Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Dulles, Virginia

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 16, 2021

Getting an emotional support animal in Dulles, Virginia only has benefits. In the city of Dulles, ESAs are remarkable animals who offer their owners unconditional love and comfort them. That’s why they’re so used as a part of the therapy process!

If you suffer from a mental or emotional disorder, you could become an ESA owner. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you probably think! Plus, it has so many rewards you will definitely not regret getting a four-legged companion.

Emotional Support Animal in Dulles, Virginia: Specific Protection

Now it is important to bear in mind that Dulles is an unincorporated area. Which means that the town is not governed by any form of government. This means that the laws for getting an emotional support animal may not be enforced as harshly as one might think.

Nonetheless, as an emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal whose main job is to comfort those with a mental illness. Getting an emotional support animal in Dulles, Virginia, means you and your ESA will be protected by a few laws. They’re super important (and convenient!), so you should know what they are.

Definition of Assistance Animal

An assistance animal is an animal that helps people with disabilities in their day-to-day lives. There are many kinds of assistance animals: from psychiatric service dogs to guide dogs.

Getting an emotional support animal in Dulles, Virginia, means that you’re getting an assistance animal. After all, they do help people with disabilities!

It’s very important to note that an ESA and a service dog are protected by different laws. They might be both considered assistance animals, but they still have different legal statutes. Don’t forget this nuanced, but very important, difference!

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) states that ESAs can travel by plane with their owners. This means that, if you meet all the requirements, an airline could not refuse you or your four-legged buddy boarding.

If you are getting an emotional support animal in Dulles, Virginia, this law also applies to you. To be protected, you will need to have your emotional support letter with you. This letter is issued by a licensed mental health professional and is what proves your ESA is a legit assistance animal.

You should also inform the airline that you’re traveling with your ESA at least 48 hours before takeoff. This will guarantee that the crew is ready to welcome a four-legged animal on board. You also need to check with your airline if they have any additional requirements. Some might ask for a veterinary form, others for a waiver signed by you, and so on…

The Air Carrier Access Act applies to both domestic and international flights. But don’t forget that different countries have different ESA and animal policies. This means that you should always check if your ESA could be accepted into your country of destination before booking your tickets!

As long as you comply with all this, your trip should be breezy!

Employment Laws

Unfortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not apply to emotional support animals. This means that, by law, your employer doesn’t have to allow you to bring your ESA to work.

However, you could always try talking to your employer about bringing Fido to the workplace with you. Explain to them how important your ESA’s presence is for your wellbeing — they may understand! And don’t forget your emotional support letter, as issued by a licensed mental health professional! This is proof of how much you benefit from being around your ESA.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

For those getting an emotional support animal in Dulles, Virginia, we have great news! Thanks to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), your ESA can now live with you in rented accommodation.

To be protected by this amazing law, you need to have your emotional support letter. As long as you do, your landlord cannot refuse to provide reasonable accommodation. This is even valid for apartments that have a no-pets policy! Also, keep in mind that landlords can’t charge you a pet fee or pet deposit.

This is an incredibly important law, so definitely do not lose your emotional support letter!

Exception to Rules

However, there are some instances in which you will not be protected by the FHA or the ACAA. The first and most obvious one is not having an emotional support letter. Simply saying your animal companion is your ESA does mean the law will protect you. You need a valid emotional support letter to make sure you can live and fly with your ESA.

Secondly, if your ESA acts aggressively, they will not be protected by these laws. The airline and your landlord have the right to not provide reasonable accommodation for your ESA.

Thirdly, you cannot take your ESA to establishments that don’t have a pet-friendly policy. No law says that public facilities must accommodate your emotional support animal.

Lastly, if you don’t take good care of your ESA, the state could take them away. Animal cruelty is a real crime and truly despicable! If there are suspicions that you mistreat your ESA, you will lose “custody” of them.

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal

Passing off a pet as an assistance animal is a serious crime. In the state of Virginia, this act is considered a class-4 misdemeanor. If you’re caught doing it, you can receive a fine of up to $250.

3 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

Knowledge is power, so you should know these crucial emotional support animal facts.

  1. The emotional support letter is the most important document for you to have. Never lose it!
  2. Emotional support animals are not pets, and so they are protected by two major federal laws: the Fair Housing Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act.
  3. Your emotional support animal does not need to go through any formal training. However, it would be best if you taught them how to obey you and how to behave in public.

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Virginia: CertaPet’s Simple 5-min Process

Getting an emotional support animal in Dulles, Virginia, is very easy if you actually need one. And CertaPet makes the whole process even simpler. See if you qualify today by taking the 5-minute pre-screening today!

We will connect you to a licensed mental health professional who can practice in your state. They will be the ones making the big decision: whether or not you can become an ESA owner.

Once they approve you as an emotional support owner, they will write you your emotional support letter. And voilà! Within a few days, you will receive it and be able to start this new chapter in your life as someone with an ESA!

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

What is truly amazing about emotional support animals is the fact that they don’t need to be trained or certified. This means that virtually any dog, cat, or (sometimes) bunny could become your new ESA!

If you already own a pet, they could potentially become an emotional support animal. If you don’t, then consider adopting one! There are thousands of cats and dogs who want to be adopted. They would be bettering your life by giving you unconditional amounts of love, and you’d be bettering theirs by giving them a good home.

The bottom line is that there is only one requirement for an animal to become an ESA: that they bond with their owner. That’s really all it takes!

Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal

Now that you have your ESA by your side, you’ll probably want to take them somewhere! But remember, ESAs can only go to places that have pet-friendly policies. Luckily, Dulles, Virginia has no shortage of animal-friendly establishments!

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

These awesome dog parks are only a short car drive away from Dulles. And they’re a lot of fun for your pup!

  • Great Falls: Billy Goat Trail — Potomac
  • Ridge Road Recreational Dog Park — Germantown
  • Rock Hill District Park — Chantilly

Dog-friendly Restaurants and Bars

How about a bite to eat? Take your ESA for a lunch date at one of these restaurants…

  • Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery — Dulles
  • Clare and Don’s Beach Shack — Falls Church
  • Fire Works Pizza — Leesburg

Resorts, Fitness, and Spas

If you’re planning on renting a room for your stay in Dulles, check out one of these places.

  • Homewood Suites Dulles North Loudon — Dulles
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott Dulles Airport — Dulles
  • Candlewood Suites Manassas — Manassas


Dog-friendly events are always the best way for your pet to socialize and for you to meet other animal lovers. Dulles has some year-round events completely dedicated to dogs. Search for them on Facebook to be up to speed on all the animal-devoted events around you!

ESAs in Virginia: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Dulles Today!

Getting an emotional support animal in Dulles, Virginia, is a great idea for all people who suffer from mental conditions. These animals are so nurturing and loving that they help you on your path to mental wellbeing. To become an emotional support owner, you need to start out by getting an emotional support letter.

If you qualify from our simple 5-minute pre-screening, we will put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional. They will be the ones writing you your emotional support letter. In just a few days, you can start your adventures with your new ESA.

Common Questions on Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Dulles, Virginia

Are emotional support animals the same as service dogs?

How can I get my emotional support letter?

Will I be allowed to live with my ESA?

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