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How to Get Your Emotional Support Animal in Hawaii Certified


Hawaii has both state and federal laws that protect the use of Emotional Support Animals, but not everyone may fully embrace them. For numerous Americans, a furry companion is an invaluable source of emotional support to overcome the challenges life throws at them. However, it’s critical to remember that bringing an uncertified animal onto a rental property can lead to eviction, fees, and penalties.

Landlords are required to follow both state and federal regulations related to support animals. Non-compliance on the part of a landlord can result in legal repercussions and financial penalties. While these pets don’t have the same rights as Psychiatric Service Animals (PSAs), they are protected against discrimination in rental properties by the federal Fair Housing Act. It’s also important to note that regulations for residents and tourists may differ when it comes to the use of support and service animals.

American Service Pets can help provide those with an Emotional Support Animal in Hawaii with the necessary certification, allowing them to rent a home, travel, and enjoy public access with their support animals. Say “So long!” to concerns about pet deposits and additional charges. Find out if you meet the criteria for a certified Emotional Support Animal in Hawaii by taking our simple quiz.

How Emotional Support Animals Can Benefit Their Humans

Both state and federal governments back Emotional Support Animals as a right for people struggling with psychological trauma. ESAs can be any number of animals that bring comfort and support, whether it’s a bird, reptile, or amphibian. On the other hand, Psychiatric Service Animals are typically dogs because of their high trainability.

Many people depend on their Emotional Support Animals to help them function in everyday life. These furry companions provide physical and psychological benefits to their owners, including: 

Mental & Emotional Health Boost

When you care for an animal you love, you receive a natural emotional boost due to the mood lifters dopamine and serotonin. Having the outside stimulus of a pet can also break through negative thought chains of people struggling with depression. Pets make us smile and feel less lonely.

Holistic Treatment

Americans are increasingly searching for holistic ways to stay healthy. Certified Emotional Support Animals serve as this natural form of drug-free treatment for anxiety, stress, and depression. Caring for a beloved pet promotes outdoor activity as well, which can also help naturally combat depression-related symptoms.

Providing Comfort

The pressures of our personal lives, such as financial matters, relationships, and health concerns, can be overwhelming. Even just the act of cuddling and playing with your furry companion can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and stress.

So many people rely on their Emotional Support Animal. American Service Pets offers the ability to secure paperwork for those with an Emotional Support Animal in Hawaii. Find out if you qualify in just a few short minutes. 

Laws Surrounding Emotional Support Animals in Hawaii

Emotional Support Animals can serve as essential friends and traveling companions in the lives of their owners. However, they cannot perform the life-saving tasks or assist disabled people in the same way Psychiatric Service Animals can. As a result, ESAs and PSAs are granted slightly different rights by state and federal governments.

Official ESAs are afforded some protection under the law, but there are no rights that exist for uncertified animals in Hawaii. Official ESA paperwork must include the approval of a licensed doctor in Hawaii, and it can typically be used all over the country. Different states have different stipulations though, so it’s a good idea to check prior to any travel. Here are laws related to Emotional Support Animals in Hawaii:

Housing Laws

Landlords are not permitted to turn down anyone for having an Emotional Support Animal in Hawaii. This policy applies to apartments, houses, public housing units, and condos. Landlords also cannot apply extra “pet rent” charges, and they must allow ESAs unless the animals are at risk of causing “undue financial burden.”

The meaning of undue financial burden can vary in Hawaii, but it can include:

  • Property damage
  • Threat to any other tenants
  • Homeowner allergies

Landlords in Hawaii have the right to request your ESA paperwork. Renters without a valid ESA letter, or those who present fraudulent documents, are subject to prosecution. Misrepresentation of an Emotional Support Animal in Hawaii yields a fine of $100-$250 for the first offense and at least $500 for subsequent offenses.


Public Access

Emotional Support Animals are not granted the same public access rights as Psychiatric Service Animals under state or federal law. When it comes to ESAs, the venue owner has the final decision. There are parks and public accommodations out there that permit animals, but if you are unsure, you should call ahead to see if you can bring your ESA before leaving your house.

