Problems
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    Take our simple 11 question Questionnaire and based on your answers, along with other possible documentation if needed, one of our State-licensed mental health professionals will determine if you qualify under the ADA to use an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) as part of your treatment. If you qualify, you will be able to legally use your dog as an ESA to accompany you for free (no pet fees) while you travel.
     
    Within 24 hours of receiving your completed Qualification Questionnaire, unless submitted on a weekend, an SAT State-licensed health professional will review your case and possibly reach out to you for additional information. If you are determined to qualify for our service, you will receive a Letter of Recommendation by email stating that it would be beneficial for you be accompanied by an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) while you travel. The signed letter will be written on the professional letterhead of a State-licensed mental health professional who is legally able to prescribe such a recommendation for your benefit. This letter is the only requirement you need for an airline carrier to accept your ESA to travel by your side on the plane.

    After you receive your official letter, contact your airline carrier at least 48 hours prior to your flight and provide them with a copy of your SAT letter to give them notice that you will not be traveling alone. If an airline or other carrier contacts our State-licensed professionals and provides us with reasonable notice to confirm your letter, we will respond appropriately and ensure that your travels will not be interrupted or hassled by the inquiring airline or carrier about your ESA when you arrive at the terminal. You may consider purchasing an additional passenger seat on the aircraft or upgrade your seat to first class if your dog is over 50 lb. and cannot comfortably rest on your lap or fit underneath the seat in front of you. If this is not possible, request that the airline makes an accommodation for you and your ESA to have more room on the plane since they must accommodate you under the  federal law.

    Please understand that Service Animal Travel provides an easy, expedited and affordable process to obtain the necessary documentation required under the law and our letter is the only thing you need for an airline to accept your request to travel with your ESA under federal law. We do not provide additional forms or amended letters to comply with any specific airline's requests as they are illegal, arbitrary and unnecessary, and this is not part of our provided service. If we did that, we wouldn't be able to provide our services at the price we do since it would require more work and additional costs. No airline can create additional barriers or require additional information from you to travel with your ESA. The letter provided from our licensed mental health professional is in complete compliance with the federal law of the American with Disabilities Act and the Air Carrier Act. If an airline requires that you provide them with additional information such as type of animal, breed, weight, name, etc. this is illegal and you can tell them that. Their additional information requests are unlawful and they can be sued for creating such arbitrary barriers for a person who is legally qualified and protected under federal law by the ADA.

    If you are traveling domestically within the U.S. (exception Hawaii), you only need to bring with you the letter we email you and your dog. No carriers, cages, vests or special ID tags are required to travel with your ESA in the passenger cabin. We 100% guarantee that our service works and you will be able to legally travel with an ESA in the passenger cabin at no additional cost per trip. As long as your dog is well-behaved in public and housebroken, he/she cannot legally be rejected as an ESA by an airline.

    If you are traveling internationally (outside the U.S. or to Hawaii), make sure you know and understand all the local rules and laws of the foreign country regarding traveling with animals. It is our recommendation (and the requirement of certain countries and Hawaii) that you bring all of your veterinarian documents evidencing that your ESA has all of its necessary vaccinations for quarantine purposes. Many countries restrict the entry of animals. Restrictions vary by country, and customers should contact the appropriate embassy or consulate at least four weeks before departure to make sure that all necessary procedures are followed.

    Hawaii

    There are restrictions regarding the entry of service animals into Hawaii. Customers planning to travel to Hawaii should contact the Hawaii Animal Quarantine Branch manager directly for quarantine requirements. The 24-hour phone number is 1-808-837-8092. You may also view animal quarantine information at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture website.

    United Kingdom

    Airlines are permitted to accept service animals on flights to the United Kingdom. Because UK regulations for accepting service animals are very strict, you must carefully follow the appropriate procedures.

    As part of those procedures, any customer who intends to travel with a service animal must obtain a pre-approval letter from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), a UK government agency. Please note that the pre-approval process for transporting service animals to the UK can take up to two months.

    Visit the Defra website for more information about requirements and procedures for taking animals into the UK, or contact Defra by phone at +44-870-241-1710, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., UK time. (Please note: before dialing the number above, you must first enter the international direct dialing code. In the United States and Canada, this code is 011.)