Workplace Laws

Employers in Hawaii are not under a legal obligation to permit Emotional Support Animals in their facilities. That being said, presenting an ESA letter to your employer could sway them to allow your animal in the workplace, provided it is well-behaved and housebroken.


Travel Laws

Emotional Support Animals are no longer allowed in the cabin during air travel. Public transportation services such as buses, trains, and railways are under no legal obligation to board ESAs. Some rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have less stringent policies, but you have to check ahead of time. 

American Service Pets is proud to provide a simple three-step process to ESA letters in Hawaii for owners needing the support of their pets.

The Basics

Does the state have its own laws in addition to federal legislature?

Yes, in addition to following the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Hawaii has its own laws regarding service animals. It is important to note that the regulations for residents of Hawaii and their service animals may be different from those traveling to Hawaii with animals.

Definition of a "Service Animal"

Under Hawaii law, a service animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The tasks performed must directly relate to the individual’s disability.

What is considered a disability in the state?

Hawaii considers physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disabilities as conditions that may qualify an individual for a service animal.

What animals qualify as a service animal?

State law specifically protects dogs as service animals. However, the ADA also provides provisions for miniature horses.

Are there penalties for falsly claiming or implying (such as with a service animal harness), that one's animal is a service animal?

Yes. It is unlawful in Hawaii for a person to knowingly present an animal that does not meet the requirements of a service animal as such. Anyone found guilty of this offense will be fined between $100-$250 for the first violation and at least $500 for any subsequent violations.

Do state laws provide coverage for service animals in training?

Hawaii does not consider animals in training to be service animals, meaning that they do not have the full protections that service animals do.

Do state laws provide coverage for Emotional Support Animals?

No, neither state nor federal laws cover emotional support animals, as they are not trained in the same manner that service animals are.

Public Accommodations & Travel with a Service Animal

What counts as a "public accommodation" in the state? Ie. Where are service dogs allowed?

Hawaii has a very broad definition when it comes to public accommodations, including public transportation and common carriers, hotels and lodging places all places of public amusement, resort, or accommodation, and any other place to which the general public is invited. The ADA definition is similarly broad, covering hotels, restaurants and bars, movie theaters, lecture halls, retail stores, professional offices, hospitals, bus stations, libraries, parks, schools, senior centers, homeless shelters, food banks, health spas, and golf courses.

Can a public establishment question a service animal?

A place of public accommodation may only ask two quetions: whether the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

Are there any exceptions to public accommodations allowances?

The ADA allows a public accommodation to exclude a service animal if it poses a direct threat to health and safety, if it is not housebroken, or if it is unable to be controlled.

What are the rules regarding service animals on public transportation?

All forms of public transportation are covered under Hawaii law, including buses, trains, ferries, airplanes, and cars.

Are there any special measures you must take to have a service animal assisting you in public?

A service animal must remain on a tether, leah, or harness at all times per Hawaii law. If such a device would interfere with the animal’s ability to do its job, it must be controlled in another manner by the handler.

Are there laws about service animals in the workplace?

Service animals are considered a reaonable accommodation that an employee may request from their employer. Accommodations are considered reaonable if they do not create an undue hardhip or direct threat to other or the work environment.

Are service animals allowed access to healthcare facilities?

Service animals are generally allowed in areas of healthcare facilities that the general public is permitted, such as patient rooms or waiting areas. However, they may be barred from sterile environments, such as operating rooms or burn units.

Are there penalties for public places that refuse service animals?

Intentional interference with the use of a service animal is considered a misdemeanor in Hawaii. In addition to any other penalties, anyone convicted of this interference will have to pay restitution to the owner of the service animal for any veterinary bills and the person or organization that has to retrain the animal (if necessary).

Hawaii follows the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which defines a service animal as a dog (regardless of breed or size) trained to do work or perform tasks to assist a qualified individual with a diability, and may include psychiatric service dogs. Minature horses are excluded in this definition.

How do airlines determine what qualifies as a service animal?

Airlines can require a passenger to provide a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) form attesting to the animal’s health, behavior, and training and a U.S. DOT form attesting that the animal can either not relieve itself or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner (if the animal will be on a flight that is 8 or more hours).

Are service animals in-training covered by this law?

The ACAA does not address service animals in-training, so airlines are not required to carry them as they do not meet the requirements of an ACAA-defined service animal. However, airlines can make their own individual policies.

Housing Law

What are the state's laws regarding housing and service animals?

State law recognizes “assistance animals” as a reaonable accommodation when it comes to housing. These animals do not have to be dogs. The resident (or someone acting on their behalf) can make a request to the housing for the assistance animal, either verbally or in writing. Housing providers may place reasonable restrictions on the animal, such as requiring that they meet vaccination or sanitary standards, but they may not request any personal medical information from the requester as “proof” of a need for the animal.

Am I liable for damage caused by my service animal?

Yes. While a housing provider cannot charge additional rent or a security deposit, the handler may be liable for any damage the assistance animal causes to the property.

Do housing laws extend to ESAs?

Yes, both state and federal laws extend to ESAs.

Discrimination Complaints

How can I file a complaint for not being allowed in a public accommodation with my service dog?

If you believe you have been discriminated against when it comes to public accommodations, you may file a complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) within 180 day of the occurrence. You can do this by calling the HCRC at 586-8636 or emailing There are additional phone numbers available for those who live on neighboring islands.

How can I file a complaint for not being allowed to have my service dog in housing (or for being forced to pay a fee to a landlord)?

If you believe you have been subjected to housing discrimination, you can contact the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) by calling 808-974-4000, emailing, or completing a Hawaii Civil Rights Commission Pre-Complaint Questionnaire Form. There are also additional phone numbers available for those that live on neighboring islands. You have 180 days to file a complaint from the time of the alleged discriminatory incident.

How to Get Certified for an Emotional Support Animal in Hawaii

American Service Pets provides you with a fast, simple process to certification for your Emotional Support Animal. Just follow these easy steps:

See if You Qualify

Fill out our brief American Service Pets questionnaire to determine if you meet the criteria to qualify for an ESA letter. This step takes less than half an hour!

Get Approved by a Doctor

With American Service Pets, you have the power to choose whether you want to file with your own doctor or with a healthcare professional in our network for approval and authorization. Our network of doctors is available 24/7. In most cases, requests are approved in minutes, and the approval is then emailed to you.

Add Your Pet to the National Directory

When you add your pet to the national directory of Emotional Support Animals, you’ll be creating an online profile showing your pet’s status and ESA letter. This is a critical part of the ESA process.

95% of our applicants qualify for an ESA letter. You can get yours with American Service Pets today.

The American Service Pets Advantage

The network of pet owners who have certified their Emotional Support Animals with American Service Pets is now over 45,000 strong. Here’s why you should choose American Service Pets for your ESA and PSA needs:

How To Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter in Wisconsin with American Service Pets

Our simple process alleviates worries about being separated from your animal or being punished for having one. Get started by taking our short online test.

Nationwide Experts in Emotional Support Animal Certification

You shouldn’t have to tolerate the hassle from people who don’t understand the health benefits of the vital connection you share with your ESA. That’s why American Service Pets is here to help you register your Emotional Support Animal in Hawaii. Put aside concerns about rental housing or fees for simply having an ESA. If you qualify, you could get certified in just a few minutes with American Service Pets.

Disclaimer: We would like to emphasize that while the terms “certification” or “registration” may be used in relation to Emotional Support Animals, there is no official certification process for ESAs or any form of ESA registry as of this date. As such, the use of these terms should not be interpreted as legally recognized designations by government or regulatory authorities. Remember, ESAs can provide a valuable source of comfort and support, but their recognition relies on proper documentation from a healthcare professional and adherence to relevant laws and guidelines.

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