    Yes. Although please note that if a dog is providing emotional support or service to a qualified person, it is not a pet by law. With a Letter of Recommendation from one of our authorized State-licensed mental health professionals, your Emotional Support Animal (ESA) can travel with you for free in the passenger cabin of an airplane, train, ferry, bus, or any other public transportation carrier. As long as your dog is properly trained and house broken, this animal can serve a qualified person as a service animal or ESA, regardless of the animal's size since the formal definition of 'service animal' under the ADA is a dog or mini horse.

    Please understand that we are NOT certifying your dog as a service dog or ESA. We are only helping you as a qualified disabled person to travel safely with your ESA. You should note that airlines and other businesses can legally turn away untrained dogs that either bark excessively, have aggression issues or are not housebroken. If your dog cannot behave properly in a public environment, it is advised that you do not use that dog as an ESA since it could affect your ability to travel with him/her in the passenger cabin. Please make sure the dog you use as an ESA has no aggression issues with other people, children or animals and listens to your commands obediently. An airport is a very dangerous and inappropriate environment for an untrained animal.
     
    A State-licensed mental health professional timely confirms by phone all inquiries made by airlines and other public transportation carriers concerning our Letters of Recommendation that qualified passengers travel with Emotional Support Animals.

    Please be aware that service animals for physical impairments are very different than emotional support animals in both training and purpose. If you need an animal to provide emotional support to you for stress, anxiety and other mental cognitive impairments, even if it's only on a temporary basis, you qualify to use an Emotional Support Animal for assistance under the ADA and your dog will travel with you for free (no pet fees). If you are not using your dog for emotional support and do not have a physical impairment requiring the need for a service animal, it is fraudulent to claim that your pet is a service animal and you will not be able to claim it is an ESA without a letter from a State-licensed mental health professional.
     
    Yes. The ADA's protection applies to all domestic and foreign flights alike. Please note that airlines and/or foreign nations being traveled to may require additional documentation for international flights, such as the vaccination history of the animal for quarantine purposes. You should always check with an airline prior to your flight to be aware of any individual company policies and/or laws of the foreign countries you are visiting concerning traveling with your animal.

    If you are traveling internationally (outside the U.S. or to Hawaii), make sure you know and understand all the local rules and laws of the foreign country regarding traveling with animals.
     
    SAT provides qualified people with the ability to travel with their support animals at no additional cost per trip. The federal law does NOT protect the rights of service animals and ESA, it ONLY protects the rights of people who need the assistance of these animals. Other "service animal" websites claim to register a person's pets as service animals for a fee which does NOT legally allow that person to fly with their pets. Buying a fake "service animal" vest or ID tags does not make your dog a trained service animal under the law and you could face fines and/or federal fraud charges in extreme cases. Don't commit fraud if you need to use your dog as an ESA and only need a letter from an SAT licensed mental health professional to stay compliant with the law.

    Don't be fooled! There is no "national registry service" for service animals and airlines will NOT accept an Emotional Support Animal on-board a flight for free unless the person accompanying the animal has the proper medical documentation that SAT authorized State-licensed professionals provide.
     
    Yes, although you will be registering him/her as an Emotional Support Animal with us. When you complete the Qualification Questionnaire, you will also be asked a few questions about your support animal. This process automatically registers your animal with SAT to better serve you as a patient of our State-licensed mental health professionals and helps them to confirm your Letter of Recommendation if an airline carrier notifies us to confirm your eligibility as someone in need of an emotional support dog.

    Please note again that SAT only helps you as a patient (not your dog) since the law only protects your rights as a disabled individual. SAT does not claim to "certify" or "register" your dog as a service animal. The ONLY item that you must have to fly with your dog for emotional support is the proper medical documentation from a licensed mental health professional that SAT provides you. Simply "certifying" or "registering" your dog with a company means nothing since there is no federally regulated or mandated "service animal registry" and this will NOT enable you to fly with your dog, even if you buy them a special vest or collar ID tags. The law does not require any vest or ID tags to be worn by an animal serving a disabled person. We maintain that other websites that fraudulently "certify" or "register" service animals without actually training or confirming the training of such animals in person is immoral and a scam since it improperly states the law and intentionally misleads people into thinking that they can travel with their dogs with only that certification or registration.

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